Lövsta Future Challenge Has Become the Now of Swedish Dressage
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LAMPRECHTSHAUSEN, Austria, Aug. 31, 2017–For both years of the European Under-25 Championships, three of the four members of the Swedish team have participated in the Lövsta Future Challenge that was set up in 2012 to underwrite development of dressage.
Antonia Ax:son Johnson, a major sponsor of dressage in Sweden and the United States, with seven-time Swedish Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén heading up her Lövsta stud, has handed out 2.4 million Swedish krona (US$300,000) so far for the program.
The international version of the Lövsta Future Challenge was staged for the first time alongside the European Championships in dressage and jumping in Gothenburg, Sweden last week.
Since the founding in 2012, 112 U-25 riders have participated in the Lövsta Future Challenge Dressage that cover four national shows in Sweden and a final at the large Friends Stadium in Stockholm.
Jumping has had 45 U-25 riders in the three years of that program.
Tinne and Louise Nathhorst, who rode for Sweden at four Olympics, first saw a series of Under-25 competitions in Germany and decided a similar program was needed at home.
“So we went home and said to Antonia: ‘This is something Sweden REALLY needs’,” Tinne recalled.
“She said she would love to do it and make it fit to a country the size of Sweden–about 10 million people in 449,964 square kilometers/173,732 square miles, slightly larger yhan Califonria.
“We started two divisions–one for young horses and one for U-25 riders,” she said. “It has grown and grown and grown and is is so big now.”
Professionals in Sweden now provide more horses to riders coming up so the horses have longer competition life.
“It’s really fantastic,” she said. “It has made a really big difference. You can see the numbers increasing and everybody talks about wanting to ride Lövsta.”