Marie Johansson Named Best Groom With Fellow Swede, Jumper Rider Peder Fredericson, Best Athlete, America’s Beatrice de Lavalette Receives Against All Odds Award

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Marie Johansson with Patrik Kittel of Sweden.

Nov. 17, 2021

Marie Johansson of Sweden, the groom for dressage rider Patrik Kittel,  was named Best Groom at the International Equestrian Federation awards Wednesday night while fellow Swede, jumper rider Peder Fredericson, was named Best Athlete. America’s para dressage rider Beatrice de Lavalette, the victim of a terrorist bombing in Belgium in 2016 received Against All Odds award.

The 13th year of the awards, decided by online voting as well as a panel of judges, was staged in Antwerp. Belgium.

Peder Fredricson, 49, who helped Sweden at the Tokyo Games to the nation’s first Olympic team gold in a century as well as individual silver medalist, took the Best Athlete Award.

Greta Busacker, 19 years old and the daughter of eventing icon Ingrid Klimke, took home the Rising Star Award. Greta took both individual and team golds at this year’s European Eventing Championships.

Marie Johansson received the Best Groom Award in recognition of her work and dedication in looking after the horses of Swedish dressage Olympian Patrik Kittel at his German training center. Patrik and his wife, Lyndal Oatley of Australia, were at Antwerp to celebrate the occasion.

“This award means everything to me,” she said. “It’s amazing that we grooms can also be a part of this gala. I’m so happy about all the people who voted for me, it’s such a big thing. I’m super happy and super proud!”

Beatrice de Lavalette was 17 years old when she was the most critically injured survivor with massive internal injuries, second and third degree burns, a spinal cord injury, and the amputation of both lower legs of a Brussels Airport terrorist bombing Mar. 22, 2016. A rider from the age of three, Beatrice never gave up. Five months after the attack she was back on her mare, Delegada X. She returned to school six months later, competed in her first para-equestrian show in April 2017 and graduated on time with her class in June 2017.

Beatrice de Lavalette

She and trainer Shayna Simon own a training center in Loxahatchee, a neighboring community to Wellingto, Florida.

Beatrice made her Paralympic debut in Tokyo.

She said that being recognized for everything achieved in the past five or six years “is awesome and a true honor.

“As a result of the attack, I lost a part of myself and my freedom. It took me a while to get through my sadness of losing my legs, losing my ability to walk, and waking up in a completely different life.

“Every time I get on a horse, I gain my freedom back. I get to ride a horse almost as everybody else. I get to ride a horse pretty damn well. I love doing it. Experimenting and doing different things with the horses gives a sense of power that I often lose being in a chair. So having that sense of freedom and that power back means everything.”

The Solidarity Award went to China’s Equuleus Charity which aims to support young, underprivileged students to reach their equestrian dream while successfully completing their academic studies.

CORRECTION: An earlier version contained outdated information on Beatrice de Lavalette. She is based in Loxahatchee, Florida where she owns a training center with her coach, Shayna Simon