After Tjeerd Velstra, Leo Kraaijenbrink and Jacques Poppen the international driving sport can welcome another team of Friesians. Swedish Amanda Krogstad Jansson is in the race for the WC in Kronenberg in September with her two-in-hand team.
It was the first time in over a year that the drivers could come into action at an international driving competition. So all the great names turned up at the grandiosely organised Horse Driving Kronenberg. For Amanda Krogstad it was her first competition outside Sweden. ‘It was a huge undertaking to travel to the Netherlands from our home in Eskilstuna, over 100 km west of Stockholm. Just making it to the ferry took us eight hours. And then the long trip through Germany. But I was determined to be in Peelbergen because it increases my chances of participation in the WC Two-in-hand.’ And that reveals the ambitions of this 34-year-old driver. Even though Krogstad is a novice at international level – only once before did she ride a CAI2*, in her home country in 2019 – she has set her sights firmly on the World Championships. Incidentally, this WC also takes place on the grounds surrounding Equestrian Centre Peelbergen, in the heart of Limburg, from 8 through to 12 September of this year.
This driver is a teacher by profession and she found Anne Okkema on internet. ‘First I bought Melle H. Star (Wikke 404) out of Imke Wimerke Model AAA (Lolke 371), mare line 159, from him, bred by Wil Hendriks in Reusel, straight from a video. He had done the Pavo Fryso Cup and so had some experience. In my eyes he needed to be teamed up with a horse that’s pretty fanatic; Melle was very reliable and stable and made no mistakes, but he wasn’t terribly fast. After him I could take my pick from three horses that had been schooled under saddle as well as in the harness, single as well as two-in-hand. One was no option because he was too tall. Out of the other two I chose the less-experienced one.’
That was Rintsje B. (Reinder 452) out of Star mare Dora Sjoerdje (Heinse 354), mare line 70. ‘Anne repeatedly asked me if I was sure I wanted to take him, as he was still so green and terribly forward-going. Additionally, Rintsje didn’t – and still doesn’t – like waiting. But to me he was the perfect counterpart of Melle in terms of character and mentality.’ The third horse Krogstad bought in the Netherlands, also from Okkema, was Nero (Aan 416) out of Jelske v.d. Broekstraat Star (Ouke 313), mare line 8, bred by B.J.G. Spliethof. ‘That was in 2018; Nero was six at the time. He had competed at dressage events but was also well acquainted with the in-harness work. For two-in-hand driving you always need an extra horse. So when an unfortunate thing happens to either of your two horses from the team there’s always a stand-in horse available. And for every element you have a choice out of three to decide which two you want to use.
Taking part in this important competition in the Netherlands meant that Krogstad was away from home for almost a week. ‘It was a fantastic experience. Everything was so much grander and more professionally organised than in Sweden. It was great to ride among all the ‘big names’ in Kronenberg, even though I wasn’t competing in the same class yet. Hopefully that will happen next time. Melle, Rintsje, Nero and myself and everyone around us are going to do our very best to ensure we can return here!’