Instagram. Land of hashtags, selfies and artsy pictures of food. Scroll through and double-tap with caution — it’s easy to get caught up in this digital land of fake filtered photos and modelesque lifestyles. Nevertheless, I find myself drawn to Instagram and it has quickly taken over as my favorite social media platform. It’s not the perfectly curated photos that some accounts solely post that capture and hold my attention, however, it’s the real-life snapshots that some users choose to share. My favorite part of this platform is that it makes it easy for people to share behind the scenes moments of their lives.
Of course, my feed is chock full of equestrian accounts. My favorite riders to follow on Instagram are tasteful, not spammy, about promoting their sponsors and they don’t just post professional action shots from events, but also scenes from their day-to-day lives. I love seeing how they train, their gorgeous farms, their adorable farm dogs, and the (very) occasional vacation photo thrown in. Speaking as someone who rides at the lower-levels and works a normal 9-to-5 day job, Instagram is a peephole into a different world. The small part of their lives that these upper-level riders share online let us get to know just a little bit more about them, beyond a name and number on the leaderboard.
Over time the list of people I follow on Instagram has grown to include both the familiar and lesser-known names from the international eventing scene. With the WEG on the horizon, I’ve picked out two of my very favorite accounts that I’m especially looking forward to following throughout the Games. These two international riders are killing it at the ‘gram game and are totally worth following throughout the year, from the off-season to the big events like WEG. Let’s get to know Anna Freskgård of Sweden and Heidi Bratlie Larsen of Norway via their Instagrams. Be sure to cheer them on this week!
If the name Anna Freskgård sounds familiar to you, it’s either because you follow the two- and three-star levels in Europe or because you were one of the nearly 50,000 people who read this post about Anna’s daughter Edwina and her trusty pony Tusseman. It’s not always that a five-year-old daughter beats her FEI-level mother into the limelight, but now it’s Anna’s time to shine!
Prior to stepping onto the scene as a professional event rider, Anna worked as a horse trainer for the Swedish Armed Forces Cavalry. Anna and William Nilson Fryer, her partner of 13 years, have been patiently and diligently training up a string of quality horses at their stable, Lövsund, in Sweden. She has been steadily climbing the leaderboard at events with her two top horses, her and Willam’s Fly Away vd N.Ranch and Therese Örup’s Box Qutie.
Anna made her CCI4* debut this spring on Fly Away, with a smashing 10th place finish at Luhmühlen, but it’s Box Qutie, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Quite Easy X Lady Like KLT, by Little Boy 756), who has made the journey to Tryon. The pair finished third in the CCI3* at Saumur in France this May and then helped Team Sweden clinch a third-placed victory at CICO3* Aachen with an individual 16th place.
Anna is very active on Instagram, posting nearly every day and I love to see the behind-the-scenes images from her beautiful farm interspersed among pictures of her and her horses absolutely slaying it over huge jumps. And of course, Edwina and Tusseman make appearances now and again! I’m looking forward to cheering Anna on during her first WEG and getting a peek at her experience.
Heidi Bratlie Larsen may be an unfamiliar name now, but she’s about to make history as the first Norwegian rider to compete in the World Equestrian Games in eventing. Her mount is Euforian, her own 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Camaro M X Evelina, by Willibald), is a flea-bitten gray with a cute pink nose and a penchant for jumping out of paddocks. Heidi and Euforian, who goes by “Grålle” around the barn, made their three-star debut in 2016 and have appeared in four Nations Cup events since then.
Heidi rides out of her farm Grav Gård located in Røyken, Norway where she lives her partner Jean Andre Håpnes, their three-year-old daughter, Nora, and her horses. Not only does Heidi compete at FEI events across Europe, but she also works professionally as a building engineer.
Heidi’s trip to Tryon will be her first event outside of Europe, but it’s not the first time she’s set foot in the States. As a 17-year-old, she traveled to the U.S. to study and stayed with a host family in Michigan where she had the opportunity to show in English and Western pleasure classes. While in the country she also made a visit to Kentucky in April to spectate at a certain Three-Day Event.
Aside from Grålle, the other equine that frequents Heidi’s Instagram feed is Willie, the tiniest (and spottiest) of Miniature Horses, seen above trying to get the heck out of Dodge to avoid the incoming Grålle. Willie belongs to Heidi’s daughter Nora and if there’s a duo out there that could rival Edwina and Tusseman in cuteness, it might be this pair.
Heidi’s feed features snapshots from competitions all across Europe as well as from around her farm. It’s especially neat to get a peek her training during the winter when the snow is nearly elbow-deep on the horses at times! She is currently onsite at Tryon and Grålle has already passed through quarantine. The pair is enjoying exploring the grounds and Heidi has already taken a look at the cross country course — make sure you check out her stories for a peek!
Go Scandinavia and Go Eventing!