Meet Caroline Holvad

Caroline Holvad, Icelandic rider

“My biggest competitor is myself.”

Tell a bit about your stable and where you are located 🙏🏻

Our stable is located close to Jylland, Denmark, and it’s a small stable with only mine and my parents’ horses. My parents live next to the stable and I grew up there myself, but now I live in Aarhus, Denmark. We have 9 boxes in total and 7 horses at the moment, and two of these are my competition horses. I also have a young stallion among the seven horses, and the remaining four are my parents’ horses. Eldur, my chestnut, is homebred – and he was the first one we bred. We also have a small outdoor arena and no indoor, but luckily I have an equestrian facility nearby with an indoor arena that I’m allowed to use. I sometimes also travel to a competition facility with tracks for the Icelandic competitions, so I can practice better at the gaits like tölt.

Tell us about your horses and their personalities 🐴

Eldur, also known as “Elli”, is a 15 year old chestnut Icelandic gelding that we’ve bred ourselves. He’s born in 2009, and I’ve ridden him for 10 years now. He’s truly “my horse” – he never wants to be brought in from the paddock by anyone but me.. well, and maybe mom. Maybe. You can always trust him, he’s the easiest, kindest ever, and he is my best friend. Eldur is very attached to me and I to him, and he follows me through all the ups and downs of everyday life. We know each other completely, inside and out. He’s a little skeptical about other people though, like veterinarians.

Pipar, also known as “Pips”, is my 12 year old brown Icelandic gelding whom we actually bought in Iceland during the winter of 2018. I wasn’t supposed to get myself a new horse, but I tried a whole bunch of horses there while helping my friend find a new horse. That’s when I found Pipar – a six year old stallion who was approved for breeding but untrained, but we just really had a match, you know. So I flew him from Iceland to Denmark. I castrated him when he was 10 years old, two years ago now, because he was absolutely crazy to handle at the shows even though he was well-behaved at home. As a gelding he’s become really good and easy to handle, and we have trained each other great together. His personality is very warm and kind, mild and happy, and you just want to hug him all of the time.

Ragnar, know as “Raggi”, is my 5 year old brown stallion with two white socks and a star marking. He might be put up for breeding approval this year, with the goal being for him to reach the first class approval. He’s young and stupid like a true stallion youngster, but at the same time very sweet and caring. He has great capacity for the sport and it will be fun to develop him.

Goals for the year and for your career ⭐️

For the year: To ride at the Ice Horse Festival in Herning, and the goal is to get to the finals there. I also want to get better with the horses and develop in the right direction where you can actually see progress with every show, and that you can tell that the horses get stronger og better. My biggest competitor is myself. After I became a senior rider it is no longer my dream to be in the National team, but rather to be among the top 5 in everything I compete in. I hope to get qualified for the Danish Championships with Pipar this year. My goal is definitely to ride to scores that are high enough to qualify both Elder and Pipar for the Danish Championships. Maybe even to get the youngster out to the shows, too. And for my career: To keep my horses at the top level of the sport despite doing my law degree on the side.

Highlights of your career so far 🤩

  • My first big highlight was the first time I qualified for the Danish Championships.
  • When I got selected for the Danish National team. That was a big highlight.
  • The Ice Horse Festival in Herning in 2022 where I won T3, which is one of the biggest classes at the entire show.

Do you have any fun facts to share with us? 😜

  • I have insanely strict routines at the shows, and I need to do everything myself. The things have to be done in the same order every time. So I guess I suffer from some serious OCD in that area!
  • I guess I also have some OCD when it comes to checking that the horse stall doors are properly closed. I can check plenty of times to be sure, and I even take photos of the closed stall doors just to be extra certain that I remembered to close them.
  • When I was little I used to be like a crazy cowgirl. I rode around in my underpants and with only a halter on my horse – I was totally wild. I’m still quite fearless, and I love to be a little wild.
  • I’m creative and very young at heart, and even if I’m soon to be a lawyer I still feel like the child I am deep down inside.

“I’m convinced that it won’t succeed if you don’t have that true connection with your horse, but if you do have it then everything can succeed.”

Caroline Holvad

Connected is our DNA. What does this mean to you? 💙

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word “connected” is the connection you have with your horse. I’ve had some horses over the years and I have personally experienced that no matter how great and well-trained your horse is, you still need to have that proper connection with your horse. Without it, the quality of the horse means nothing, and you can’t get the true potential out of it because of the lacking bond. I feel that I’ve made Eldur, for example, into what he is today because of the strong bond we share together. I’m convinced that it won’t succeed if you don’t have that true connection with your horse, but if you do have it then everything can succeed.

Since I got my first batch of Ecte Sport clothing I haven’t used anything else but Ecte. I wear it at all times. If I find a brand that really works for me, I have a tendency to stick to that brand. It’s also a huge bonus for me that you guys in Ecte are so kind and that our communication is very good. It really means a lot for me that we have such a good match as collaborators and human beings. You can really tell that Ecte wants to promote their riders and that we riders really mean something to the brand and the people behind it, and that they’re not doing it for the hype or for the status.