Meet Emilie Balling Nissen

Emilie Balling Nissen, Dressage rider

“The stable work means as much to me as the work in the saddle, and that’s just as important when it comes to building that special bond with your horse.”

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

Our stable is located in Tistrup, south west in Denmark, just outside a little town. The surroundings are calm and quiet, and we have 10 horses here. The stables are at my parents’ house and we’ve always had horses there ever since I got my first pony. We only have two boarders at our stable with one horse each, and the rest are just our family’s horses. We all know each other and there’s never any drama because we are all such good friends. For me, being here at the stables is my “off-time”, where I can fully relax. There’s barely any people around which makes it easy to stay concentrated at my stable work, and I fall into my little equestrian bubble.

We have an outdoor here, an indoor, big green paddocks, and the forest around the stables is owned by us which makes it easy to ride hacks on the various trails there. I hack out a lot in the woods, and we hack out a lot together.

Tell us about your horses and their personalities 🐴

Fürstenblick, also known as “Fürsten” or “Humle”, is a 14 year old dark brown gelding, so dark he almost appears black. He’s a Danish Warmblood and I’ve had him for almost four years now. You see, four years ago, my trainer used to ride Fürsten. He got a severe injury and the owner wanted to put him down because she didn’t believe that he would ever fully recover from the injury. My trainer thought it was really sad to hear because he is such a great horse, so she really encouraged us to take him in and try to get him recovered. It was a huge risk as no one knew if he would get well again, and for the full first year I did nothing but hand-walk him, many times a day. After that full year of walking, we could carefully start retraining him – and today he is fully back in the sport! It took about half a year to get him back in quite regular training again. I compete in Young Rider St. Georg Grand Prix level with him. In the stables we call him Humle (translated: Bumblebee) because he is a small bumblebee in a huge body; afraid of everything, worried about lots, and thinks the world is quite big and scary. When you ride him, though, he gets so confident and is all like “look at fabulous me”. He is very fond of cuddles and attention, and he will bite your jacket if he doesn’t get his required attention.

Sørgaards Secret, my other horse, is a 9 year old bay Danish Warmblood mare. My grandparents bred her and we were there to receive her when she was born. Secret is a little spicy and fresh, but only in a good way if you know her well enough to use it to your benefit. She really connects with her rider, and then she will do anything for you. She just started doing the Young Rider classes and has mostly done medium level until now. It does take her some time to get confident with the pirouttes and other advanced elements, but since I’ve been lucky to have competition-ready Fürsten alongside Secret I’ve had plenty of time to develop her without any rush. She’s also more of a one-person-horse, whereas Fürsten is someone everyone loves and connects with.

Goals for the year and for your career ⭐️

For the year:

  • To represent Denmark at international shows in order to get more international experience.
  • Get Secret more confident in the Young Rider dressage tests, in order to take both horses to the shows together.
  • Ride the Nordic Championship with Fürsten.
  • Ride in Hagen.
  • Top 10 in the Danish Championships.

For the career:

  • To ride Grand Prix as a Senior.
  • To ride U25 with Secret and Fürsten.
  • To get better at educating horses myself, as I really enjoy it.

Highlights of your career so far 🤩

  • Came 3rd in the Ecco Cup final against the best Young Riders in Denmark in November/December 2023.
  • Getting a great first competition experience with Fürsten despite being super nervous, because so many who knew him from before came to watch our first show together.

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

  • I’m very superstitious and I have my routines for the shows and such. I have a specific lead rope that I got for my first pony, and I still use it for every show – I mean, I must use it at the shows. It’s so important to me that I make sure to only use it at the shows, and not at home to prevent it from getting worn out.
  • I always bring my two dogs, Wilma and Bambi, with me to the shows and in the stables at home. Wilma is in fact Bambi’s mother.
  • I’m Secret’s midwife – I was there when she was born.
  • My grandmother is always with me at the shows, and she washes the horse boots, drives me to the shows – well, she helps me with the entire show day.

“For me, being here at the stables is my “off-time”, where I can fully relax.”

Emilie Balling Nissen

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

The most important aspect of “Connected” for me is to become one with the horse. I don’t think you can accomplish that if you haven’t created that connection with your horse. And not just when you ride, but when it comes to the stable handling, too. The stable work means as much to me as the work in the saddle, and that’s just as important when it comes to building that special bond with your horse. My horses can trust me and I can trust them. Fürsten and me got a very special bond after hand-walking for a full year – he’s a little special and has weird quirks (in a cute way), which some people might have disliked but it makes me love him even more. We also have a strong connection as a team; my whole family, and my mom and grandmother especially, are the reason that this whole thing works.I can always talk to my mom and she helps me with everything. We are very close. My trainer Anna has helped me since I was 7 years old and used to train my mom before she started to train me. She has become part of the family. We know each other well and that helps a lot.

I really appreciate working with Ecte because it is very important to me that I can vouch for my collaborators, both when it comes to quality and the people behind it. I could tell from the beginning that you only had good intentions for me, and that I could build such a good bond with you to feel like I can communicate well with you. I knew about Ecte before I was asked to become a Team Rider, and I want to promote the brand to my followers because I’m so satisfied with the brand myself.