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Ex-Norwegian Jumping champion, Sandra Løvås, lives just a short drive from the holiday-paradise “Skagen” in the North of Denmark. Here, horses are engrained in Danish Culture.
Sandra and her partner, Rasmus Christiansen, run a sales and competition stable with 35 horses for sale. We took a trip to visit them at “RC Horses” in Skagen to find out a bit more about their enviable lifestyle!
Moving to Denmark was the last thing on Sandra’s mind three years ago when she took the trip here for a short training stay.
It wasn’t until she met her current partner, horse trader Rasmus Christiansen, that her plans drastically changed. Today, they run the sales stables together.
“We aim to have quality horses to better the sport” Rasmus tells me.
“The horses have to be competed regularly and they have to be shown off in the weekends, both nationally and internationally, so a lot of my time is spent at competitions”.
"Those who live out of trading stables within the borders have a harder time than we do”, Rasmus tell us.
As a 21-year-old he started his own business and during these years in the business he has racked up a ton of experience.
“This business isn’t for everyone” he says. “It’s easy to be fooled by the nice surroundings, but behind the “façade” life is a lot harder.”
The Danish horse trader has been in the industry long enough to see a lot of people go bankrupt. The breeding industry especially has struggled.
“This is a 24/7 job. Every day, all year is equally busy”, he admits. “But I enjoy this life. This is what I want to do – anything else would be unspeakable. If we’re lucky there might be enough for a short vacation once a year,” he says with a smile.
After many years schooling and travelling to competitions all across Norway, life has now changed to be all about horses for Sandra. With those 35 horses at the yard, life is hectic from morning to evening.
On average the horses are trained for a couple of months before they get sold.
“I have learnt a lot since I came here. Rasmus is excellent at paying attention to details. It requires accurate riding. I ride a lot of different types of horses and I am constantly learning to adjust quickly to a different horse. I also find it motivating to develop both younger and older horses.”
“The Danes know so much more about horses in general than at home. For them, horse keeping is the most important, and there is more knowledge behind how the stables are ran, and done so by equestrian connoisseurs.
While Norwegians largely saddle their horses at a riding centre, the Danish can keep their horses in the backyard and feed them themselves before and after work.
At the big stables back home, the people working there feed the horses, and the owners typically have little contact with them."
“There is also a more spacious environment here. Everywhere there is a little grass field they host district-competitions. The Danes aren’t very demanding, and there are a lot larger numbers competing in the sport compared to Norway.”
The upshopt of this is that it creates a healthier and more inclusive environment - a mix of different people and horses, where everyone speaks to everyone no matter what level you are on. At the competitions, some people arrive from big professional stables whilst others have merely saddled their horse from the nearby field they are keeping it at.
Everyone is here to compete, no matter what horse they have to work with. Here, all riders are accepted in the sport, no matter what level. "This is a healthy mentality to have” she says.
Sandra loves Denmark and a little homesickness here and there doesn’t scare her away from staying. “To live off horses in Norway is harder. The set prices for fodder and sawdust are much higher. Besides, the environment here is more open and inclusive. I simply love the atmosphere here.”
Check out more of Sandra and Rasmus's work at www.rc-horses.dk
Text and Photos by Therese Stub Alhaug