Get to know Maya Delorez' new Ambassador
Professional rider and entrepreneur Carl Hedin (31 y/o – born 1991) is always juggling many things at once. Many of us know him from his well-known and fast-growing Instagram account. But Carl is not only successful on social media: He is an elite dressage rider, a highly requested professional rider and trainer, founder of the company Eques Management and also the author behind the book “Hästpojken” (launched 2021). Apart from all that, Carl is now also an ambassador for Maya Delorez.
In this interview, Carl tells us about his journey in the equestrian world, what a normal working day looks like for him and his best tips for everyone who dreams of working with horses.
HOW DID IT ALL START?
Let’s start from the beginning: How come you started riding in the first place?
“I’ve always been very interested in animals and ethology, so the study of animal behavior. Horses becoming my passion is very much due to the fact that my sister rode and that I tagged along with her to the stable. When I was seven years old, I had the opportunity to try riding for the first time through my sports school, which offered something like a “try different sports”-program. And if you look at my mother’s diary that she wrote at that time, it says something like “Carl tried horse riding with the sports school and wants to continue”. After that I started going to riding school. And since then I have never left, you could say.”
When did you realize that riding was something you wanted to really go for?
“I was quite young when I realized that I wanted to work with horses. I think I was only around 14-15 years old. I can remember how I rode my bike or moped to the stable and fantasized about working with horses. And not just being a competitive rider or an entrepreneur, but building my whole life around horses. Already then I dreamt about how nice it would be to make my passion for horses my job, make it my lifestyle.”
After finishing compulsory school and after some years in the equestrian world, you decided to move abroad. Can you tell us a little about those years? What did you learn from that time?
“I lived abroad for a total of five years. First in Denmark, then Germany and finally England. It has been a great way for me to broaden my horizon and discover new things – and not just when it comes to riding. Horse keeping and riding varies quite a lot in different countries, so I have really learned a lot about this abroad. But then it was also very valuable in that I could get to know new cultures, meet different people and realize that not everything is as it is here at home in Sweden. For me, it has actually been the case that the longer I have been abroad, the more I have learned to love my own home country.”
How come you decided to move? Was it because of your education or to develop further as a rider?
“It was a little bit of both, you could say. First I worked with horses in Denmark and was an apprentice to become a professional rider. Philosophically speaking, you could say that everything in life teaches you something in its own way. Obviously I have worked with horses because I needed an income – but I have always seen it as a type of education and learning, and as a strategic choice to eventually be able to build a career in it. I also studied at university when I lived in England, and read a Business program with a focus on marketing. I chose it partly because I think marketing is really exciting, but also because I wanted to be able to apply some of the knowledge to my own company. So all I do and have done is really a combination of theoretical education and practical development to be able to build a career in the equestrian world.”
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND EQUES MANAGEMENT
You moved back to Sweden in 2015 and then started working actively with your company. Can you tell us a little more about Eques Management and why you chose to start your own business?
“I registered Eques Management in 2013. At that time, I had already planned to go and study abroad, but then there were some people who got in touch with me who needed help with training horses. So I started the company and had it running for maybe six months before I moved to England. During that time, the company was more or less dormant until I moved home to Sweden again. It is actually the last six years that I have actively worked with Eques Management.
I did not start this company because I am interested in making a lot of money and getting rich. I see the company as a way to finance my lifestyle with horses. And as long as I can do it and it works out – I’m happy. At the same time, of course, some good sales of horses can open up opportunities for me to do other things within the company. But I do not think you should come to me for the best entrepreneurial tips. It has never been my dream to push Eques Management to some enormous volume or size. I’m afraid that I would then lose that passion for horses and the sport – even though that’s really the basis for everything.”
At Eques Management, you work, among other things, with training dressage horses. What is important to you when you take in a new horse for training? What are you looking for?
“Finding a good youngster is not too difficult, everyone can get the basic hang of it. But if we talk about dressage horses, I usually look for the following:
- Three good basic gaits
- Somewhat correct exterieur
- A size that suits me
And those things are not hard to get a hang of. But what then determines whether I actually buy the horse or not, is my gut feeling. And my gut feeling is based on all the hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of videos of horses that I have seen during my time as a rider. These tips may not be too helpful for you if you do not feel that you have that strong gut feeling, but for me it is the deciding factor – in combination with the price, of course! ”
There must be incredibly many inquiries regarding work and internship with you at Eques Management. How is it, do you have the opportunity to take on interns?
“We receive an incredible number of applications, like hundreds. And since we only take on a couple of interns each year, the chances to receive a place are unfortunately very slim. You can definitely email us and apply for an internship, but we do not have the opportunity to offer many places unfortunately.”
EVERYDAY LIFE AT SÄRÖ
First of all, what breed is Iris?
“My dog Iris is a mix of Pumi, Cavaliere KC and Shih Tzu”
As we have mentioned before, you are a person who has lots of things running parallel. You run a company, train and show dressage horses up to the highest level and also run a successful Instagram account. What does a normal day look like for you?
“On a normal day, I get on the first horse just after seven in the morning, then I ride pretty much non-stop all morning. Depending on the season, the afternoons can look a little different. If we have competitions going on, I sometimes ride a little more in the afternoon. But otherwise I will focus more on training others and administrative office work.
Every evening I send a schedule to the team where I compile what the next day is going to look like, which horse I am going to ride when and so on.
This is what today’s schedule looks like, for example:
10:30 Rufus – Long reining
11:00 Snookie – Long reining
11:30 Pods – hacking
12:00 Defense – hacking
12:30 Training other riders
14:15 Training other riders
15:00 Training other riders
16:00 Digital meeting cooperation partner
17:00 Digital meeting new cooperation partner
18:00 Own training
20:00 Post on Instagram
Pick up package
Order horse feed
Call horse owners for viewing
Sign up for competition
More about Eques Management
You describe Eques Management as specialized in dressage training and you yourself are also a professional dressage rider. However, we have noticed that you are doing more and more jumping on your social media. How is it that?
“Partly because I think it’s very fun! It has long been a dream for me to have a show jumper on the side – more as a hobby. I am of course an amateur rider in jumping and I’m learning. But I think it’s really nice! So in a way, it stems from my own interest because I think it is fun and I feel it is exciting to see where it might take me. Then I also notice that my followers on social media appreciate when my content is more varied and not just focused on dressage. “
Riding related or not: Is there any achievement in your life that you are particularly proud of?
“My biggest achievement is that I get to live out my biggest passion and that I make a living out of it. That’s what I realize week after week. And I actually remember the moment I realized for the first time that I could actually make a living out of riding. I was around 20-21 years old, lived in Denmark and was an apprentice. I had been there for maybe a year when my boss told me that he wanted to move me from grooming horses and riding a little extra, to an actual riding job where I had my own list of horses to ride.
“Then I remember calling my mom at home to tell her how the tables have turned: In the past, it was always me who had to pay to ride, pay to buy a horse, pay for my trainer and stable. But at that moment, it came to a kind of “tipping point” where actually I was the one who was getting paid.”
It was about 3000 Swedish crowns, around 300 €, a month, so it was not a lot of money. But still: I got paid to ride and it was a real motivational kick for me. This is also what Eques Management is for me today: it makes it possible for me to make a living out of riding. So that’s probably the achievement I’m most proud of.”
“Every other week I have to pinch myself in the arm and realize that I really have a fantastic job. I am so lucky that I get to do for a living what to me is the best thing ever. How can this really be my job?!”
CARL’S TIPS FOR GROWING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
In recent years, your Instagram has grown incredibly fast and today you have followers all over the world. Can you give us your best tips for growing on social media?
- Be yourself
- Vary your content. Mix between content that’s fun, informative, trustworthy and bloopers, storytelling, etc.
- Before you publish a post, ask yourself the question “Is this something that is interesting for others to see?”
- Write in English and use hashtags to expand your reach
…and while we are still on the topic of social media: On your Instagram, you rate the “banana of the day”. What have you come up with? What makes a perfect banana for you?
“Haha, it’s unbelievable! Although rating the banana of the day is actually my worst content idea, people seem to love it the most. If I post about eating a banana without “rating” it, I get like 200 comments where people wonder why I did not rate it, haha. Anyway, I’d say a perfect banana for me should probably be a bit riper, more brown rather than green. The brown ones are a little sweeter and rounder in taste, I like that!”
Coming to our last question: There are many young riders out there who dream of working with horses full time the same way you do. What advice can you give to them?
“Knowledge is the best and lightest tool you can carry with you.”
Learn as much as you can about horses and everything to do with riding. I had no idea that I would be doing what I’m doing right now, working with social media and everything. I couldn’t even have dreamt of sitting here and having a collaboration with Maya Delorez, it feels completely surreal. But make sure you learn as much as possible: Everything from small things like how perfectly leg-yield – to larger areas such as leadership and entrepreneurship. Knowledge is power.”
5 QUICK QUESTIONS WITH CARL
Favorite riding season?
Compete abroad or at home?
Your favorite emoji?
🦖 – I LOVE the dinosaur emoji!
Gelding or mare?
Showjumping in a dressage saddle or dressage in a jumping saddle?
Dressage in a jumping saddle