Meet The Norwegian Show Jumper

Pål Flam

Read about how Pål Flam's career started and how he, through dedication and determination, managed to make it to the show jumping elite.


Thu 4 Apr - 24

He is referred to as the Norwegian show jumping talent, but he finds it hard to accept the definition completely. Maybe the word “talent” feels unfamiliar when you actually know what it takes to reach your goals. With impressive positions in the Jumping World Cup, Nations Cup, and 5* Grand Prix classes, Pål has, through hard work and laser like focus, gained experiences that he now applies in his own business in Norway. Looking to the future, we are confident that new successes await our Team Rider Pål Flam!


About Pål

  • Name: Pål Flam

  • Age: 28 (Born in May 24, 1995)

  • Lives in: Oslo, Norway

  • Works as: Showjumper

  • Instagram: @paalflammen 

When we call Pål for an interview, he is in the midst of preparations for the show season in Spain, with departure in just a couple of days. The plan is to stay for six weeks. In addition to logistics, Pål's own preparations also include what he calls his mental checklist.

“I prepare myself for competitions by visualizing. I visualize how it feels to ride the course, what rhythm I have, what it’s like to compete. I do that while driving or simply when sitting on the couch at home. I actually find it relaxing – to have that mental checklist that I go over and over again. It makes me feel mentally ready when I enter the show ring. I think my brain is very systematic when it comes to riding. For the horses, I try to change as little as possible before a competition. Of course you want them to get in some bigger jumps if you’re going to a World Cup competition, for example. But before smaller competitions I usually jump a course, to make sure that I get the distances right – and have the right rhythm. During the season I jump a course about one to two times a week.”


When Pål describes himself, there are mainly two things that stand out: Organization being key, when it comes to the horses, and a somewhat more unorganized lifestyle outside of the stable. Luckily, he has someone who helps him structure his everyday life. His girlfriend, or now fiancée, Anette Ringnes, whom he lives with in Oslo. 


“I find it hard to describe myself, but I’ve had a little help from Anette. She describes me as ambitious, kindhearted, responsible, funny, dedicated and hardworking. Those are super nice words! But I would also like to add that I can be perceived as somewhat absent-minded, haha. It happens that I forget things sometimes. For example, my watch and phone mysteriously go missing almost every day, my wardrobe looks like a bomb site, you get the idea. Fortunately, I get help from Anette. We make a good team. I also think I can come across as absent-minded because I'm constantly thinking about the horses and what I can improve with my riding. With the horses on the other hand, I'm very structured.”


What does a typical day look like for you?
  • I wake up around 07:00, get in the car at 07:45, and drive to the stable. When I arrive, I make sure everything is ok in the stable and with the horses. I also have the help of very skilled grooms who have everything under control.

  • After that, I start riding and ride between five to nine horses. Some days I also show horses.

  • After the stable, I try to spend some time doing other things so it's not all about horses 24/7. Since I grew up in the countryside, I appreciate living in Oslo. Simply being able to put on regular clothes and go out to eat at a restaurant.


It's clear during the interview that Pål was into sports early. That horses and show jumping would be his main focus? Not as obvious. During his childhood, Pål was a successful long-distance runner and devoted a lot of time to both soccer and handball. Eventually, it was growing up on the horse farm (and a bunch of ponies) that got him thinking differently. At the age of 14, he made the decision to go all in for show jumping.

“Since I grew up on a horse farm, horses were a natural part of my life. I believe it was important for my parents. There were times when I didn’t particularly want to spend time at the stable instead of playing soccer – but I had to spend time learning to take care of the horses. For economic reasons, my parents bought me a pony to compete and train, and eventually there were more ponies. I remember that there were always two ponies at a time that were lunged, and then I got to jump on and ride. During weekends, we could go to shows with five to seven ponies. I remember deciding when I was about 14 years old that now I'm going 'all in' on riding. When I made that decision, I stopped with some of the other sports. That's where my career started." 

At the age of 18, Pål started riding Larkin. A horse which he describes as quite difficult and very special - but with an enormous potential. Despite impressive positions in both the World Cup and Nations Cup, Pål looks back at that time with some self-criticism when it comes down to his own performance in the saddle. An irritation that has become his fuel in the sport: To become as good a rider as possible. 


“From the start he was supposed to be a dressage horse. He had a bad gallop, and was terrible to ride. But he was very intelligent and had an insane scope – he could jump houses. He took me to the big competitions as a 20-year-old, but if I should be honest I felt like I just wasn’t there in my riding. I wasn’t good enough, and that irritated me a lot. I could make mistakes that the horse didn't deserve, and my dream was to ride as good as possible – not to ride in the World Cup.”

In 2018, Pål moved to the Netherlands, where he lived in what he describes as “the heart of the sport” for four years. Despite fine horses, shows, and experiences where he learnt and saw a great deal of the sport – he still felt that something was missing in his riding. He took the decision to move back to Norway and to start his own business. A decision that would become somewhat of a “turning point” in Pål's career, and ultimately made all the pieces fall into place.  

 “I started my own business and could keep the things I found useful, and put aside the things I didn’t need. I felt like I could focus on the things I wanted to get better at. Then I realized that my riding improved. Now I’ve reached a point where I can enter the show ring and ride very well. It was crucial for me to be able to go through the knowledge and all I had learned, and make it my own. That’s when my turning point came.”

Pål has several role models in show jumping, but is particularly inspired by equestrians that stand out with good horsemanship.

“There are extremely many skilled riders, but there are some who stand out particularly when it comes down to horsemanship and everything around it. In recent years, I’ve closely watched Julien Épaillard, Peder Fredricson and Henrik von Eckermann. It inspires me to see how they get the horse to jump, how fast they ride, and at the same time keep the horses positive and attentive. It's the whole package that fascinates me." 

You seem like a person with a very strong drive, how have you handled setbacks in your career?

“I have never had the goal of being number one in the world rankings – but I have always had the goal of being able to ride like the number one in the world. I think it's healthy considering that we are involved in a very special sport. There is a lot of money involved, and it's difficult. My motivation has always been to become the best rider possible, and I believe that's what has helped me survive the tougher periods. Not being so result-driven – but more looking at it as 'what can I do better'? My own riding has always been the focus, how I can make it as easy as possible for the horse to jump a course. That has been my driving force."


“I want to win because I’m the best rider - that’s my goal.”


Since Pål found his way forward with his riding, he has started to visualize a long-term goal in the sport.

“It has actually come more recently that I feel that I am there in terms of riding. I want to be able to achieve consistent results in the biggest classes and be among the world's elite. I don't want to win because I have the best horse, I want to win because I’m the best rider – that's my goal."

“It’s exciting to start collaborating with Maya Delorez. The clothes that I’ve tried on look very nice and it’s great quality. It’s great to work with Maya Delorez since I can feel that the whole team is super motivated. They don’t aim to be second best. I’m grateful for working with such a team.” 

What are your favorite products from the collection? 

The Cargo and Sport Breeches without doubt, they are my absolute favorites. They are very stylish and the best ones I’ve tried so far. The material and fit are just great.