Meet Tova Ottosson:

The Rider and Trainer Who Makes Things Happen

She runs a business where she is training both horses and riders. Meet Tova Ottosson – the Swedish team rider who’s been part of MD since the very beginning.


Mon 8 Jul - 24

She is one of the Team Riders that have been a part of Team MD since the start back in 2018. As a junior, she competed internationally before switching gears and opening up TH Stables with her boyfriend, where they train and compete young horses. Meet Tova Ottosson – the Swedish show jumper who enjoys when there’s a lot going on and likes her horses energetic and hot-headed.


About Tova
  • Born: 13 December 1998

  • Lives: Right outside of Uppsala, Sweden

  • Discipline: Showjumping

  • Instagram: @tovaottosson


It’s a warm day in early May when we get out of the car and set foot on the driveway at Fiby Stables. In the pastures surrounding the farm, 20-plus horses are happily chewing the grass that has just made its way to the (no longer cold) surface. The late morning sun fills the fields and from a nearby tree, a cuckoo bird sings. Spring has officially arrived. 


As we make our way to the stables, a dog – a mix between a dachshund and German Spitz – barks happily to greet us. 

That’s Våfflan (Editor’s note: meaning “Waffles” in Swedish), says Tova Ottosson, who is now walking towards us from one of the buildings.  

For someone that works in an office, 10:00 might feel like it’s only late morning, but by this time, Tova has already managed a day’s worth of work.  

 I am a morning person! I would rather ride at five in the morning than eight in the evening, Tova explains while pouring us some coffee.


We sit down in the chairs that are placed outside. Here on the farm, a 20-minute journey away from Uppsala, Tova lives together with her boyfriend, rider Hugo Wihlmark. Since 2021, they run TH Stables together, where they train young horses. They also take on horses that need to develop in different areas and Tova often runs training sessions both for groups and for individual students. 

 –  We have one employee and sometimes we take on interns, otherwise it’s me and Hugo, says Tova. 

 At the moment, we have 17 stalls and a few boarded horses. We have 12 horses that we compete, and we also have three young horses that are in loose housing. Two horses are at Hugo’s family’s in Motala as well, Tova tells us and adds:

Having 12 horses is quite ideal since we do almost everything ourselves. It means that we can give each horse the time it needs. 


Can you describe a typical day in your life? 

The horses are kept outside between 07 and 16 each day. I’m at the stable by 07. I start riding, and I ride maybe three horses. Then I help out in the stable, before we have lunch around 12. After that, I do a bit of what needs doing, I might drag the arena and rearrange it. Sometimes, I have a student during the day. I ride the rest of the horses, and I have a couple of training sessions in the afternoon. Sometimes, we jump the horses elsewhere, or maybe one needs a veterinary visit, or we’re heading out for a test ride. On a good day when everything runs smoothly, we finish up around 17 or 18. 


Since Tova’s mom has always had horses, it only felt natural for Tova herself to get into riding too. At four years old, she was in the saddle for the first time, at a riding school in Sigtuna, Sweden. 

  I didn’t think it was all that fun, haha. I remember thinking that the riding boots were awful, they were impossible to get off, Tova recalls.  

But when Tova’s mom got hold of a Shetland pony at the stable where she kept her own horses, Tova found it much more enjoyable. At eight years old, she got her first pony.  

  I grew up with the ponies. The first one refused to jump so I began competing in dressage. For a year, I was all about dressage but then I got hooked on show jumping. 

When Tova was 14 years old, she began riding her first horse. 

She was a special one, that horse, she caught my eye. I have always liked spirited horses that have a lot of energy and she did! Every time you rode her, you were in for two laps of rodeo before you could get to work, there was nothing for it but to hold on, Tova says with a laugh. 

“Every time you rode her, you were in for two laps of rodeo before you could get to work.”

– Tova Ottosson 

In high school, Tova did a sports program with a specialization in horses, which meant that she could ride and train during school hours. After graduating, she moved to Enköping in Sweden and began working for Sylve Söderstrand, the coach and former captain of Sweden’s national showjumping team. 

–  I lived there and worked with young horses. I’ve trained with Sylve since I was 13, and after graduation I wanted to get away for a while, so I ended up there. I stayed for about a year.

Tova still rides with Sylve Söderstrand every now and then. 

  He stops by a few times a year and makes sure that Hugo and I are behaving, haha. Me and Sylve get along great. I learnt a lot working and training with him in Enköping, says Tova.  

During her time with Sylve, Tova’s parents bought the farm outside of Uppsala, and she and Hugo have been renting stalls there since 2021. In 2021, they also opened TH Stables.  

  We have both had our own, similar businesses before, but we realized that it made more sense to work together, Tova tells us.


What’s it like to both run a business and be in a relationship together?  

– I think it’s only a good thing that we know each other so well. Working with horses can get lonely, you do a lot by yourself. Hugo and I complement each other well, we help each other. One of us will observe when the other is jumping, and we know each other’s horses well. We exchange a lot of ideas, says Tova and continues: 

  Right now, we aren’t doing big shows, we mostly ride young horses and compete them. When they are ready for the higher levels, it’s time to sell them.


“Working with horses can get lonely, you do a lot by yourself. Hugo and I complement each other well.”

– Tova Ottosson


These days, Tova competes nearly every weekend, all around Sweden. In the past, she has competed abroad but now the focus is on nearby shows. This summer, her sights are set on Falsterbo Horse Show.


When you look back on your career so far, what accomplishment are you most proud of? 

  The last couple of years haven’t been as hectic but when I was junior, I started to compete at higher levels and did Avicii Arena, Falsterbo, Elmia – all those competitions. I look forward to continuing to compete and I have high hopes for my own six-year-old Nasse. Nasse had his debut a few weeks ago and did really well. It’ll be fun for us to progress and do more shows in the future.


What inspires you? 

– All of the talented riders! We have a lot of really talented riders in Sweden that you get to see when you’re competing at shows here. I admire Nicole Holmén, Stephanie Holmén’s sister. She’s amazing. Malin Baryard is another big inspiration. She gets all of her horses to jump beautifully, she’s a real “fighting rider”. 


Tova’s relationship with Maya Delorez has always been a close one – several photoshoots have taken place here at Fiby Stables, and as a close friend of MD’s founder Madelene Törnblom, Tova was one of Maya Delorez’s first Team Riders.

The only breeches I ride in are the Classic, says Tova, who, during the interview, is dressed in the Astrid Classic Breeches


It has been just over an hour since the interview began. The peaceful quiet is only somewhat disrupted when Hugo drives up with a horse trailer. Våfflan, who has been slumbering in the shade throughout the conversation, gets up. The day at Fiby Stables continues – it’s time to take the last of the horses out for a ride before lunch.

Tova picks up the coffee mugs and, with a determined look, she gazes at the arena, where the obstacles are lined up.   

  I am pretty optimistic as a person. As a rider, you have to learn to deal with both success and setbacks, well, mostly setbacks maybe, she says laughing and then remarks:  

  But you can’t give up, you have to just keep going. And I guess that’s what drives me.


Five quick questions with Tova

What music do you like to listen to?

I like a lot of Swedish music. My favorite song right now is the one with Hooja and Miriam Bryant! 

Favorite food?

Hamburgers, or tacos.

How do you spend a day off?

Both Hugo and I love hamburgers so we can spend a day going around trying new hamburger places, haha! There is always a new place that’s opened in town.

Mare, gelding or stallion?

Gelding. I have had a lot of mares, I like mares. But they can be a bit more of a handful. 

Favorite emoji?

These two: 😅 🙈

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