In Conversation with Fanny Jernström

When were you first introduced to horses?

Actually, it was my aunt. She has a friend who had a lot of racehorses—during the summer she let them out to relax for a couple of weeks.

They had the horses on this big island and they were moving them around for better grazing. I was six-years-old, and as they were moving them around, she let me ride the horses. I was riding bareback, you know, not even with a halter. And then when I was eight, I started riding school because my mom was like, “Maybe you should try doing this because you like it so much.” She told the riding school, “Well, she’s been riding for two years.” So, they put me in an advanced group and it was the first time I rode with a saddle and I didn’t even know how to post. I was embarrassed (laughing.)

I did riding school for five years, and I didn’t get the whole thing about riding around in an arena. I wanted to ride like I did when I was a kid, just go in the woods, running and stuff.

When I was 10, there was a couple who lived close to us that had four rescue horses. The couple didn’t know anything about horses at all. So my mom and I asked if they needed any help, and they gave me a chance to take care of their horses for eight years.

You mentioned you had a break from horses, was the break after those eight years?

Yeah, when I started taking care of the horses, they were quite old. And then we had to put one down and another until there was just one left. And I was like, okay, what am I going to do now?

So, I moved to London. I didn’t go there to study, I went because when I was younger, I was into theatre and musicals. I thought I was going to go there and do that. Because I didn’t have the language, someone said, “You could try to be a model.” Then I worked as a model, but there were no horses for me when I was there.

How did you get back into riding fully? Was it solely through modeling for Aisling Equestrian?

I had at least three or four years away from horses until I met Annika. On our first date, I met Annika’s horse, which is now also my horse. So, that’s how I started riding again. And because she had this horse, she would spend five or six days in the stables, and obviously, I was going to come with her because I missed it so much. And then I got in touch with Aisling and I started riding the owner’s horse!

How do you see horses in your life in the future?

I like the mix that I’ve got now. We live in town, in Stockholm. Stockholm is surrounded by nature and we can walk to our horses in five minutes. I’m able to be at the stable a lot and still have time to model and travel.
But our dream is definitely to move out of the city. Annika wants a very, very big farm with a lot of horses, and I want a little farm with some horses, a goat, a sheep, and some chickens. She just wants this big arena, (laughing), so we’ll see where we end up.

Do you feel like the word, “horse girl” is defined differently in Europe than it is in the states? Do you see a difference?

Generally, no. I think when you have a passion for horses, it’s like music—you can be all over the world and you have a different language, but in the end, you have the same passion. I would say, it’s the same with horses. You can have different ways, different styles, and everything, but when you get to know horses—you kind of speak the same language as all the other horse people.

We do have different clothes, I realized.

Do you have any advice for horse girls who want to keep horses in their life, but are balancing something else?

It’s easy when you have a break because you sometimes forget how much it actually means to you. Now that I have horses in my life again, I never, ever want to not have them in my life. It’s about priority.

If it’s important to you, if it heals you, if it gives you positivity and creativity—you need to focus there. It’s like a part of you. It’s about putting yourself first. And to put yourself first you need to ask what’s important to you and prioritize.

I feel like it’s a bit of a meditation being with a horse. Because I’m very creative. I would love to work as a creative director and all of my ideas actually grow when I’m out horseback riding or with horses. Because everything else shuts down when I’m riding. I’m 100% with the horse and I’m just very playful.

What is your favorite part about horses? Why do you think you’re so called to be with them?

I never went into competition because riding horses was more of a freedom for me. It has always been non-stress-related. I have very, very high expectations of myself in my private life, so basically by being with horses, it’s like therapy for me. Just being there and being in the quiet—they are so sensitive—you speak with them, but you don’t speak.

It’s a passion, it’s love and it’s freedom.

Follow Fanny @fnksj

Photo credit @annikaholtzphotography