Swedish rider Jonna Ekberg started her career as a rider at the age of six. Back then, she would take lessons at the riding school in Sweden, where she fell in love with the sport immediately.
In 2010 she decided to leave her home country and move to the UK, to pursue her dream of becoming a professional rider. After a while, Jonna wants to move to Belgium. ‘Belgium is located in the middle of where all the shows and big stables are. That’s the main reason why I left the UK and went to work for Abdel Said for two and a half years. Back then, my job consisted of riding and normal stable duties. Next, I was offered a job at Stephex Stables, where I’ve worked for a bit more than six years’, Jonna says.
After gaining a lot of experience at different stables, Jonna thought it was time for her to start on her own. ‘It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Working at Stephex was great, I’d do it all over again. It was the best experience I could ever have, but I felt like my time to build up my own business was right. It was time for a new challenge.’
Starting up your own business in the middle of a pandemic may sound like a bad idea to many people. According to Jonna, this pandemic has made it possible for them to take their time and to get used to it. When it comes to clientele, there haven’t been any difficulties. ‘Both my partner and I have built up quite a big network over de past years of our career, which has been a huge advantage. This network consists of clients as well as owners who know what they pay for.’
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The focus at Duffy-Ekberg stables isn’t on the dealing. ‘It’s more about producing young horses and see them grow into -who knows- Grand Prix horses, or at least help them to a higher level. We prefer to keep them for a long term process’, Jonna explains.
‘Working at Stephex with my team I always saw as my own stable a little bit. You are left with a lot of responsibilities. The only thing that I see as a difference is help with the management. Stephex Stables has an amazing stable manager, which we are for our own stable now. It’s something we need to get used to, but it’s becoming easier and easier.’
A piece of advice
‘Don’t jump into starting your own business too soon’, Jonna says. ‘Try to create a name for yourself and try to build up your own network first. People must get to know you first so that they respect you and know what you’re worth. Working for a good stable, where you get enough opportunities is key. It’s those experiences that will make you stronger when starting on your own. Lastly, make sure to surround yourself with good people who genuinely want to help you grow.’
‘First of all, I hope we can grow into a strong and respected business that makes its clients happy. Of course, I also hope to be riding for the Swedish Nations Cup team once I have a horse for it’, Jonna adds.
Photo: Kask Equestrian