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In Brief: Merethe Neland (22) from Denmark

Name: Merethe Neland
Age: 22
From: Denmark.  I’ve moved around a lot and live at the moment in Aarhus, studying engineering at Aarhus University.

Biography of Merethe Neland.

When I was two years old, I got my first pony, Rosa. I had her for 20 years. I started competing in endurance with Rosa when I was four or five years old.
In 2008, I got a young pony, called Freja. I won the Danish Young Rider Championship with her in 2013 and our first 80 km race including the Best Condition award.
In 2015,  I spent a year in the Danish Military as a Royal Danish Hussar, one of the queen’s horse guards at ceremonially occasions.
In 2016, I spent half a year in Estonia riding and training horses for the Tikk family.

Endurance World Merethe Neland.03Notable achievements / palmares.

2013: Danish Young Rider Champion
2014: second at the Danish Young Rider Championship
2016: team gold at Nordic Baltic Championship for Young riders
2017: gold at Brussels Equestrian Endurance Masters CEIO** Ladies 120 km

 

 

When did you start riding?

Soon after I was born. I didn’t have much choice.
I began riding when I still was very young. I was actually only a few days old, when my parents took me to my first competition. Riding has always been a natural part of my family. That’s why it seemed like I didn’t have a choice. I might have had a choice, but I don’t remember ever not wanting to be around horses.

Endurance World Merethe Neland.04Does riding run in the family?

Yes. My mother ran a riding school so we had many ponies and horses. Both my parents and my sister enjoyed horseback riding. Both my parents competed in Endurance when I was young.

Why horses?

I’ve always been lucky to have them around. I find comfort in them and like the feeling of freedom you get by riding alone in the forest on a horse so easy it seems like he can read your mind.

Why endurance?

I got lessons on Freja in both dressage and jumping and liked it a lot. When I turned 16 and could no longer compete on my pony, I could not agree to sell her to get horse. Since Freja was so good at endurance riding and actually seemed to enjoy it more than both jumping and dressage I decided to continue down that path. I like to compete in endurance with my pony because people tend to underestimate her and often she can win over the big horses anyway.

Endurance World Merethe Neland.05Own horses or ride for somebody else?

Always had my own, but spent time training others too in Estonia last summer.

Does Merethe Neland train horses?

Yes. I like to see horses involve and improve. I went to Estonia last summer because I had six months between my year at the army and when I could begin studying at Aarhus University. I wanted to work with horses outside Denmark and found the perfect place at the Tikk family’s farm in south Estonia. I brought my own pony to Estonia and trained her for Nordic Baltic Championship while I was there. The rest of the time I trained young horses, competed at endurance races, helped organize an endurance race, herded cows, rode guided tours with tourist, learned how to drive with a horse carriage and explored the amazing area around the Piusa river.

Endurance World Merethe Neland.02What else does Merethe Neland enjoy?

I enjoy spending time with friends and family. Singing, talking, drinking wine, playing games. I like proving others wrong and doing what they say I can’t do.

What are your main motivations for doing sports?

I love the atmosphere at competitions. It’s like I grew up at endurance rides in Denmark. It’s more or less the same group of people who compete at every competition in Denmark and sooner or later you get to know them all. I like meeting them over and over again and share our mutual passion of endurance riding. I’m often motivated by seeing how successful others are and wanting to be in their position. There’s only a few really successful endurance riders in Denmark and I want to be one of them.
I’m also motivated by the incredible experiences that it’s possible to get by riding endurance. Like the opportunity to ride in countries I would normally never have the chance to ride. In Denmark we have a ride through a huge safari park. That’s quite special. I’ve ridden in Estonia, Germany, Italy and Belgium. Every time it’s a totally different scenery that meets the eye. There’s no better way to enjoy the view of nature than on horseback.

How does Merethe Neland sets her goals?

I always set my goals with my horses or ponies’ capacity in mind. When I started riding endurance I had no clue I would make it that far. I was just riding for fun and only around 20 kilometres rides. After a few years I wanted to go further. It was a big step for me when I rode my first 40-kilometre ride. Since then I wanted to see how far my pony could ride. I trained hard and sat a new goal every time I reached one. I ended up riding 120 kilometres on that pony.
What would be your ultimate achievement or did you reached that already?
I have very high ambitions. I hope to make it all the way to the top and compete in World Equestrian Games, but I’ll reach it step by step and compete at the European Championship first.

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In Brief: Merethe Neland (22) from Denmark

Name: Merethe Neland
Age: 22
From: Denmark.  I’ve moved around a lot and live at the moment in Aarhus, studying engineering at Aarhus University.

Biography of Merethe Neland.

When I was two years old, I got my first pony, Rosa. I had her for 20 years. I started competing in endurance with Rosa when I was four or five years old.
In 2008, I got a young pony, called Freja. I won the Danish Young Rider Championship with her in 2013 and our first 80 km race including the Best Condition award.
In 2015,  I spent a year in the Danish Military as a Royal Danish Hussar, one of the queen’s horse guards at ceremonially occasions.
In 2016, I spent half a year in Estonia riding and training horses for the Tikk family.

Endurance World Merethe Neland.03Notable achievements / palmares.

2013: Danish Young Rider Champion
2014: second at the Danish Young Rider Championship
2016: team gold at Nordic Baltic Championship for Young riders
2017: gold at Brussels Equestrian Endurance Masters CEIO** Ladies 120 km

 

 

When did you start riding?

Soon after I was born. I didn’t have much choice.
I began riding when I still was very young. I was actually only a few days old, when my parents took me to my first competition. Riding has always been a natural part of my family. That’s why it seemed like I didn’t have a choice. I might have had a choice, but I don’t remember ever not wanting to be around horses.

Endurance World Merethe Neland.04Does riding run in the family?

Yes. My mother ran a riding school so we had many ponies and horses. Both my parents and my sister enjoyed horseback riding. Both my parents competed in Endurance when I was young.

Why horses?

I’ve always been lucky to have them around. I find comfort in them and like the feeling of freedom you get by riding alone in the forest on a horse so easy it seems like he can read your mind.

Why endurance?

I got lessons on Freja in both dressage and jumping and liked it a lot. When I turned 16 and could no longer compete on my pony, I could not agree to sell her to get horse. Since Freja was so good at endurance riding and actually seemed to enjoy it more than both jumping and dressage I decided to continue down that path. I like to compete in endurance with my pony because people tend to underestimate her and often she can win over the big horses anyway.

Endurance World Merethe Neland.05Own horses or ride for somebody else?

Always had my own, but spent time training others too in Estonia last summer.

Does Merethe Neland train horses?

Yes. I like to see horses involve and improve. I went to Estonia last summer because I had six months between my year at the army and when I could begin studying at Aarhus University. I wanted to work with horses outside Denmark and found the perfect place at the Tikk family’s farm in south Estonia. I brought my own pony to Estonia and trained her for Nordic Baltic Championship while I was there. The rest of the time I trained young horses, competed at endurance races, helped organize an endurance race, herded cows, rode guided tours with tourist, learned how to drive with a horse carriage and explored the amazing area around the Piusa river.

Endurance World Merethe Neland.02What else does Merethe Neland enjoy?

I enjoy spending time with friends and family. Singing, talking, drinking wine, playing games. I like proving others wrong and doing what they say I can’t do.

What are your main motivations for doing sports?

I love the atmosphere at competitions. It’s like I grew up at endurance rides in Denmark. It’s more or less the same group of people who compete at every competition in Denmark and sooner or later you get to know them all. I like meeting them over and over again and share our mutual passion of endurance riding. I’m often motivated by seeing how successful others are and wanting to be in their position. There’s only a few really successful endurance riders in Denmark and I want to be one of them.
I’m also motivated by the incredible experiences that it’s possible to get by riding endurance. Like the opportunity to ride in countries I would normally never have the chance to ride. In Denmark we have a ride through a huge safari park. That’s quite special. I’ve ridden in Estonia, Germany, Italy and Belgium. Every time it’s a totally different scenery that meets the eye. There’s no better way to enjoy the view of nature than on horseback.

How does Merethe Neland sets her goals?

I always set my goals with my horses or ponies’ capacity in mind. When I started riding endurance I had no clue I would make it that far. I was just riding for fun and only around 20 kilometres rides. After a few years I wanted to go further. It was a big step for me when I rode my first 40-kilometre ride. Since then I wanted to see how far my pony could ride. I trained hard and sat a new goal every time I reached one. I ended up riding 120 kilometres on that pony.
What would be your ultimate achievement or did you reached that already?
I have very high ambitions. I hope to make it all the way to the top and compete in World Equestrian Games, but I’ll reach it step by step and compete at the European Championship first.

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