Knytkalaset - a long-term elite venture

Sponsorhip - Fellowship
horesemanship - leadership
together we aim for the stars

The idea to support and develop Swedish dressage in a long-term and successful way was created in 1998. Jan Brink and his sponsor and mentor Åke Björsell contacted Kyra Kyrklund and together they designed a training concept for dressage riders at high level.

The basic idea was to raise the standard of educating horses among the talented Swedish riders and trainers. Knowledge is eternal. Goals were set for each student and were to be coordinated with the results later achieved. All students were carefully selected by Åke, Jan & Kyra and a degree of circulation of students was expected.

To begin with the training should take place at Tullstorp for a period of 3 years with 8 - 10 training camps a year. Kyra Kyrklund, who at the time was about to leave Flyinge and move to England, was engaged as the trainer.

The concept was named Knytkalaset, which is the Swedish word for a ”gathering” where everbody brings something to a mutual happening. The name was fitting for the concept since Kyra brougt her knowledge, Jan, the amazing location Tullstorp, Åke, the administration and economical support and the students with their horses and high ambitions.

Everbody was pleased with the concept! After the first 3 years, Knytkalaset was therefore extended for another year and so it continued for several years. Now Knytkalaset has grown due to the support of two main sponsors as well as a number of minor sponsors and the ”Nursery” has been established for the young riders. Soon it will celebrate it’s 20th anniversary and it is here to stay!

What is the Nursery?

The “Nursery” of Knytkalaset is a well tailored project that started in 2009. The purpose of the Nursery Project is to spot, help and develop talented riders at an early age.

There are at the moment two Nurseries in Sweden, one in the south at Tullstorp and one in the northern region close to Stockholm. Each Nursery has around 10 students who all meet 6-8 times a year and train for the trainer of the region. At the moment the age of the students is primarily from 17 to 25 years of age.

The aim of the concept is to develop and increase the number of riders at a national level, regardless of the category. By raising the level among the young riders, better conditions are created in the long-term for a greater amount of riders to be able to educate more good horses for the future.

The idea is also to have the opportunity to recruit some of the most promising riders from the Nurseries to Knytkalaset.

The Nursery as a training camp

8 times a year all the students in the Nurseries get together to train at a 2- or 3-day training camp. In the northern region the students meet at Brolöten where the Nursery student Emelie Brolin lives, and they train for Liane Wachtmeister. In the south the students meet at Tullstorp to train for Jan Brink.

At every Nursery meeting the students come both with and without horses to follow all the training sessions. Some of the students come from afar and as many as possible stay the nigth. Lunch is served and gives the students and relatives the opportunity to discuss theoretic questions, competitions, share experiences or to just be together under more relaxed circumstances. Most often a dinner for all students is arranged as well – all to strengthen the fellowship and teamspirit amongst the students.

The trainers of the Nursery

Jan Brink, trainer of the Nursery in the Southern region

Jan is a founder of Knytkalaset and the Nursery and he has had Kyra Kyrklund as his trainer since the 1990s. Jan has educated a great amount of Stallion Performance Test Winners as well as Grand Prix horses.

Further to Jan’s own competition results with a number of international championship medals and 3 Olympic Games, Jan has also been very successful as a trainer with students that have won many Swedish Championships and won several international championship medals.

Liane Wachtmeister, trainer of the Nursery in the Northern region

Liane has been a student in Knytkalaset since it was founded. She has competed in international Grand Prix since 1988 and been selected for the Olympics.

As a trainer, Liane has a number of successful students besides all the students from the Nursery from the northern region. Liane has educated a great amount of Grand Prix horses both herself as a rider but also as a trainer to other riders and their horses.

Knytkalaset for the future

We are producing promising young riders that in turn will produce promising young horses for the future sport. Some of the young Nursery students have already won several Stallion Performance Tests, had a number of stallions approved and competed successfully at the World Championship for Young Horses and the Swedish Championship for Young Horses.

Among the students in Knytkalaset are a great number of Stallion Performance Test Winners and many stallions have been approved. Two students, Jan Brink at Tullstorp and Rose Mathisen from Gränsbo, are also running some of the leading stallion studs in Sweden and are at the same time successfully competing the stallions. By enhancing the amount of mares covered with the best horses within the sport, the goal is to enhance the production of really good sport horses for the future.

Knytkalaset great success

Since the beginning in 1998, the Knytkalas students have had great success at international competitions.

The riders have educated close to 40 horses to Grand Prix and had more than 10 horses competing in the national team. 10 international Grand Prix riders have trained for Kyra in Knytkalaset and with Jan Brink in the lead they have won 18 international medals, competed at 3 Olympic Games and in total won 17 individual Swedish Championship medals, among them 7 gold medals and won 40 international Grand Prix, among others several World Cup competitions and a World Cup medal. Further to this, Jan won the unofficial World Championship - the Aachen Championship - in 2005 as the only Swede in history. Since the beginning, the Knytkalas has had riders in most Olympics and World Championships.

Furthermore, the Knytkalas riders have had great success at the Stallion Performance Tests and in the Championships for Young Horses, both nationally and internationally. Together they have won 20 Swedish Stallion Performance Tests and had a great number of stallions approved for breeding.

The Nursery's great success

Since the Nursery was established in 2009 the students have been very successful at competitions. Despite their young age a great number of students have already achieved incredible results from the time they competed ponies up to Grand Prix.

In total the current Nursery students have won 12 individual Swedish Championship gold medals, 6 silver medals and 7 bronze medals, 3 team-SC gold, 1 team-SC silver, 2 Nordic Championship gold medals, 6 silver and 1 bronze medal, 4 NC team-gold medals, 8 team-silver and 1 bronze medal, 5 European Championship medals, 2 individually.

Furthermore, several of the students have already had int. placements and victories in U25 Grand Prix while also competing in the Young Rider-teams.

The students have also been very successful with young horses and won several Stallion Performance Tests, as well as had victories and placements at the Young Horse Championships and at Scandinavian Open in Falsterbo.

Knytkalas events

The Knytkalas students are very active and are working for the development of dressage internationally, among others by doing clinics, presentations, shows, articles etc.

For a long time Kyra Kyrklund has been the chairman of the International Dressage Riders Club and a member of FEI’s Dressage Committee. Both Jan Brink and Kyra do lecture deminstrations to large audiences a couple of times a year.

At the Global Dressage Forum in Holland 2013, Jan, Kyra and Liane did a Knytkalas clinic together with the Nursery students Marina Mattsson, Anna Zibrandtsen and Emelie Aldenfalk.

The Knytkalas with Jan, Marina & Anna also did a clinic in Denmark for the Friends of Dressage foundation about the Knytkalas/Plantskole concept that has started to be noted abroad.

The Nursery students Mathilde Hannell & Marina Mattsson did an evening show at the Borås Grand Prix.

Knytkalaset as a training camp

The Knytkalas members get together 6-8 times a year for a 2-day training camp at Jan Brink’s Tullstorp in Southern Sweden. Knytkalas trainer Kyra Kyrklund flies in from England the evening before in order to be in place when the training sessions commence the next morning.

For two days, training and social relations is the main focus with a lot of riding and theoretical training, social lunches and dinner for the students staying overnight. Everything from details such as the contact with the outer rein in the pirouettes to the new rising star in the stable, planning competitions and a lot more outside the world of horses is discussed.

Further to the training itself, the Knytkalas training camp is also important for their social network; the students can profit from each other’s experiences, it enhances the team spirit and creates a feeling of security for the students. A security that they can bring to the competitions, where they can support each other both as a pair of additional eyes at the warm-up but also mentally when supporting and cheering for each other.

Knytkalas trainer - Kyra Kyrklund

Kyra Kyrklund is Finnish and has for many years been living in England where she runs a training stable together with her English husband Richard White. Before that Kyra lived for years in Sweden and worked at Flyinge with a number of international students, among others Jan Brink. As a trainer – besides Knytkalaset and Jan Brink – she has been the team trainer for the Finnish Junior-, Young Rider- and Senior Team, her students have received several individual silver and bronze medals, she has trained more than 30 international Grand Prix riders and since 2011 she is supervisor for the Swedish dressage team.

Kyra has competed internationally for 30 years with great success, won a silver medal individually at the World Championship in Stockholm 1990, has been a Nordic Champion, she has won 10 Finnish Championships, has competed at 6 Olympic Games, 6 World Cup Finals - never placed less than 6th - and she even won the Finals in Paris 1991. Furthermore she has educated and competed more than 15 horses in international Grand Prix.

Kyra has been made a professor in equitation at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in collaboration with National Equine Centers Flyinge and Strömsholm.