This week I’m chatting with Austrian international dressage rider Jonas Frick. Based in Austria, Jonas has enjoyed considerable success at U25 international competitions and has competed at both Young Rider and Under 25’s at the European Championships as well as being runner up twice at the Austrian National Championships. Read on to learn more about the highly talented Jonas, his ambitions, and top tips for success.
Tell us about you and your horses
My name is Jonas Frick, and I am twenty-three years old. I am an international dressage rider and together with my horse Juno we compete for Austria.
Overall, I have three horses. Nadino, Pokerface and Juno.
Nadino is a pony. I started entering competitions with him when I was eleven years old, which lasted until I was sixteen. Now he is retired and on the fields with his friend Pokerface, who is my second horse.
Pokerface had a longer break because he was injured – that’s why he is together with Nadino on the fields since 2018, located near our own small stable. But this summer I started building him up and he already went on a few small competitions with my girlfriend. Next year, I want to enter competitions with him as well.
Juno is the horse which I enter international competitions with at the moment and therefore, I spend most of my time with her. She is the horse I achieved the biggest success with. We won several international U25 competitions. We participated in two European championships, namely Young rider in 2020 and the U25 in 2023. Two times we were vice champion at the Austrian championship and this year we reached the third place.
How did your horses come into your life?
Nadino was my first horse, and he came into my life in 2011. At that time, I was eleven years old and I have always dreamed of owning a horse. Because I was young, my parents decided to buy me a pony. It was a big dream come true.
Pokerface came to us a few years after Nadino. At that time, Pokerface was 5 years old. He was my young horse, and we should find our experience in more advanced competitions later on.
In 2018 I was lucky to get Juno. Actually, it was a big surprise that we got her because she lived 3 boxes further to Pokerface in the same stable where we settled years ago before we bought her. Moreover, it was a big birthday present from my parents to me. I signed the contract exactly on my birthday.
When and where do you ride?
Juno lives in a stable near my home, it only takes me about 5 minutes to go there by car. I go there every day and ride Juno around 4 times a week.
How did you start riding?
I started riding quite early when I was five years old. I watched some western movies, and they aroused my interest. I can’t remember how it was exactly, but my mom told me that I reminded her over weeks on a daily basis that I want to start riding. She thought that it would be just a short phase and that it will ebb away soon, but this never happened. My passion for horses grew even stronger.
What are you and your horses currently working on?
With Pokerface I am now working on flying changes, so that we can bring him next year up to the M-level.
Talking about Juno, I am currently not training that much with her. At the moment, she’s getting some rest for the next few weeks as we went on a lot of competitions with her this year. The most important thing with Juno is to keep her healthy so we can work together as long as possible. We are carrying out a lot of easy exercises right now.
What do you love about riding?
What I think is really special about riding is that two different species who cannot speak with each other can communicate by just making use of very sensitive aids and body language. And it is. or should be a very aesthetic kind of sport.
What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
Right now, I am quite satisfied how things are going. I can ride a lot and I have enough time for all of my horses. I study at the University of Vienna; however, my focus is a bit more on riding.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I am happy that nerves have never really been an issue when it comes to competitions. Mostly, before I get onto Juno when we tack her up, I get a bit nervous. But in the very moment I sit on Juno, and we move to the warm up place and have our walk for 15 minutes it gets less and I can just focus on my connection to a wonderful being, namely my horse.
Actually, I am more nervous when my students enter competitions, but only when I watch them during their test. The feeling that you are unable to help them in these 5 minutes is horrible. That is when I get nervous. But luckily, when I participate in a competition myself, nerves are not that much of an issue.
How do you deal with them?
I think an important aspect is to have strong mental health and to be self-confident. I know a lot of riders who carry out different kinds of mental training, and that’s for sure a good thing. However, in my personal opinion, it is also helpful to enter lots of competitions, so you familiarise yourself with the procedure and gain confidence.
Do you have any rituals before before competing?
I talk to my girlfriend or text with her – If she cannot be present during the competition – and I listen to music. The most important thing is to give Juno an apple and cuddle with her.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?
If there is a mistake during riding, always observe yourself primarily. After this, you observe the horse. Most of the time, it is not the horse’s fault.
Your Top Tip
My top tip is to believe in yourself and do not think too much about other people and what they think about you. Especially, when it comes to social media platforms such as Instagram. One trainer once told me, “The task you ride in a competition takes place in the riding area and not on Instagram.” That always helped me a lot. The most important thing is to be patient with yourself and your horse. Always trust the process.
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Indian Rock, who is ridden by Emmelie Scholtens.
Who is your equestrian hero?
If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?
Jordan Peterson, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Hardy, Matthew Mcconaughey,Christiano Ronadlo
Favourite colour horse?
Favourite horse event?
Actually, all big championships from youth classes to the adult ones.
Pizza, without any doubt.
Favourite way to relax?
Listening to music or go for a late-night walk
Gladiator, starring Russel Crowe.
If you enjoyed meeting Jonas you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here You can keep up with Jonas’ progress and check out his instagram page here