“Let`s see who will be standing with a medal at the end of the year.” That was Tina´s immediate reply when a few male emirates tried to convince her that she needed to work even harder, to stand a chance of winning anything. What they did not know at the time was that later that year, Tina would receive the award for best rider in the United Arab Emirates from 2014 – 2015 as the first woman ever.
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This anecdote explains very well who Tina Lund is – defiant, full of determination, drive and will-power, and with a good amount of stubbornness. She is also a family person with a capital F. In her own way she has found a great recipe to being both a mother and a top rider. A recipe many women chase after most of their life. There is no doubt that Tina´s determination has carried her a long way and that this characteristic taps right into the DNA of Malgré Tout Media: To have horses despite of everything.
BEING A FULL-TIME MOTHER AND RIDER
Tina is a mother of two, Louis and Lilly, their father is former professional football player Allan Nielsen. Today the family lives in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai. But why did they travel the long way from their home in Denmark to the Middle east? Tina Lund explains that there are only two places in the world where you can both be a mother and a rider at an international level – the US or Dubai. “In Dubai all competitions are an hour away. So I can be with my children during the mornings, then drive to a competition, ride and be home at the evening. This way I don´t have to compromise too much or chose between one or the other. This is not very easy in Denmark – my home country.”
The difficulty with having a family life and a career as a top rider is very familiar among other professional riders. The same has been the case for Linnea Ericsson-Carey who lives in Sweden with her Irish husband. Also, Tina’s sister, Charlotte Lund, lives in Germany and is married to her former trainer. “I’ve talked about this with Linnea. She has a son, and he is at that age where kids don´t think it´s much fun to go to competitions. My sister does not ride any longer – she has two boys. She can´t make it all work with riding and bringing the boys with her to competitions. I do believe I have made the right choice. Both for my career and life.”
“If a reporter calls me, it is not about horses. unfortunately, They don`t think it is an exciting topic.”
THE “CAREER” AS A RIDER AND A REALITY STAR
“Many people have asked me if I don´t ride any more, but that is not the case at all,” Tina laughs. The question is asked by people, because Tina has participated in a few Danish reality programs – but as she explains – it does not take up that much of her time. “It is nothing compared to the life of being a mother and a professional rider. But it is the part the media find most interesting. If a reporter calls me, it is not to hear about horses. They do not think that´s very exciting – unfortunately. When I won the World Cup no one called me. They do not know what the World Cup is. I have tried for many years to create awareness around horses, but it is very difficult.
It would be a dream come true to make a program about being a career woman and a professional rider, but I do not believe it is going to happen. Riding doesn´t bring in enough viewers, and I have to think about getting food on the table.” Tina Lund also admits that she enjoys making reality TV, because she is an adventurous person. “I love to challenge myself and I have a lot of energy and creativity also outside my business and motherhood. I can´t sit still, and I have learned a lot from doing reality TV and many other things I have done. It is very interesting meeting people from other types of businesses. But it is not my primary work and life – that is my children and riding the horses. They take up about 90 percent of my time.
HORSE RIDING – TINA`S SAFE PLACE
There is no doubt that the place Tina feels most secure is among horses. “Even though, I participate in reality TV and other promotion stuff and enjoy it, I still feel a 100% safe and at home among riders and horses – in this world I am completely me.” All in all, Tina believes it is very important to find a lifestyle that is safe and comfortable when you decide to leave your home country to live out a dream of being a rider in a completely different culture.
“You need to be surrounded by people who care about you and enjoy helping out. I do a lot of things for my family, so they enjoy supporting me”, she mentions. For Tina it is not about winning the lottery to have a good life. It is about good and loving people and the safety it creates. It is security that leads the way to follow your dreams in life.
OCCASIONALLY YOU MUST COMPROMISE
Dubai is the ideal location for a hardworking rider who needs time for both the family and horses. But the overall Arabic culture is so different that Tina had to compromise a great deal. Most riders are men and the view on women is very different from that in Denmark. Tina rides the princess Shamma Sultan Khalifa Al Nahyas’ horse.
The princess is not allowed to show up in public and can only watch Tina ride her horse from a dark tent or a car with tinted windows. Tina has only met the princess a few times and does not know how often she watches her ride. But Tina still emphasizes that she respects the culture as it is.
All in all, Tina knowingly deselects all activities not belonging in the Arabic culture. This is also the reason why she does not post everything that comes into mind on social media. For her it is about respecting the people she works with.
“I have learned about culture, on how to do business, and how to be a woman in a completely different country. I have come to the realization how privileged we are in Denmark. We are so lucky.”
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A ROLE MODEL IN EQUESTRIAN SPORT
Tina Lund is one of the most influential athletes in the equestrian sport. She has been on the podium many, many times in both Dubai and Denmark, but for Tina it is quite sad that the media in general does not show much interest for her sport. Even though, she is a top rider in show jumping, most articles about her are centered on her “career” as reality-star. It is important to Tina Lund to be a role model; to be associated with good values without having to compromise her own person.
“Of course, I love being a good example to others, I have realized that I can´t make everybody happy.” Tina believes it is better to do her best and trust it´s worth it. Therefore, she has accepted that her riding career does not interest the public. “TV has to be entertaining. Watching me train horses, which I do 90 % of the time, is just not exciting enough. The viewers and public decide what they find interesting about my life – not me. That is a fact, and I have made my peace with it.”
- Named the new sports name in Denmark in 2002.
- Won the World Cup in 2004 and 2005 as the first show jumper in Denmark.
- The most winning senior rider in 2006.
- Has won DM (Danish championship) 19 times, NM (Nordic championship) three times and EM (European championship) one time.
- First rider to win all three (DM, NM and EM) championships the same year.
- In 2014-2015 she was awarded rider of the year in the United Arab Emirates.