Dressage and western riding, mixed with conventional training in the cart.
Anna Österberg and Kai P Jussila moved in together last year and put their horsemanships together when they bought six year old mare Divine and it has paid off, even on V75®.
On Wednesday she races on V86® at Solvalla after nearly three months off.
She rides horses. He has worked with trotters in his entire adult life.
Anna Österberg and Kai P Jussila live in Strängnäs and became a couple in February of last year. An ad for a jogcart for sale brought Kai to Anna's farm and one thing lead to another.
"Kai came to look at the cart and before he left he had also asked me out for dinner! That's how we met and six months later we moved in together" says Anna Österberg.
That's also how to two people with a lot of horsemanship knowledge put their heads together and worked out their own training program.
Anna Österberg has ridden horses since she was a little girl and besides regular horseback riding she has also competed in dressage and western for many year. Kai P Jussila has been both an amateur and worked in many of the more successful stables. Since a few years he's responsible for the young horses for Sweden's leading trainer Timo Nurmos.
"We soon decided to buy a horse together. Kai wanted a horse that was nice so i could drive her and he liked both her and her pedigree. Divine is really small and doesn't look like much but she has shown that she really likes to win. And the way she can finish a race is extraordinary" says Anna Österberg who makes her living as a blacksmith.
"Half asleep during the race"
One win in 16 starts was Divine's record when she arrived to the farm in Härad, outside Strängnäs. The six year old mare's eight starts since the move have resulted in four wins, two seconds and one third.
Finishing fifth in the Klass II final at Solvalla in February is her worst result so far.
At Romme on V75® the little mare Divine introduced herself to the public when she won after a fantastic finish from the back of the field.
"She seems to be best when she sits behind another horse, then she's half asleep during the race. Once she attacked at Romme she showed her will to win and what a finish she has. Her fifth place finish in the final was due to the way the race progressed. She likes a hard, even pace. But she's never come off the racetrack tired and she wasn't tired in the final either" says Anna Österberg.
Kai to drive
After almost three months off with some tough training the couple Österberg/Jussila entered Divine to a V86® race at Solvalla this Wednesday.
Experienced stable lad Kai P Jussila has hos license with Timo Nurmos and he will drive her in this race for youth drivers and stable lads.
Divine should have a chance based on her talent but hasn't been prepped to be ready right off the lay off, she will need a couple races to get back in top form.
"She was good when she won on V75 but she raced with long corks and the hard track wasn't good for her. Being able to deliver the way she did anyway shows what a great attitude she has. It doesn't feel like any of the opponents scare us off and I think she has a chance. But we'll race her conservatively this time and she's not more than a long shot this time"
"We want to put eight to ten starts in her before she gets her next time off followed by some tougher training again. She will race with shoes and a blind bridle like before" says Anna Österberg who looks ahead to another V75 start with a leg of Diamantstoet at Gävle on May 19th.
Gets worked in the riding arena
She's still not more than 156 centimeters tall, but a lot stockier than when she arrived. Anna Österberg claims Divine has already gotten stronger since winning V75 at Romme in January.
"There's a big difference compared to this past winter and I feel she's got more progress within herself. I work her a lot in the riding arena and it's a ten minjute walk there from our farm and she has gotten stronger and better physically. Right away when she arrived I started working on the way she walks and to loosen her up so she would extend her stride and get a longer reach"
Divine gets her conventional training with Kai at Taxinge and between them she does dressage.
It's very exciting to see how far she can go now when she's gotten schooled in to being ridden. I'm sure not too many trotters and getting this type of training and I'm anxious to see how it works. I sometimes forget that she's a racehorse! Since I'm new in the racing game, I didn't think trotters could respond so well to this type of training" says Anna Österberg.