What does this mean?
"I will be the director of the Riding Institution at Uppsala University. The job includes developing and managing the organisation and, together with the master of the academic stables, selecting scholarship recipients. Furthermore, I will follow and participate in various equestrian events organised by the Upsala Akademiska Ridklubb and be the contact person for students and employees in matters concerning equestrian sports and more."

Why does the University have a riding institution?
"It was probably Gustav II Adolf and Queen Kristina who wanted students to be educated in exercitia, the disciplines of language, fencing, dance, music, drawing and riding, rather than being forced to seek such training abroad,” says Jonas Bergquist. “The riding institution was officially established in 1663 by Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie. It is the second oldest riding institution in the world. Together with Olof Rudbeck, he had the Exercitia House built where the University Main Building stands today. The riding institution has moved to the Academic Stables in Kvarnbo.”

But what purpose does our riding institution serve in modern times?
"Its main task is to promote and make equestrian sport accessible to students and employees,” says Jonas Bergquist. Each year we award 20 scholarships to talented students and a student horseriding prize. We also provide support to the academic riding school in horse purchases, to Upsala Akademiska Ridklubb in annual taster riding sessions and at national and international dressage and jumping competitions.

The role, constituting three per cent of employment time, is limited to two years, but one can be reappointed. Jonas Bergquist takes over the position from Marianne Andersson, who has been inspector since 1992.

Not just anyone can assume this prestigious position. In addition to being employed at Uppsala University and having an academic education or degree, you must have a good knowledge of equestrian sports and be an active rider. The director must have good judgement, be flexible and humble and a good coach.

Are you able to manage so much in addition to being an active rider as well as a professor?
"Most of my research is devoted to understanding the chemistry of the brain," says Jonas Bergquist. “It is important to stimulate the brain throughout life. This can be done by learning new things, preferably combining mental and physical activities. I myself think that active equestrianism fits perfectly. When I was asked if I was interested in applying for this position, I did not hesitate. This stimulating and important role has a long and noble tradition that I would like to carry on.

How do you want to develop the organisation?
"During the pandemic, activities were cancelled," says Jonas Bergquist, "and I hope that we will be able to resume them. I would also like to explore the possibility of organising, in consultation with the master of the academic stables, some clinics (specific training sessions), lectures, study visits, etc. I want to reach out to groups within and beyond the University who might otherwise have difficulty experiencing the wonders of horses.