I love horses and have done so all my life. If I get the question, do you ride, I answer immediately yes, even though I haven’t ridden regularly for over 20 years.

But for nearly 15 years, I’ve spent as much time as I could in the stable. The only problem is that for me, horses are like an addiction – there’s that constant attraction. At least five hours in the stable every day is a bit difficult to combine with a full-time job, children who need to be driven to school and activities, cooking, homework, conversations with my husband and everything else that a family needs. 

But the horses’ attraction is strong. I recently had the privilege of attending one of Stena’s leadership modules that included horses, and I was reminded of how much I love those beautiful animals. After two days of training with five horses, it felt perfectly reasonable to stuff at least two of the horses in my bag or steal a truck and drive home with my new friends. 

What is it that makes horses so irresistible? For me, it has never been about the competitions or the prizes. It’s been about the contact with the horses and the joy of being with these animals that require our presence and show their trust in return. Happiness has been in carrying out the various horse-related chores and in just being with the horses. Putting in so much time and energy and then seeing a happy horse or getting a kiss from a warm mule makes it all worthwhile. 

You can find the same joy in doing those little things that need to be attended to on the way to completing a job. When I work with things I’m passionate about, when I am surrounded by colleagues who support and challenge me, and when we work together to be better than we thought we could. That’s when I can find myself taking a few leaps of joy in the corridors and getting that same wonderful feeling as after a perfect turn on the haunches in a dressage training session. I think that if we can find that joy in being together and doing things together, we can achieve so much more. And I believe we can learn from the trust and unconditional love horses show us when we are honest and present.

Disa Hammarskjöld

Head of Business performance & strategy, Stena Rederi AB


Stena AB

Stena AB // March 10, 2023

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