Stall tips for local politicians

Gender equality in sport can be encouraged and accommodated in different ways. One way is to allocate playing and training time for women's teams in traditionally male-dominated sports arenas, such as football and hockey - sports that receive a lot of media attention and public resources.

Another way is to look at the conditions for the sports that have long been the focus of girls' interest. What are the conditions for "hanging around the stables" as many girls do? Is equestrianism as elitist and expensive as it is often portrayed, compared to, for example, ice hockey? Because when you see how resources are actually distributed, you can't believe that equestrian sport is Sweden's second largest youth sport after football.

Mats Molén, an architect at FOJAB arkitekter specializing in horse facilities, describes the situation as follows:

- The 450 riding schools in Sweden have been run as non-profit associations for several decades. Therefore, the buildings have been of low quality from the start, and they have suffered a lot of wear and tear over the years. Operating subsidies from the municipalities and income from lessons do not cover the costs by far - let alone new investments. This has come to the attention of the Equestrian Federation, which is responsible for control and quality assurance of animal welfare and work environment. The requirements are regulated by legislation and a regulatory framework, which is also largely neglected and outdated.

Within the framework of the Swedish Equestrian Federation's future project "Riding School 2025", an interdisciplinary expert group was set up, including Mats Molén. The aim was to increase knowledge about functional and sustainable equestrian facilities for both horses and people. It publishes an online guide with practical advice and examples of how to develop and build new facilities in a good way, organizes conferences and seminars, and promotes the issue of renewed legislation.

- The municipalities want to invest more in this - many realize that horse riding is a sport that has long been neglected. Equestrian sports are really for everyone, regardless of gender, age and physical conditions. There is a great health potential in contact with the horse, which is also used today for both physical and mental rehab. Therefore, it is important that the municipalities are active in the issue, so that the riding schools are given the opportunity to broaden their activities towards the public, says Mats Molén.

The City of Malmö is a pioneer. It took the decision to invest SEK 120 million in riding clubs, and has since taken over responsibility for all riding schools in the municipality.

In Klagshamn in southern Malmö, a new riding hall designed by Mats Molén is now ready. It is a building characterized by obvious simplicity, reduced material handling and innovative thinking. With a lifelong commitment and extensive knowledge of equestrian sport and its architecture, he sees this as the result of work on several different levels. In the design of Klagshamn's riding hall, the accumulated knowledge has been put into practice.

- The architecture of riding stables has its own unique challenges. The scale of the horse and the fact that the riding arena is constantly supplied with moisture that needs to be removed are examples of this. Instead of a complicated and costly ventilation system, we have therefore worked with a perforated sheet metal facade. The facade has a 30% hole area and the holes are small enough to allow ventilation without wind. They let in soft daylight and in the evening the building glows in a welcoming way.

The scale of the building is that of the horse, and the heated area is reduced to internal volume-efficient boxes for humans. It includes a restaurant, overlooking the L-shaped riding arena, which can be divided in different ways according to needs.

Klagshamn's riding hall is characterized by clear and sober priorities. For Mats Molén, simplicity and resource management are important, but this is not a matter of dull pragmatism. There is also a clear aesthetic position, born of many years of work with agricultural buildings.