Andreas Helgstrand was born in 1977 to Ulf Helgstrand and his wife. His father became president of the Danish Equestrian Federation. Andreas started competitive riding aged 7 or 8, competing initially in showjumping. At the age of 17, he started training as a riding master in 1994 at the Sport Riding Club in Aalborg. He passed the final exams in 2000.
He has since worked as a horse trainer, riding instructor, and horse trader; first in the Netherlands with Anne van Olst, then in Kongsberg in Norway, before replacing Lars Petersen at the Blue Hors stud in Randboel, Denmark. At the 2004 Olympics, riding Cavan, Helgstrand came in ninth in the individual and fifth in the team. He finished fourth in the 2004 poll for Danish sportsperson of the year.
At the 2006 World Equestrian Games, riding the mare Matiné, Helgstrand came in second in the Individual freestyle and third in the individual special. Eurodressage's report of the tournament called him "the favourite of the crowd" and said he "seemed to have redefined piaffe and passage". A video of this performance (to the hip-hop song "No Mo" by Red Astaire) has circulated widely on YouTube, being seen over 5 million times.
Helgstrand withdrew from the 2007 Dressage World Cup finals in Las Vegas when Matiné twisted her left front pastern on arrival while getting out of the van. She was retired from competition in the months afterward, as she was unable to recover from the injury. In 2010 she had to be euthanised after breaking a leg in the pasture.
In 2008, Helgstrand won his fourth consecutive Danish dressage championship, on his fourth horse (Don Schufro, after Cavan, Matiné and Casmir). At the 2008 Olympics, riding Don Schufro, he came in eleventh in the individual and third in the team.
At the end of 2008 Helgstrand left the Blue Hors stud to start his own business, which he named Helgstrand Dressage, at Møgelmosegård near Aalborg.
In 2010 Helgstrand rode Uno Donna Unique to victory in the 6-year-old class at the 2010 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses. In 2013 Helgstrand became embroiled in a dispute regarding the sale of Uno Donna Unique. In the same year, he came under extensive media fire regarding controversial photographs taken of him riding his horse in the disputed rollkur technique.
Helgstrand was shortlisted for the Danish dressage team for the 2012 Olympics, but was not selected.
In April 2014 Helgstrand was under scrutiny for animal cruelty due to alleged harsh, illegal and cruel training methods. The Danish animal protection service summoned him for a meeting. Several of the big Danish newspapers were running stories with photographs from a recent event where his horse Foldagers Akeem was bleeding and had a blue tongue. On November 28 2014, the court in Aalborg announced an acquittal verdict in the case against Helgstrand, acquitting him of all charges. ”I am very happy about the ruling of the court; it is important for me personally, but also for the sport in general. It has been quite tough to have these accusations hovering, but my family and I are now focusing on the future instead," said Helgstrand.