Tag Archives: Steve Guerdat

Sport Is about Adapting to Every Situation: Steve Guerdat

Guerdat with Corbinian at Gothenburg (SWE) in 2016. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

He could be forgiven for being down in the dumps right now. His chance of becoming the first-ever four-time FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion blown out of the water and no opportunity to chase down a second individual Olympic gold medal this year either. All sport has ground to a halt and his personal life has also been affected because his wedding to fiancée, Fanny Skalli, which was planned for next month, has also been postponed for the foreseeable future due to the pandemic.

It doesn’t sound like a recipe for a good mood, but the man who has been holding court at the top of the Longines Rankings for 14 of the last 15 months is staying positive.

Halfway through our interview April 17, Swiss star Steve Guerdat put the current situation into perspective with his trademark passion.

“Nobody talks about the millions of kids around the world who don’t have clean water to drink, and are dying of hunger every single day. We only think about how am I going to get to the shows, how am I going to pay for my Mercedes, how am I going to buy my new car and buy my new truck and buy my new horse. The poor face a crisis every day of their lives. Now we in the rich countries have to face this problem, but there is no reason to be afraid. It’s an experience, and for once it’s the same for everyone. So we have to look forward and maybe think about doing things differently – but there will be a way out of it,” he says.

Heroes

Our Q&A interview began simply: Who were your heroes when you were a child? Steve doesn’t hesitate in answering…

“Michael Jordan (the world-famous basketball star who made several memorable come-backs during his extraordinary career). I’ve always been a sports fanatic, and his story is an inspiration. Normally a superstar is really good over a short period of time, but with him you were never disappointed (each time he made a come-back). It was like a lesson of life and sport, about not giving up, and as a kid he was someone I was crazy about.

“As a rider my hero has always been John Whitaker. I like him for much the same reasons. With John everything is easy. I think he doesn’t even know what he’s achieving because he does everything so naturally. Horses respond to him and it’s just natural for him to ride and win in a very natural way with a completely natural attitude. That inspires me as a rider,” Steve explains.

It takes him a bit longer to reply to the next question though. So what’s it like to be the hero now yourself? There’s a bit of a silence. I can imagine him shifting from foot to foot; he’s clearly not comfortable with this one….

“I really don’t feel like that; I don’t see myself as really good. I trust what I do but I still have so often the feeling that I am so bad at it, so many mistakes, so many things I’d like to do so much better. I’m not even thinking about being a hero, being someone who inspires other riders….”

So I say, “But so many people look at you and say, ‘Gosh, if only I could ever be as good as Steve,’” but he quickly comes back with “Well for sure they can, because I could get so much better!”

Influences

We move on to the person who has influenced him most, and his response is instant….

“My dad (Philippe Guerdat). He was never pushing himself forward, always letting me be free to do what I want and that’s why I respect him so much. In the sport he was the most influential person since day one. And of course in recent years Thomas Fuchs has also been an influence on my career.”

Who is in your support crew?

“My longtime grooms Heidi and Emma, my rider Anthony, we have 10 people at home and they are also very important to me. My family, from my parents to my cousins, and I have a close relationship with my owners too. The blacksmith and the vet – there are so many people and they don’t just work with me and support me; they are also my friends. And of course now for a few years I have my girlfriend, who will be my wife soon, so I’m very lucky in the situation I am in, to have so many great people around me.”

Why do you enjoy being around horses?

“Because they give so much and they don’t ask for anything back. We try to give them as much back as we can, but they are not asking for it! They are so loyal, and they never cheat on you.”

What do you like least about horses – all the hard work? This question provokes a tone of outrage….

“It’s not work! If you think it’s work, then you are doing the wrong job! Maybe a groom can say that, but definitely not a professional rider – what we have is an amazing life. It takes a lot of time, but it’s very far away from being hard work!”

Horses

Which of all the horses you’ve ridden was/is the one you’ve loved the most? Not the slightest hesitation here as his tone becomes much softer….

“Jalisca, because she’s basically the horse that made the biggest step in my career. I don’t want to say she saved me – I was riding, I was healthy, but I was in a complete hole in my sporting career when that mare brought me into the spotlight, winning the Cup in Geneva (in December 2010) and giving all the time 200% for me. She was the kindest horse you would ever find. She was always there fighting for me; she was the best horse that has ever been around for me!” he says.

Is there a horse that you didn’t like at all?

“I’d be lying if I said I’ve never been frustrated with a horse. But the truth is as soon as I’d be annoyed I’d be thinking no, it’s you that’s to blame, you made the mistake of having too high hopes for this horse, or you didn’t educate it the right way, or you put too much pressure on it or, or, or… in the end if a horse doesn’t work out it’s only yourself to blame. It could be riding wrong, or buying wrong and having the wrong expectations of the horse who couldn’t do what you would like him to do. It’s not his fault; we are all born with some qualities – there are some things you can do and some things you cannot do so well – but there is only so much any of us can do.”

Is there a horse that you would love to ride?

“No, because I already rode the best horse in the history of showjumping, Tepic La Silla! I only rode him for three or four months and I won my first medal in the European Championships in Donaueschingen (GER) in 2003 and a couple of Grand Prix. He was a horse from Alfonso Romo and I would have liked to have him longer, but I feel privileged I could ride him in just a few shows because he was unbelievable. He had absolutely everything. For me he was the very best!”

The horse who gave you his personal best? Steve laughs as he replies, “Nino, and he’s standing right in front of me!” Now 19 years old, the gelding that helped him to individual Olympic glory in London in 2012 is in happy retirement at Steve’s lovely farm at Elgg in Switzerland. “What was so good about him is that when I wanted to be clear I was clear 95% of the time. We also had some bad rounds, but from the time I really figured him out we had very few fences down. I didn’t jump him a lot, but most of the time he was double-clear in Grand Prix,” he says fondly.

Friendships

Your strongest friendships in the sport?

“I don’t have many, but the ones I have are very, very close. Alain Jufer, he was on the team in Calgary when we won (first-ever Swiss Nations Cup victory at Spruce Meadows in 2016). We grew up together, and started riding together as kids. Gregory Wathelet, for 15 or 20 years now, same with Daniel Etter and I could mention Eric Lamaze as well. They are my closest friends. I can’t say why; they are all very different people and came into my life at different times; they are good friends and get along together very well but it’s not that they are each best friends with the other – they are just people I know I can rely on, and they know it’s the same the other way around.”

Cares and worries?

“My biggest worry right now is I employ 10 people who’ve been with me a long time. They’re not just employees but friends and part of the family, and I want to have them around me. But I know that if I can’t keep some of them, they will find another job and they will survive as well. Two or three times in my life I’ve had to start from nothing and I’ve no problem with doing it again. I’m not worried that tomorrow I have to muck out myself and drive the truck and work more, because I love what I do. When you like what you do the only motivation is not just adding more and more money; it’s about enjoying life with your friends and family.”

One silly thing you’ve done during your working life?

“Maybe the first show I did when working for Tops… there was a show in a place called Heikant and I drove the truck for about three hours with the groom and eight horses, but when we arrived we couldn’t find the showgrounds. There was no navigation system in those days, and we drove around for a long time before I realised that I’d taken us to Heikant in Belgium, and the show was in Heikant in Holland! Luckily, it wasn’t too far, maybe another two hours’ drive, and we only missed a couple of classes!”

How are you feeling about the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games?

“It changes things for sure; it will be one year later and we don’t know what will happen between now and then. Horses will be one year older, but some that would have been too young this year will be ready for it. It’s different to anything we’ve faced before, but this is what sport is about. You have to be able to adapt to many different situations and make the best of it. There’s nothing we can do about it, and it was the right decision to move it. We’ll deal with this, and somehow we will move on.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Guerdat Raises the Roof with Brilliant Win in Bordeaux

Steve Guerdat with Victorio des Frotard. (FEI/Richard Julliart)

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat left spectators aghast with his brilliant victory in the 13th leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League at Bordeaux in France.

Riding the fiery chestnut gelding Victorio des Frotard, with which he also posted a superb win in Basel (SUI) as the New Year began, he produced a full-on fearless round in the nine-horse jump-off and couldn’t be caught, despite the best efforts of German runners-up Daniel Deusser and Jasmien v. Bisschop and third-placed Belgian Niels Bruynseels with Ilusionata van’t Meulenhof.

The man who held the World No. 1 spot throughout all of 2019, and who reclaimed it this month after compatriot Martin Fuchs snatched it from his grasp in January, can hardly do wrong right now. Everything came up beautifully for the Swiss star and for the brave Victorio whose confidence seems to be growing with every outing. The horse’s gallop down to the final fence was nothing short of breathtaking, and Victorio is turning out to be quite some find for the London 2012 Olympic Games and three-time Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion.

“He’s like a thoroughbred when you see him trotting around – you don’t expect much – but in canter as soon as you let him go, he has a huge stride! He’s feeling really good now, and this gives me the confidence to push and attack the fences even more,” he said of the horse who he has been riding since the middle of last year.

There were 10 French contenders amongst the 38 starters to take on Jean-Francois Morand’s 14-fence first-round track, but only one of the home runners, Rio 2016 Olympic team gold medallist and 2013 individual European champion Roger Yves Bost, jumped clear to make the cut into the second-round race against the clock. And the home crowd went wild when, second to go, he set the early jump-off target with another brilliant performance from his faithful 14-year-old mare Sangria du Coty, who broke the beam in 32.96 seconds.

Two horses later, Portugal’s Luciana Diniz decided to play the percentage game with a beautifully executed but careful clear from the powerful 13-year-old stallion Chacco Blue ll in 39.08 seconds. But, sixth into the ring, Stuttgart winner Pieter Devos went out in front with a great run from Apart in 32.23 seconds and now the Belgian rider’s time was the one to beat.

Guerdat did it easily, Victorio answering every call on every turn and jumping like a cat over the double at the halfway stage of the track. And when the Swiss pair landed over the penultimate vertical and Guerdat asked for acceleration, he got everything he asked for and more. The clock showed 30.82 seconds as they cleared the line, and that really put it up to the last two into the ring.

Deusser wasn’t intimidated and slotted into runner-up spot when breaking the beam with his 11-year-old grey mare Jasmien in 31.59, and then Bruynseels was last to try to nudge Guerdat out of pole position. But despite a great run from his 12-year-old chestnut mare, who looked ready to gallop from the second she came into the ring, their time of 31.71 would only be good enough for third place on a night of truly quality sport.

Talking about Ilusionata, Bruynseels said, “I have her a year and it took time to get to know her. She has a lot of blood and she’s a very special character! Her previous rider told me that he never warmed her up at shows. I tried at the first show where we competed but after two minutes I had to get off! At home she is great to work but at shows she is completely different. Here in Bordeaux is great because we can lunge and ride back at the stables. I only get on her one or two riders before my turn,” he explained.

Deusser confirmed that he is planning to bring Jasmien to the Longines 2020 Final in Las Vegas, USA in April. He’s well-qualified, lying fifth on the Western European League table after his impressive performance. Guerdat still intends to bring Venard de Cerisy to the Final despite all the good results he has had recently with Victorio. “I want to stick with my original plan,” said the man who is bidding to become the first-ever rider to win four World Cup titles.

He won the 2019 Final with Alamo, but last month the horse returned to his Mexican owner and will in future compete with Gerardo Pasquel Mendez in the saddle. Talking about the horse,he started competing in the autumn of 2017, Guerdat said, “Alamo had a big place in our team and was part of our family, but from the beginning I knew he would go back to Gerardo. He was supposed to leave us a year ago, so we got an extra year and that was great. It’s hard to separate from him but I’m happy that I know where he is and I know his groom and rider, that always makes it a little bit easier – but we do miss him!”

The defending champion won’t be lining out in the 14th and last leg of the Western European League in Gothenburg, Sweden in two weeks’ time, but the pressure there will still be immense, with those last elusive qualifying points up for grabs and a lot of hungry riders chasing them down.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Guerdat Jumps Back to Top of Longines World Rankings

Photo: Steve Guerdat (SUI) with Victorio des Frotards. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Steve Guerdat (SUI), Olympic gold medallist and three-time Longines FEI World Cup™ champion, has regained the number one spot in the Longines World Rankings.

The 37-year-old, who topped the leaderboard throughout 2019, had slipped back one place last month below compatriot Martin Fuchs. Guerdat, is now back at the top of the elite list with 3,497 points after claiming victory with Victorio des Frotards in a spectacular win on home turf in Basel (SUI) in mid-January. He is 74 points ahead of Fuchs (SUI) who now sits in second place on 3,423 points.

Guerdat, who also leads the Longines FEI World Cup™ standings, has another major victory in his sights as he looks ahead to the Finals in Las Vegas (USA) in April. As a three-time winner and defending champion, another success will put him in the history books as the first athlete to claim a fourth win since FEI World Cup™ Jumping began back in 1978.

Germany’s Daniel Deusser remains third in the rankings just 29 points adrift of Fuchs, with Ben Maher (GBR) holding onto fourth on 2,988 points.

Peder Fredricson (SWE), Pieter Devos (BEL), Beezie Madden (USA), Darragh Kenny (IRL), Kent Farrington (USA), and Christian Alhmann (GER) complete the top 10 this month.

View the complete Longines Rankings here.

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Super Steve Guerdat Posts Swiss Victory at Basel

Steve Guerdat with Victorio des Frotards. (FEI/Richard Juillart)

In the 90th World Cup competition of his spectacular career, three-time series champion Steve Guerdat galloped to victory with Victorio des Frotards in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League qualifier on home ground at Basel in Switzerland.

Despite a tough first-round test from ace German course designer Frank Rothenberger, this tenth leg of the league saw 15 of the 40 starters make the cut into the jump-off so it was never going to be an easy one to win. But the man who claimed individual Olympic gold in 2012 and his third World Cup title in Gothenburg (SWE) last season left the rest in his wake, with Frenchman Julien Epaillard coming closest for runner-up spot with Queeletta ahead of Belgium’s Pieter Devos and Apart in third.

This success meant a lot to Guerdat who, as 2020 began, slipped just one place from the No 1 spot he held in the world rankings throughout 2019. He was clearly delighted as he kissed his French fiancée Fanny Skalli and their French bulldog, Crapule, with equal enthusiasm when he saw the result go up on the scoreboard.

“It’s special for a whole combination of reasons – a win close to home at a show that has never been good for me before. I never won or placed in the main classes here, so I wasn’t expecting much, but on Friday we had an amazing win in the Grand Prix. I wasn’t sure about running Victorio again today, but he was really fresh, so to end up winning makes it super and he was brilliant in the jump-off!” — Steve Guerdat (SUI)

The St. Jakobshalle Stadium was packed to capacity as the action got underway with nine flying the home flag. Just three of them qualified for the second-round decider including Jane Richard-Philips who led the way against the clock with just a single mistake when taking a brick out of the wall, now first on the track, with her game 12-year-old Clipper du Haut du Roy.

Third to go, Ireland’s Mark McAuley and Vivaldi du Theil posted the first clear in 33.52 seconds only to be overtaken by Germany’s Hans-Dieter Dreher and Prinz who stopped the clock on 33.30. Kevin Staut, one of four French contenders in the closing stages, was hampered by a jink from Viking d’La Rousserie coming down to the opening wall but matched McAuley’s time. However, Guerdat, eighth to go, blew the whole class wide open when going into the lead in 31.44 seconds despite tapping a few poles along the way.

Ireland’s Denis Lynch, who officially retired the great All Star V on Thursday, produced a lovely smooth round from GC Chopin’s Bushi with which he had claimed runner-up spot in Friday’s Longines Grand Prix. But their time of 33.27 seconds was immediately bettered by Germany’s Marcus Ehning who slotted into second place with Cornado NRW when crossing the line in 32.90.

It was still far from over as French rider Julien Epaillard ousted Ehning when breaking the beam with Queeletta in 31.94 with three really strong partnerships still left to go. Great Britain’s Scott Brash, winner of the Verona (ITA) leg in November, set off with his trademark determination but his angled turn to the vertical that was third on the track this time out came up all wrong, and Hello Senator put down in front of the fence for an uncharacteristic refusal. Second-last was Pieter Devos with the super-fast Apart, but their time of 32.41 would only prove good enough for third while, last in, Belgian compatriot Niels Bruynseels and Delux van T & L left one on the floor. Guerdat had it in the bag and was really pleased with his winning ride.

“I bought Victorio with two friends last year in May/June and we took a while to get to know each other but I always believed he had something more to give. He won a lot at 2 and 3-Star level but we’ve had our ups and downs and at one stage I wondered if he would go all the way. However, he was good in Stuttgart (in November) and he really started to give me a super feeling after that over the winter, so when my best horses went for a break I asked him to step up and we got more confidence together.”

The feisty Victorio doesn’t look like the easiest ride but, being a true horseman, Guerdat is allowing the gelding the freedom to be what he is, rather than what he might like him to be.

“He used to be like this when winning in France. I thought I could make him smoother but it didn’t work out, so I realised I needed to trust him more and let him do it his way, then he’s happy!” pointed out the Swiss star who now has another string to his bow when deciding which of his top rides he will take as he chases down his fourth title at the Longines 2020 Final in a few months’ time.

“Venard (de Cerisy) would normally be my first choice but now this horse is another option,” he said.

Just four Western European League qualifiers are left to go, the next taking place in Leipzig (GER) next Sunday, 19 January.

Watch highlights here: https://youtu.be/jF85cTFjp7s.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Swiss Olympian Martin Fuchs Launches into 2020 as World Number One

Martin Fuchs and The Sinner. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Olympic athlete Martin Fuchs (SUI) has moved to the top of the Longines Rankings for the first time in his career, overtaking compatriot Steve Guerdat who held the number one position for a year.

Martin Fuchs (27), now out in front with 3,483 points, has been hot on the heels of Guerdat since August last year and finished 2019 with a string of inspirational performances including his impressive Grand Prix victory on home turf at the CSI5* at Geneva and, a week later, taking the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ leg at Olympia in December, 29 years after his father Thomas won at the London venue.

“It’s fantastic, really great, but I must say that my biggest success as number one doesn’t reflect just one show or one event. It’s a combination of everything,” Martin Fuchs said. “It’s really nice after such a great year in 2019 to start 2020 as the world number one. I am so proud and so fortunate at this young age to be able to have such success already and I am looking forward to a great year ahead.”

Fuchs’ first major victory was team gold at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010, and he went on to make his senior Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games with his brilliant grey gelding Clooney 51.

Fuchs has achieved podium finishes at the last three major Championships, including individual silver at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon (USA) and helping the Swiss team to fourth to earn a team quota place at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Games.

He finished as runner-up to Guerdat at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg (SWE) in April and was crowned European Champion together with his faithful partner Clooney 51 at the Longines FEI Jumping European Championships in Rotterdam in August, becoming the sixth Swiss Jumping athlete in the 62-year history of the event to claim individual gold.

Other important results for the Swiss athlete include victory at the 10th leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League at Basel (SUI) and at the third leg of the 2019/2020 season in Lyon, both of them with Clooney 51, while Chaplin was his Grand Prix winning co-star at the CSI5* GCT/GCL n Madrid (ESP) in May and in Cascais, Estoril (POR) the following month.

After his Olympia triumph with The Sinner, Fuchs moved up to fourth on the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ leaderboard to book his ticket for the 2020 Final in Las Vegas (USA) next April.

Five athletes have maintained their positions in the top 10, with Daniel Deusser (GER) remaining third, Ben Maher (GBR) fourth, Beezie Madden (USA) seventh, Darragh Kenny (IRL) eighth, and Henrik Von Eckermann (SWE) 10th. Peder Fredrickson (SWE) has moved to fifth after overtaking Pieter Devos (BEL), while Kent Farrington (USA) was the new entry in the top 10, moving up from 11th to ninth.

About Martin Fuchs

Martin Fuchs’ early results in international competitions demonstrated that a new star was born in Jumping, as he finished second at the FEI Jumping European Championship for Children in Istanbul (TUR) in 2006 with Vasco IV and third for two consecutive years at the FEI Jumping European Championship for Juniors in Auvers (FRA) in 2007 and in Praha (CZE) in 2008 with Karin II CH.

After competing in numerous international events, he won team gold at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games and, six years later, was a member of the Swiss team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where he was ninth in the individual standings and his team sixth.

Other remarkable moments in his career were individual silver with Clooney 51 at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and second place at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Final 2019 in Gothenburg (SWE).

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Riders to Watch in Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva

Photo: Rolex / Kit Houghton.

From 12-15 December 2019, show jumping fans will travel to Switzerland for what is widely regarded as the world’s greatest indoor competition, CHI Geneva. The event, which spans four days, marks the final Major of the year and will welcome the world’s best equestrian combinations. Each rider will compete in front of around 42,000 people at Palexpo, the biggest indoor jumping arena in the world, as they seek to gain show jumping’s highest honors.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch

Visitors attending the 2019 edition of CHI Geneva will witness world-class equestrian action at an event that has been voted the world’s best show jumping competition nine times. With several of the world’s most prolific horse-and-rider combinations set to compete, there will be numerous contenders vying to be crowned the next Rolex Grand Slam live contender, further adding to the hype of the highly anticipated event.

One of the favorites to claim this year’s title is legendary Swiss rider and World No. 1, Steve Guerdat. The Rolex Testimonee has built up a great run of form this season after winning the ‘Pan American’ Grand Prix presented by Rolex in Spruce Meadows this summer and finishing second in the 2019 Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in March. Already a three-time winner of Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, Guerdat will be eager to impress once more in front of a vibrant home crowd.

American rider Kent Farrington sits just outside of the world’s top 10 but has already established himself as one of the best riders in the world after magnificently winning the 2019 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen with his outstanding mare Gazelle. The Rolex Testimonee has been on fine form this season, making him a prime contender for the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva title, which he previously claimed back in 2017.

Never far from success is Germany’s Daniel Deusser, who currently sits at third in the Jumping World Rankings. Given his recent form, including a second-place finish in the 2019 Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen back in July, Deusser is expected to be one of the top performers at this year’s event in Geneva.

Current World No. 2, Martin Fuchs, is another rider who will be looking to secure the Major win in his native Switzerland. The young rider has already achieved much success in his career, including a silver medal in the Individual Jumping at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™, and is the current European Champion. Fuchs’ recent results have helped the 26-year-old establish himself as one of the world’s very best competitors, so there will be a high level of expectation for him to finish off the year with his first Rolex Grand Prix title.

A field of 40 combinations will battle it out in the hope of seizing the final Major victory of the year in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping at CHI Geneva, which promises to be a weekend of enormous competition starting on December 12th.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Guerdat, Fuchs, Deusser Top Entry Lists as 7 of World’s Top 10 Head to Olympia

Seven of the world’s top ten show jumpers are set to compete at this year’s edition of Olympia, The London International Horse Show, taking place from 16-22 December 2019. The confirmed line-up will ensure a week of world-class competition, providing unmissable sport and entertainment to the 90,000 spectators due to attend.

World No. 1 Steve Guerdat will be returning to London, the scene of his 2012 Olympic individual gold medal, looking to ride out a spectacular season on a high. He will be joined by his Swiss compatriot, Martin Fuchs, the current World No. 2 and reigning individual European Champion.

Germany will also be sending a strong contingent, headed by World No. 3 Daniel Deusser, a recent winner at the CSI5* in Prague, alongside Christian Ahlmann, currently ranked ninth in the world and always a consistent performer at Olympia.  Adding to the German line-up is show jumping legend Marcus Ehning, who will be vying for a victory to round off a successful 2019 season.

From Belgium will be World No. 6 Pieter Devos, who is sure to mount a strong challenge following his recent victory in the FEI Jumping World Cup of Stuttgart. He will be joined by his 2019 European Championship gold medal winning teammate Jos Verlooy, along with Niels Bruynseels and Olivier Philippaerts. Flying the flag for the USA is FEI World Equestrians Games™ team gold medalist, Laura Kraut.

Following William Whitaker’s outstanding victory in last year’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup at Olympia, British hopes will remain high for the 2019 Show, as a strong home contingent are set to take their place in the starting line-up.

Current World No. 4, Ben Maher, will be seeking to crown an exceptional year with success at Olympia, having already secured numerous 5* Grand Prix victories in 2019, as well as an individual silver medal at the FEI European Championships. Hot on his heels will be his London 2012 Olympic gold medal winning teammate Scott Brash, fresh from victory in the FEI Jumping World Cup in Verona in November.

Robert Whitaker, a winner at Olympia in 2018, is another to come to this year’s Show high in confidence following his FEI Jumping World Cup victory in Helsinki. He will be joined by Holly Smith, a member of the 2019 European Championship bronze medal winning team which secured Great Britain their ticket for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Guy Williams will be returning to Olympia looking to retain his Cayenne Puissance title, following a thrilling five-round contest in 2018 saw him finish equal first. Williams, notorious for his speed against the clock, will be sure to have the home crowd on their feet throughout the week, as he takes on old rivals William Funnell and Laura Renwick, both of whom are also renowned for their speed and agility.

Young riders Emily Moffitt, Amy Inglis, Harry Charles, and James Wilson round off the British contingent. All three come off the back of a strong 2019 season, which has included representing Great Britain at senior level in FEI Nations Cups throughout the season.

The complete list of Show Jumpers set to compete at the Show can be found here.

Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, said: “We’ve received an outstanding list of entries for Olympia, and are very much looking forward to welcoming the world’s best to the Show for what is set to be another fantastic competition. It’s rare for British fans to have the opportunity to witness so many quality athletes under one roof and we’re really excited to see how the action unfolds.”

To purchase tickets for Olympia, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Guerdat Heads Sparkling Line-Up for Western European League Opener in Oslo

Steve Guerdat. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

14 qualifiers in 11 countries en route to Las Vegas Final

Testament to the perennial attraction of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ series, World No. 1, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, has signed up for the opening leg of the new Western European League qualifying season which kicks off in Oslo, Norway this weekend. The man who has topped the Longines world rankings since the beginning of 2019 has an extraordinary record in the series, and this season he has history in his sights. He is a three-time winner, and if he can add a fourth victory, he will be the first rider ever to do so since FEI World Cup™ Jumping began back in 1978.

As defending champion, he is automatically qualified for the 2020 Final which returns to Las Vegas, USA next April, and this is a place that holds great memories for him. Because it was here, at the Thomas & Mack Centre, that he secured his first title in 2015. Guerdat thrives on the tension and excitement created by the close confines of indoor jumping in which speed, accuracy and a mutual understanding between horse and rider are tested to the limit.

Spectators are in for a real treat, as the London 2012 individual Olympic champion has already committed himself to lining out at all of the early-season qualifiers.

Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr. and the Philippaerts brothers Olivier and Thibault are also travelling north for the Oslo opener at which the host nation’s Gulliksen family of father Geir and son and daughter Johan-Sebastian and Victoria will be flying the Norwegian flag. Heading up a strong Swedish selection will be 2017 European champion Peder Fredricson, along with Henrik von Eckermann who stood on the third step of the podium at the Finals in both Omaha (USA) in 2017 and Paris (FRA) in 2018.

French star, Kevin Staut, is always a consistent campaigner in this series and will be joined by compatriot Olivier Robert. Fresh from the brilliant performance that saw them clinch the Challenge Cup for the hosts from Spain at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona earlier this month, Sergio Alvarez Moya and the exciting Jet Run will also be in action.

A total of 40 horse-and-rider combinations from 18 countries will compete at this first of the 14 legs that will be staged in 11 countries, as riders battle for one of the 18 qualifying spots on offer. It’s a hectic calendar of events, with Helsinki (FIN) hosting the next round a week later and Lyon (FRA), Verona (ITA), and Stuttgart (GER) following in November. Spain then hosts two legs, in Madrid and La Coruna, in early December before the action moves on to London Olympia (GBR) just before Christmas and then to Mechelen (BEL) immediately afterwards.

As the new year begins there will be still five more legs to go, beginning with Basel (SUI), Leipzig (GER), and Amsterdam (NED) in January and then on to Bordeaux (FRA) and finally Gothenburg (SWE) in February. Just over a month later horses will fly out to the USA for the Final which is always guaranteed to be a thriller.

While Guerdat may be the headliner this weekend, his compatriot Martin Fuchs is bound to be a show-stealer when he rocks up the following week. The 27-year-old chased Guerdat all the way to the line when finishing second at the 2019 Final in Gothenburg, and having followed his individual silver medal success at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ with individual gold at this summer’s FEI European Championships, this is a young man on fire.

He has committed himself to competing at Helsinki, Lyon, Verona, and Stuttgart, so he also clearly has his sights set on adding his name to the list of legends who have won the indoor trophy they all want to claim – the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup.

Masterlist for Leg 1, Oslo here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Guerdat Shows Nerves of Steel to Seal His Third Title

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (centre) celebrates in style with his compatriot and runner-up Martin Fuchs (left) and third-placed Peder Fredricson from Sweden (right). (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (36) showed exactly why he is the No. 1 rider in the world right now when holding his nerve under the most intense pressure to take the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019 title at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg (SWE). This was his third time to lift the trophy in the long history of the prestigious series, and his glorious win sees him join an elite group of three-time champions.

He had thrown down the gauntlet when topping Thursday’s opening competition, but a fence down on Friday saw him come into the two-round finale in third place, and two points off Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (35) at the head of the leaderboard. Guerdat wondered if his 11-year-old gelding Alamo was ready to step up to the level of sport they faced. The horse had never jumped courses as big as this before. Course designer, Spain’s Santiago Varela, set them an enormous test, but Alamo didn’t crumble.

“I was a bit unsure going to the final today as this is his first championship and I was a little nervous on Friday after the speed class, but in the end he has been amazing all week!” said the man whose won his first title in Las Vegas (USA) in 2015 and his second in Gothenburg a year later.

There were only five first-round clears, and Guerdat moved into pole position when Alvarez Aznar dropped out of contention with two fences down, and second-placed Swede, Peder Fredricson (47), faulted once with Catch Me Not at the bogey water-try vertical at fence 10 on the tough 13-fence track to the dismay of the crowd. But the home hero and reigning European champion was still very much in the hunt, in third carrying five penalty points as round two began with Guerdat at the head of affairs carrying two, but only a single point ahead of fellow-countryman Martin Fuchs (26) and Clooney who had three on the board.

You could hear a pin drop when Fredricson returned to take on the simply colossal second-round track, but there was an explosion of sound when he brought his grey gelding home with nothing to add. The Swiss pair now had no breathing space: any mistake would ensure a Swedish victory, but Fuchs didn’t falter, Clooney showing all the class that secured individual silver for his talented young rider at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon (USA) last September.

Now Guerdat had no room for manoeuvre – nothing but a foot-perfect run would do. Alamo showed a little inexperience on the way but there’s nothing quite like a horse that gives you everything it’s got, and the Dutch-bred did just that to bring it home.

“It’s up to the horse to jump the fences, so I really tried to focus on my riding and give the him his best chance, and he responded really well,” Guerdat said. He’s growing ever-fonder of Alamo, although he admitted that the horse he holds closest to his heart will always be his great partner Nino des Buissonnets who carried him to Olympic glory in London seven years ago.

It was a bit of a frustrating result for Fuchs because he has now finished second in two major events, last year’s World Championship and the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final. “But if I have to be beaten it is great if Steve wins; he is my friend and training partner. Clooney was amazing; he jumped both rounds easy; he is one of the best horses in the world. Two times second place is already a great achievement, and I am already looking forward to the European Championships this summer!” he said. That top step of the podium will surely come their way very soon.

But it was Guerdat who reigned supreme, and he now joins an elite group of three-time World Cup winners that includes Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning, Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa, and Austria’s Hugo Simon, the man who won the very first title in Gothenburg in 1979.

“When I was young, I used to dream of winning the World Cup, and when I finished second twice I wondered if it would ever happen. So when I won in 2015 it was very special, and to win here in Gothenburg the next year was even better, because this is such a great show; the crowd is like nowhere else and the atmosphere is unbelievable. To win three times, and to do it in Gothenburg again today – this makes me very proud!” — Steve Guerdat (SUI)

Result here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Guerdat Seizes Early Advantage with Alamo

Steve Guerdat with Alamo. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Former double-champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (36), scorched into the lead as the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019 Final kicked off at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg (SWE). Before he cantered into the ring, third-last to go with Alamo, the leaderboard looked like a Belgian whitewash with Pieter Devos (33), Olivier Philippaerts (25), and Francois Mathy Jr (48) holding the top three places after brilliant runs over the 13-fence course set by ace Spanish course designer Santiago Varela.

Defending champions, America’s Beezie Madden (55) and her 13-year-old stallion Breitling LS, had just dropped the very last fence, so with three seconds added to their super-fast time of 60.74 seconds would have to settle for tenth spot at the end of the day. But Guerdat cut a completely clean path to break the timers in 61.28 seconds for the win, squeezing Devos and his gelding, Apart, out of pole position by just three-hundredths of a seconds.

It was the perfect beginning to the seasonal finale that brings together riders from all around the globe, some making a very career-defining debut at the top end of the sport after qualifying from their regional series. So Varela’s challenge was to build a track that not only tested Guerdat, confirmed this week as World No. 1 rider for the fourth month in a row, but also suitable for others much further down the order including Chile’s Rodrigo Carrasco, who is ranked 1,465 but who returned with his brave grey, Acapulco FZ, with just six seconds to add to their tally.

The action began with a dramatic dismount for Guerdat’s good friend and team-mate Beat Mandli who tried a very difficult turn inside the first fence on the approach to the planks at fence 11. His 11-year-old mare Dsarie just couldn’t make it and stopped, unshipping her rider. Guerdat admitted that he had been tempted to take that turn too, but after Mandli’s elimination decided against it. “It was really bad luck for Beät. I felt sorry for him and it killed a bit of the options. And I didn’t need to do it,” he pointed out.

His decision to bring the less-experienced Alamo to these Finals instead of his top ride, Albfuehrens Bianca, wasn’t an easy one to make.

“Bianca is my number one choice for the (Olympic) Games next year, so I thought maybe on the way to there she doesn’t need to do all the Championships. I thought if I have a slightly small chance with Alamo, I will take it!” — Steve Guerdat (SUI)

Alamo proved he is made of the right stuff, presenting his rider with a lot more than a small chance.

“I’m very happy; he jumped well. I had a fast round without taking too much out of the horse. I know that this horse does not go as fast as my other horses, but I know he is quite quick, so I just tried to stay focussed on my plan and what I wanted to do. I didn’t think too much about the others were doing,” he said.

The London 2012 individual Olympic champion has won the coveted Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ title twice before, first under the bright lights of Las Vegas (USA) in 2015 and then again the following year in Gothenburg. His recollection is that he was lying “fourth or fifth” after the first competition on those occasions, but he modestly insisted that holding the top spot going into the second competition may prove irrelevant.

“We can expect a lot of places to move around; it always changes a lot on the second day,” he pointed out. “I think a mistake is much more important tomorrow than today. Everything looks good today, but everything can look much different tomorrow!” said the man who is hoping to make his 13th Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final another winning one.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46