King of Europe, Steve Guerdat
Celebrating Success and Acknowledging Key Contributors in Show Jumping
In the world of show jumping, success is the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and collaboration among various individuals and factors. The recent press conference featuring top riders Steve Guerdat that today, Sunday 3rd of September was crowned European Champion on his mare Dynamix de Belheme with a total score of 0.43 and Philipp Weishaupt on silver medalist winner on his just 9 year old horse Zineday with a total score of 4.31 , along with course designer Uliano Vezzani, shed light on the behind-the-scenes dynamics of this thrilling equestrian sport.
Building Champions: The Riders’ Journey
Steve Guerdat, the gold medalist from Switzerland, and Philipp Weishaupt, the silver medalist from Germany, showcased their exceptional skills and their equally extraordinary horses. What stands out is their ability to adapt and develop young talent. Both riders are guiding relatively young horses to success on the international stage.
Guerdat’s mare, Dynamix de Belheme 10 year old selle francais mare, has been with him since she was five years old. He emphasized the importance of not rushing a horse’s development and allowing them to grow at their own pace. This patient approach has paid off, as Dynamix has consistently delivered top-notch performances including now the European Championship title.
Weishaupt’s horse, Zineday, had a more diverse journey before landing with him. The horse was raised by Richard Vogel, trained by Christian Kukuk, and finally found his way to Weishaupt. His journey underscores the role of proper guidance and professional handling in shaping a horse’s career.
The Mind Over Matter: Mental Preparation
One crucial aspect highlighted during the press conference was the mental preparation of the horses. While physical fitness is undoubtedly essential, the riders emphasized that a horse’s mindset plays an equally vital role. It’s about ensuring that these young talents do not succumb to pressure when competing at the highest level.
The Unseen Heroes: Breeders and Their Contribution
The discussion took a heartwarming turn when the contribution of breeders was acknowledged. Often overlooked, breeders are the unsung heroes of the equestrian world. They are the starting point of every champion, and without their dedication and expertise, the sport would not be what it is today.
Steve Guerdat expressed deep respect for breeders and their pivotal role in the success of horses like Dynamix. He also pondered how the industry could better reward and recognize these crucial individuals.
“ I have asked myself many times what can we do, to bring more rewards to the breeders, I have deep respect for what they do.”
Philipp Weishaupt shared similar sentiments, stressing the importance of finding owners who are willing to support and keep the horses for the long term. Such owners provide stability and enable riders to focus on their horses’ development rather than worrying about them being sold.
“ Having a dealing stable, it makes it difficult to be able to keep the horses, thankfully two years ago I was smart enough to find someone to invest, because I knew that I would have encountered this problem with this horse sooner or later, I am in a lucky situation that I have found someone like Alice, she is from the United States and she is a great supporter, and she told me “you don’t have to worry, whatever comes just say no” and that feels unbelievable, I have never had that in my whole career.”
A Shoutout to the Course Designers Uliano Vezzani
The press conference also acknowledged the role of course designers, whose creativity and expertise are essential in making show jumping both challenging and fair. The championship’s courses were praised for striking the right balance between difficulty and fairness, creating a true test of skill for the riders.
A Moment of Appreciation and New Horizons
In the end, the riders were celebrated not only for their remarkable achievements but also for their humility and gratitude towards their support teams, owners, and the horses themselves. These riders represent the very essence of sportsmanship and dedication.
As they set their sights on future competitions, including the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, one can’t help but feel excited about the potential of these extraordinary partnerships between rider and horse. With patience, collaboration, and unwavering dedication, they continue to define the thrilling world of show jumping.
Some comments on today’s emotions:
Steve Guerdat: “I planned the last round just like every other round without making anything different, I have to go clear, it’s my job to try and go clear every Sunday in every championship. My mare was in great form this week I tried to keep her fresh because this is her first championship and I felt her a little tired today already in the first round and try to save the jump so I only did 5/6 jumps before the second round and I just tried to stay focus and do my job because I know that she wouldn’t let me down, she is a very special horse and so I just tried to do my best. I am proud to ride a horse like this.”
Philipp Weishaupt: “ At the beginning of the year it was not in my plans to come to the European championships, because Zineday is only 9 years old, so one year younger from Steve’s horse, but I think quality wise, these two horses aren’t far from each other, so I said no pressure we will see step by step and show by show and then Aachen was a great performance, and I tried to keep him in the background to make sure not too many people ask me questions on him but after Aachen here was no chance to hide it anymore. I gave him few weeks of and after that I went to Riesenbeck and that’s when I knew he was ready and also ready for a championship. I didn’t have any expectation I took this championship day by day I knew the horse is super and that I need to ride well . Being behind Steve is a privilege, of course I wanted to be there with him but he did jump clear every day and didn’t so I am happy where I am and he deserves to win“.
Photo Marta Fusetti (c)
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