Steve Guerdat and Dynamix de Belheme. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)
Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat has ridden many nice horses throughout his glowing profession, however after profitable particular person gold on the FEI Leaping European Championship 2023 in Milan (ITA), he mentioned his mare, Dynamix de Belheme, is just the most effective.
With a flawless run over 4 days of powerful competitors, as Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani examined Europe’s greatest riders as solely he can, the 41-year-old rider and his 10-year-old mare have been the one mixture to complete the week with out fault from the sphere of 85, who began out within the quest for European glory final Wednesday.
Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt claimed silver with the thrilling nine-year-old Zineday, whereas Julien Epaillard and the 10-year-old Dubai du Cedre completed in bronze medal spot for France.
“I’ve been very, very fortunate, even blessed, for the reason that starting of my profession. I’m for positive no higher rider that this man that sits beside me (Weishaupt), however he didn’t at all times have the identical luck together with his horses at a championship as I had. So for me to say that that is the most effective horse I’ve ever had – it takes quite a bit!” Guerdat mentioned.
Within the stability
The ultimate day greater than lived as much as expectations, with the outcome hanging within the stability till the final fence was jumped.
One pole down from Guerdat within the second spherical and Weishaupt would have overtaken the 2012 Olympic champion for the coveted title. However as soon as the Swiss star overtook crew gold medallists Jens Fredricson and Markan Cosmopolit for the lead, when the Swedish pair faulted within the first of the 2 rounds to drop to fifth within the closing evaluation, Guerdat had the look of a person who wasn’t going to let something get in his manner.
As he rode into the ring, final to go within the second and final spherical, he was holding the lead, however with Weishaupt snapping at his heels and Epaillard only a whisper additional behind, so he wanted to muster all of the expertise he has gathered down the years. With the horse of his desires underneath him, he calmly introduced dwelling the gold that has solely been held in Swiss arms twice earlier than, by Willi Melliger partnering Quinta in Gijon (ESP) in 1993 and by Martin Fuchs and Clooney in Rotterdam (NED) in 2019.
He’s now making no secret of the truth that his subsequent large goal together with his mare is the Paris 2024 Olympic Video games.
When requested how he managed to maintain so cool underneath strain, he mentioned he simply tried to make that closing spherical like every other.
“I didn’t do something completely different as a result of it’s my job to go clear each week, each Sunday, each championship, each day this week. My mare was in nice kind, so I simply attempt to maintain her contemporary, as a result of it’s her first championship and she or he was a bit of bit drained immediately after the primary spherical, so I attempted to avoid wasting the jumps, simply do 5 or 6 jumps earlier than the final spherical and attempt to keep targeted on what I’ve to do and I knew she wouldn’t let me down.
“She’s a really, very particular horse, so I simply attempt to deal with my job so she will be able to categorical herself at her greatest, and that’s what she did and I’m delighted together with her and the outcome!” he mentioned.
It’s clear he has thought the world of Dynamix for a really very long time. “I’ve had so many particular horses all through my profession, however I didn’t wish to put strain on her by telling all people I’ve a brand new famous person, however we knew it, or we hoped for it. And we have been simply attempting to let her develop the way in which she needed to develop.
“Principally, she has all of the qualities that every one my superstars have had, and she or he has all of it within the one horse, and that’s why she’s very, very particular!
“I don’t wish to rush issues. I simply hearken to her and what she desires to do. She solely did her first 5-Star a 12 months in the past,” he identified.
When Dynamix will get dwelling to Switzerland, she’ll get a pleasant shock. “As much as immediately, she nonetheless wasn’t allowed to have her personal large image in my indoor; there are quite a lot of very particular horses in there. We’ve got quite a lot of wonderful footage of Dynamix, and I’ve had a little bit of a combat with my spouse as a result of she thinks she ought to already be up there. However immediately she did one thing nice, so her image might be up there tomorrow!” he mentioned.
Weishaupt mentioned he has additionally been cautious to not pressurise his younger horse both. “It wasn’t in my plan at first of the 12 months to come back right here, as a result of Zineday is barely 9 years outdated, a 12 months youthful than Steve’s horse – quality-wise not distant, these two horses – however I have to hearken to him to know the way he’s and go step-by-step, show-by-show. I additionally tried to maintain him a bit within the background and ensure not too many individuals ask me how good he’s.
“However after Aachen (the place the pair completed third within the Grand Prix) there was no extra probability to cover it – even blind ones might see how good he’s by then! He did it really easy in Aachen, so I took him to a present in Riesenbeck and he got here again very robust. So I believed OK, he’s solely 9 however he’s prepared for the championship and he’ll be taught and get expertise throughout these 5 days. I went day-by-day this week; I didn’t have any expectation. I do know the horse is tremendous, however I have to trip nicely and maintain him calm,” he defined.
It labored out actually properly. “The primary day Velocity class, he did an excellent spherical. The primary spherical of the Nations Cup was actually good; sadly, I made a silly mistake on the crew closing day. Then I’m going for the ultimate – he was super-fresh yesterday, which was a bit stunning.
“And immediately I did two rounds and he jumped implausible, and I’m greater than delighted with the outcome. On the finish Steve was the one one leaping all days clear, and I wasn’t!”
Epaillard mentioned he had a implausible week with Dubai du Cedre. He additionally jumped double-clear to maneuver up from in a single day fourth into that bronze medal place. It was Nice Britain’s Ben Maher who completed simply off the rostrum in fourth place with Faltic HB on the finish of the day.
“My mare is barely 10 years outdated, and it was my first championship together with her, and she or he doesn’t have that a lot expertise. She had two down throughout the week, each my fault as a result of I don’t know her nicely sufficient,” Epaillard defined. He has been using her since final November.
“The course designer created a implausible present this week,” he continued. “I feel Uliano did a really good job. Daily there have been very technical rounds; immediately, the ultimate was good, I feel. The primary spherical very robust and troublesome, the second a bit of bit simpler, however with the strain, everybody, together with the horses, have been a bit of bit drained.”
There was no signal of tiredness when the medallists rode their victory lap to deliver a really thrilling week of sport to an in depth, with Guerdat including particular person gold to the European crew gold medals he gained in 2009 and 2021.
“I’ve the horse that everybody is on the lookout for,” he mentioned, “so we do our greatest for her and convey her in the most effective of kind for Paris! This has been an amazing week!”
Outcomes right here.
by Louise Parkes