Interview with Steve Guerdat
"I tried my hand at the role of the farmer."
Steve Guerdat is not only the current number one in the world ranking list of the show-jumpers, he is also well-known for his clear statements. We spoke to him about the Aachen International Jumping, but also about the time-out due to the Corona virus.
Question: What were your feelings about coming to Aachen?
Steve Guerdat: First of all, I was sorry that the CHIO Aachen didn’t take place. For us the riders the CHIO is not only the main goal of the year, it is also the nicest week of the year and so it was a real shame that we weren’t allowed to come. Luckily, they have organised something here in Aachen after all. It is always a special feeling coming here. They really are mixed feelings: Memories of the “real” Aachen on the one hand, but on the other hand it is good to be in the public eye here again and to be able to practice our sport, even if everything is different and smaller.
Question: How do you rate the standing of the Aachen International Jumping?
Guerdat: The line-up at the show is very good, especially on Sunday it is going to be a thrilling jumping competition. Of course, it isn’t the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHIO, but everyone is extremely keen to win here in Aachen – me too!
Question: How did you experience the Corona time, the time without shows?
Guerdat: That was very extraordinary. We are normally always on the road, all over the globe, then suddenly, we were all at home. But there were plenty of nice aspects too. We were able to spend a lot of time with our horses, who we don’t see very much otherwise and for whom we normally don’t have much time. It was totally different than normal – but it was also a nice time.
Question: Where did you place your focus during this time?
Guerdat: I simply carried on riding my horses. I have a big yard at home and I tried my hand at the role of the farmer a bit. I enjoyed the time with my horses, especially with the youngsters. In that respect, it wasn’t that much different than usual – just that the week had seven days all of a sudden instead of three.
Question: It is a year without real goals – no Olympic Games, no CHIO Aachen, did you also have melancholic moments?
Guerdat: Yes, perhaps there were a few such moments, but when one gets into that train of thought one should come back down to earth again fast and open one’s eyes: There is much worse than cancelled shows or postponed Olympic Games. Of course, it is a shame or perhaps even sad, but there is so much more misery in the world and people, who are in a much worser situation than us athletes.
Question: How do you evaluate the overall equestrian sport situation?
Guerdat: It is a new, special situation and it will take a long time before the situation returns to how it used to be. However, I do believe, that every situation has a positive side to it. And all of us together – the riders, the organisers, the sponsors, the horse owners – can try to make the best out of the situation and perhaps even make the sport better than it was before.
Question: Do you think the sport will change?
Guerdat: I think a lot of things will change. The sport is a mirror of the normal world, I am certain that many things will change. It is a crisis that affects everyone, so everyone should try and see what one can do better in the future.
Question: What consequences could this have?
Guerdat: As I already said – in future the reality will be different, but hopefully it will have many positive sides. And by positive I don’t mean more and more prize money for instance, but perhaps a fairer distribution too. That would already be a huge achievement.