Steve Guerdat’s goal: The CHIO Aachen Winners’ Board
He has been one of the most successful riders in the world for many years already. After his victory last Sunday in the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex, Steve Guerdat is travelling to the CHIO Aachen as the contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. An interview with the 39-year-old Swiss rider.
How pleased are you to be travelling to the CHIO Aachen as the contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?
I am delighted. Aachen is a very special show. Competing there is always an incredible feeling. And now to be going there as the contender for the Rolex Grand Prix of Show Jumping makes it even more exciting than usual, of course. That really boosts my motivation even more.
What is special about the CHIO Aachen?
The atmosphere in Aachen is simply unique. The crowd in Aachen is very competent and exceptionally euphoric. When jumping in the Main Stadium, the crowd literally carry the riders round the course. As a rider that helps you give your very best.
Which memories do you associate with the CHIO Aachen?
I have very nice memories of Aachen; I have been able to celebrate many unforgettable victories there. The only thing I haven’t managed to achieve to-date is to win the Rolex Grand Prix. I already dreamt about seizing the victory there one day as a child and I won’t give up until I have succeeded in doing so. My ultimate goal is having my name inscribed on the legendary winners’ board in Aachen.
Does your role as contender make you more confident in tackling this goal or does it put more pressure on you?
It is always a very special moment when the Rolex Grand Prix starts. One always senses the pressure when one rides into this magnificent Main Stadium. You have butterflies in your stomach. But particularly these special moments are why I love my sport so much. I always try to turn the pressure into motivation and simply enjoy the moment. And that is exactly what I am going to do in Aachen on Sunday.
One always experiences setbacks in sport, which one has to process. What have you learnt in your career so far?
The sport teaches one a lot of things. There are always moments that throw you back, but they are simply part of life. That doesn’t lessen my gratitude for the opportunities that life has always bestowed upon me. And setbacks always bring their benefits too. They help you keep both feet on the ground. And they encourage you to always want to do things better. Even if you are the winner one weekend, you must never rest on your laurels and take it for granted that you will also be victorious the following weekend. You have to constantly refocus in order to overcome new challenges and make your dreams come true.
Venard de Cerisy carried you to victory in Calgary. What distinguishes this horse?
He is a very courageous horse, with an incredible amount of scope. He jumps passionately and energetically. He is very sensitive to handle, which wasn’t always easy. But we took plenty of time to get used to each other and in the meantime, we are a really good team. His technique is not always perfect, but when he sees a fence, he simply wants to jump over it. He wasn’t a famous horse up until now, but after his victory in Calgary, everyone will remember him.
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