IJRC Board member Steve Guerdat most successful Nations Cup rider

The 2023 Nations Cup year was concluded in Vilamoura (POR). 731 clear rounds were shown at 35 different tournaments around the globe. In the exclusive ranking of the Swiss equestrian magazine «PferdeWoche», Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat is the clear «Mr Nations Cup» 2023 with 13 clear rounds. Second place goes to his compatriot Martin Fuchs with ten clear rounds. Third place with nine clear rounds was shared by Bryan Balsiger (SUI), Eduard Alvarez Aznar (ESP) and Ben Maher (GBR). In the country statistics, Ireland wins with 60 clear rounds ahead of Belgium (59) and France (55).

731 times a rider was able to enjoy a clear round in a Nations Cup this year. The flawless rounds at 35 tourna-ments were counted. This year, one rider stands out and can celebrate the title of «Mr Nations Cup». With a total of 13 clear rounds – all of them at five-star tournaments – Swiss rider Steve Guerdat succeeds Kevin Staut (FRA), who won in 2022 with twelve clear rounds.
41-year-old Guerdat, who runs his own stable in Elgg in the canton of Zurich since 2016, was outstanding in seven different Nations Cups plus the European Championships in Milan (ITA). He was aboard three horses in his 13 clear rounds. With the 14-year-old French gelding Venard de Cerisy, there were double clear rounds at the CSIO5* in St. Gallen (SUI), Dublin (IRL) and Aachen (GER) as well as a clear round at the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona (ESP). With the ten-year-old French mare Dynamix de Belhème, Guerdat went clear twice at the CSIO5* Falsterbo (SWE) and at the European Championships and once at the CSIO5* La Baule (FRA). The rider from Jura realized clear round number 13 with the ten-year-old Dutch mare Is-Minka at the CSIO5* Sopot (POL).

«I think everyone knows that the Nations Cups mean a lot to me. This year it was particularly nice that we were able to win so many important and historic team competitions for Switzerland – that is the most important point for me», said Guerdat on the sidelines of the CHI Geneva. It is always a great honour to be able to repre- sent your country in these competitions. «I also believe that the Nations Cup in particular – and also the World Cup – have made our sport so great. As far back as I can remember, these historic show jumping competitions motivated me as a child to take up this sport in the first place.» Guerdat has mixed feelings about the new League of Nations 2024. «This is simply a new series for me and has nothing to do with the traditional Nations Cups at tournaments such as La Baule, Rome, Aachen or Calgary.
Fortunately, these will remain as they are. Now they are simply trying something new and different, which I don’t like everything about at first glance, but you have to give this product a chance first and see how it develops.» 330 show jumpers showed a total of 731 clear rounds in the 35 Nations Cups (three to five-star, European Cham- pionships, Pan-Am Games) in 2023. That is an average of just under 21 clear rounds per tournament. In 2022, it was around 23 with 765 clear rounds at 35 tournaments. The team from the Emerald Isle won the team ran- king. 25 Irish riders realised a total of 60 clear rounds. They beat Belgium, who also had 25 riders with 59 clear rounds, by a wafer-thin margin.

© www.sportfotos-lafrentz.de/Stefan Lafrentz