Congratulations on your victory in the “Rolex Grand Prix” at the CHI Geneva 2015. Isn’t that a great Christmas present?
Definitely. The Major in Geneva is very special for me, on a par with riding at Championships. I prepared myself beforehand very well and only competed my horses in the run-up to the event at targeted shows so that they are very fresh and in top form here. I am delighted about this victory. “Nino” is a unique horse, he is simply brilliant. I am totally happy!
You were the ninth rider to go in the jump-off, so you had to wait for seven more riders to finish before it was clear that you had won.
It felt like hours! It is like an eternity and you can’t do anything else apart from watch the remaining rides and hope that it suffices to take the victory.
And the whole crowd were on your side! What is it like when the entire arena cheers so emphatically when you enter the ring? Does the cheering spur you on?
Of course, it is a fantastic feeling when the crowd supports me so enthusiastically. Then, I don’t think about anything else, I concentrate totally on the course and giving it my very best shot. When things really do go well and the crowd cheer the clear round, it is unique. But I wasn’t at all sure whether my time would ultimately suffice. That is why I tried to keep a cool head, even though I was overjoyed then already.
After your Major victory in Geneva your personal Rolex Grand Slam has begun again. What does this competition mean to you?
Rolex’s commitment is very important for us riders. I believe without the long-term support of Rolex, our sport wouldn’t be where it is today. The Grand Slam is something very special, a unique challenge for every rider. The Majors in Geneva, Aachen and Spruce Meadows are classics on the equestrian sport circuit, which every rider strives to win. Everyone is focused on them.
So, your focus already lies on the next Major: the CHIO Aachen in July 2016?
No, no, definitely not already. Now, I am still absolutely focused on Geneva and I am going to celebrate!