Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping


Exclusive interview with Bryan Balsiger, Swiss rising star of show jumping

BALSIGER Bryan (SUI) riding Clouzot de Lassus during the CHI of Geneva 2017 (Photo: Pierre Costabadie – CHI de Genève) BALSIGER Bryan (SUI) riding Clouzot de Lassus during the CHI of Geneva 2017 (Photo: Pierre Costabadie – CHI de Genève)

How did you start your equestrian career?

My parents have a riding school with over 50 horses, so it has always been in my blood! I started riding at a really young age and did my first jump at six-years-old. My Father was a successful show jumper and he has passed on his wisdom to my brother and I, we used to go to ever single show with him and I always dreamed I would follow in his footsteps one day.

What motivates you the most?

I just love being able to work with the horses every day, they are such incredible and loyal animals and when you grow a successful partnership with them, there is no feeling like it.

I have tried lots of other sports in my life, I used to play football, basketball and compete in athletics, but none of them compare to show jumping. I still sometimes play those sports, just as a hobby, but the thrill of competing each week in different places with your horses is so special.

The continuous competition also really motivates me. I like to win, and I want to be the best! I am constantly working towards the next step and wanting to be better – so there is never a dull moment!

What has been a career highlight for you so far?

My career highlight so far must be winning a gold medal at the European Championships for Young Riders with Clouzot de Lassus. It was a really tough competition and to be crowned champion was the most incredible feeling. It has also made me hungry for more!

What are you most looking forward to about competing at CHI Geneva?

I am so excited to be competing at CHI Geneva this year, especially as I have already qualified for the Rolex Grand Prix. The event is so historic but also patriotic and to have the chance to compete in front of such an enthusiastic home crowd is a dream come true for me.

I have had a good season, so I am hoping if everything goes well on the day, I could be in with a chance at finishing in the top 10.

Which horse will you be riding in the Rolex Grand Prix?

I am taking Clouzot de Lassus, my 10-year-old gelding. I have been riding him for three years now and he is just amazing, I get the most incredible feeling from him every time we jump together, like nothing I have experienced before. We are growing in confidence together and I feel very lucky to have this wonderful partnership with him.

What would it mean to you to lift the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping trophy one day?

To lift the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping trophy would be a dream come true for me, especially if I did it at CHI Geneva in front of my home crowd! It’s the ‘almost un-touchable trophy’ that every rider really wants to win and for me it is a big objective in my career. Hopefully one day I can take it home with me.

What are your main aims to achieve in your career?

Right now, my main aim is to win the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva. To win any of the Majors would be amazing, but to win in front of my home crowd is unbeatable. I would also love to win at CHIO Aachen, that is a goal for next year! 

Who is your inspiration?

Marcus Ehning and Steve Guardat are my two main idols. Marcus rides with such perfection and has an incredible work ethic. His long and successful career is something that I hope to emulate and achieve myself. Steve Guerdat is a Swiss hero, he is so cool under pressure, competes so well and has such close relationships with his horses.

If you weren’t a show jumper, what would be your day job?

That is a tough question as every day I feel so lucky to already have my dream job! But if I couldn’t be a show jumper, I would be an engineer. That would be a back-up career, but one I hope I don’t need to re-visit.

Best advice you could have given to your 10-year-old self?

I would tell myself to work hard, find a good horse, a good team and listen to those who are working with me. That way, the only way is up.

Do you feel extra pressure to be successful given that your father was also a show jumper?

My father has been my trainer since I first started to ride. He has always been behind me and supported me through everything. As a family, we live and breathe horses and it is such a nice feeling knowing that we have such a strong support network. My brother also competes and is progressing each year and we always ride together.

What is a normal day like for you?

I am really lucky to have so many amazing horses to ride, I start the day at my owners yard and spend the morning schooling and exercising the horses there. I then drive to my family stables and ride more horses, often the younger horses and help my father with riding school clients. It is a real family business and I have to pinch myself every day, as I know I am so lucky to have such amazing opportunities, I wouldn’t swap it for anything.

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