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Steve as a boy
“As a young boy, I remember being absolutely fascinated by horses,”. Says Steve Guerdat who was born in the Swiss canton of Jura in 1982.
Steves father Philippe, competed at the Olympic Games of 1984 and 1988. He has also since gone on to coach the Belgian and French show jumping teams. Philippe played a huge part in his son’s development as a showjumper from an early age.
Steve as a young man
At the age of 20, Steve Guerdat received a call from Jan Tops. Tops, the former Dutch international rider is the owner of Valkenswaard and the founder of the Global Champions Tour. Rolf Göran Bengtsson, the current rider at Valkenswaard had resigned. The reason: Tops sold Rolf’s top horse Pialotta, just ahead of the World Equestrian Games in Jerez. Therefore Jan needed a new rider.
“It was a great chance for me to take the next step up to senior international level,” Steve says.
During his time in Valkenswaard, Steve soared up the world rankings (he eventually reached the Top Ten when he was 26). After three years at Stal Tops, he left; like his predecessor, after a horse deal. The horse was Tijl van het Palliterland, which he had turned from talented problem horse to Grand Prix winner.
Tresor and Jalisca Solier
Less than a year later he was on the podium at the World Cup final in Las Vegas, third to his old mentor Beat Mändli, who won with Ideo du Thot. Steve’s mount Tresor (by Papillon Rouge), was owned by watchmaker Yves Piaget. Piaget was an old friend of Phillippe Guerdat. They had met by chance, sat down for a coffee, talked about Steve being short of horses. Piaget decided to buy one or two, but not with a big budget. For five years Jalisca and Tresor kept Steve near the top of the world rankings. Jaliska was particularly well admired and won him an Olympic team bronze (in Hong Kong) and team gold (Windsor Europeans). In 2010, Nino entered his life.
Nino du Buissonets
Nino du Buissonets (by Kannan) was bred in France by Jean-Luc Deroubaix. In 2005, Nino was a finalist in the French Young Horse Four Year Old Championship in Fontainebleau. The next couple of years he collected top placings in young horse classes at home and abroad.
Two years before the London Games, Thomas Fuchs noticed the now German-owned nine-year-old competing with Tim Holster at a show in Germany.
“I jumped maybe ten fences,” recalls Steve of the first time he tried Nino. “They were not high, maybe one meter, but I felt straight away that he had everything. I really wanted him.” Nino was bought for Steve by Mr Schwarzenbach and arrived in Zurich in the autumn of 2010.
“Nino is a horse with a very strong personality, he’s a bit special, a freak,” says Steve. “That means that he can be the best in the world but also sometimes a challenge.”
Nino’s dam had a difficult temperament but an impeccable performance bloodline with Narcos II-Alme and Uriel. Maybe that’s where Nino gets his stubborn streak from (for he has been known to throw in a refusal now and again).
“In the beginning, it was about me getting to know him and him getting to know me, and agree,” Steve emphasizes the final word.
|CSIO St. Gallen Grand Prix 2015 – Steve Guerdat & Nino des Buissonnets||World Cup Final Lyon – Steve Guerdat & Nino des Buissonnets|