Guerdat loves competing at the St. Jakobshalle arena, where he can be assured of home support from Swiss equestrian fans. Basel is equidistant between his Elgg base near Zurich and Bassecourt, where he grew up, which means dozens of friends and family will be able to cheer him from the stands.
“It’s great because we don’t need to travel too far and my friends and family who often don’t get to watch me can all come together,” he says. “Everyone has a good time and they’re sure to have a drink – whether it’s a beer to celebrate or commiserate!”
2. He’s bang in form
Guerdat took third place at the FEI World Equestrian Games with Albuehren’s Bianca in September and has been a regular podium contender ever since. He’s enjoyed four top 10 finishes in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup series so far, including a second in Madrid and third in Lyon, and stands atop the Western European League with 58 points. He’s also No.1 in the world rankings, having returned to the top for the first time in more than six years earlier this month.
“I’m very happy with start of the season,” he says. “It’s always one of my goals to qualify for the World Cup final as it’s such a great competition.
“The No.1 ranking is not quite such a big thing – for me, doing well in the rankings is a mirror that reflects how I’ve been doing in the biggest competitions. It’s also a reward for the whole team. They follow me throughout the year and it shows we did things right.”
3. He likes his horses to get a well-earned rest
Steve’s great start to the World Cup season and early confirmation of a place in the Gothenburg final means he’s able to give his horses a well-earned rest over the winter. He’s always keen to get points on the board as soon as possible so that big names such as Albuehren’s Bianca can take a break.
“I like to give my horses a two-month break after Geneva in early December,” he says. “Allowing the time off means we can think about the full year.
“We can also look to the next generation by allowing some of the horses to gain experience. I went with Venard De Cerisy at London Olympia and will also use him in Basel. He’s nine years old and he needs experience.”
4 He often thinks he’s “useless”
No seriously. An Olympic champion and one of a select few athletes that have won the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup more than once also has champion levels of self-doubt. That could be a bigger problem for his rivals than himself though as his perfectionism and attention to detail make him stronger.
“I often come out of the ring and tell people that I’m useless,” he says. “I do honestly believe that sometimes. I make so many mistakes. There are so many things I can improve.
“I just try year after year to make fewer mistakes. There are so many good riders and horses so if you want to be successful you need to keep working.
“Am I better showjumper now than when I last won the World Cup? Yes, 100%. I’m much better now and I can still get so much better.”
Surely, this video below isn't an example of a "useless" showjumper, Steve?!