February 22, 2024

The Nations Cup as a World Cup test for Pius Schweizer

The Nations Cup as a World Cup test for Pius Schweizer

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Nations Cup at CSIO St.Gallen is World Cup rehearsal for Schweizer and Schmitz: ‘The World Cup may be my last chance to win the title’

On Monday, the Show Jumping Nations Cup will take place in Grünenmoos. Switzerland has been waiting to win for 22 years. It is also an important rehearsal for Pius Schweizer and Edward Schmitz before the World Cup in Denmark.

Pius Schweizer will represent Switzerland at the Nations Cup in Groenenmoos on Monday.

Photo: Jian Ehrenzeler/Keystone

Swiss jumpers will once again seek to win the Nations Cup on White Monday in St. Gallen’s founder Moss. It’s the 21st attempt in front of a local audience. 22 years ago, Switzerland won in Lucerne, 26 years ago in St. Gallen. It will be a meaningful test for World Cup hopefuls Pius Schweizer and Edward Schmitz.

The experienced Schwizer from Lucerne and the relatively inexperienced Schmitz from Geneva belong to the team of Team Principal Michel Sorg. Along with two team captains Steve Jordant and Martin Fox, they and their horses must deliver Vancouver and Kono the results of their long-awaited home win.

Thus, contrary to public expectations, Brian Balsiger will be the reserve rider. The Olympic rider from Tokyo competed with Dubai in the Nations Cup in La Pole at the beginning of May and finished by one. You know what Neuchâtel and his Belgian fast horse can do. But what can veteran Schweizer do with the equally experienced Belgian Vancouver stallion and rookie Schmitz with ex-Henauer Matthias Scheble on top and under pressure?

Opponents are not defeated

A home win should be possible after eleven second and four third places. The competition in St. Gallen is average compared to other years. Olympic champions from Sweden, who also triumphed in St. Gallen last year, France, Ireland and the United States are missing.

However, Olympic and European bronze medalists from Belgium, Nations Cup winners overall from the Netherlands, Great Britain with 66-year-old John Whitaker and 21-year-old nephew Jack Whitaker and Germany all have to be taken into account. The team around three-time World Cup winner Marcus Ening is the record-breaking winner of the Nations Cup in Switzerland with 19 successes.

Edward Schmitz on Kono.

Edward Schmitz on Kono.

Claudio Toma / Fresh Fox

The competitors have a 37-year age difference

In a duel over what will likely be the Swiss national team’s fourth-place finish for the title in Herning in August, a senior and a youngster will compete. Schweizer will be 60 on August 13, and Schmitz will be 23 the day before. There is a 37-year age difference.

Schweizer says:

“For me, the World Cup in Denmark might be the last chance to win the title.”

He took over his Vancouver horse from French team rider Penelope Librevost. Since March, the owner François Forbes, an undertaker in the Jura, has entrusted the Pyrenees stallion to Oensinger. They convinced this in Madrid and more recently in Hamburg. “Vancouver is a horse that does the highest job, as it once did with Nobles, Ulysses, Carolinas, or Tulago,” Schweizer is convinced.

Schmitz has been riding a 13-year-old Holsteiner Kono for exactly one year. He has never played in the Nations Cup at the highest level. So far, he’s approached five times bigger missions in three-star events and done well.

“It would be great if I could make my first division debut in my country. I have dreamed of it since I was a kid.”

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