Why wasn’t King Edward wearing a browband at the World Cup Final?

  • Global superstars Henrik von Eckermann and the brilliant King Edward are taking the showjumping world by storm, most recently clinching back-to-back World Cup Final titles – the first time for 25 years that a horse has achieved the feat.

    His remarkable winning performance also marked the fourth time that this heroic little chestnut has sailed through a championship without touching a single pole.

    But while the all-conquering duo effortlessly scale the greatest heights in the ring, the 14-year-old Belgium-bred gelding (Edward 28 x Feo) is no easy ride and the Swedish rider describes King Edward as “very sensitive”, particularly around his face. Henrik has also revealed that taking off the chestnut’s shoes was a “complete game changer”.

    The small but mighty King Edward, who was bred by Wim Impens and has carried Henrik von Eckermann to Olympic and World Championship glory, has been seen in an assortment of different bridles in recent years to help with the gelding’s sensitivity – in Herning there was no throatlash (pictured below), a nose net comes in to use at times, and at last week’s World Cup Finals in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, they had even dispensed with a browband.

    Showjumper Henrik von Eckermann (Sweden) rides the unshod top showjumper King Edward.

    Henrik von Eckermann and the “sensitive” King Edward, pictured without a throatlash en route to gold at the World Championships in Herning, Denmark, in 2022.

    So H&H caught up with the reigning world number one Henrik von Eckermann to find out more about the unusual tack he’s been using with multi-winning King Edward.

    “We tried the nose net because he is extremely sensitive, he doesn’t like anything on his face,” reveals Henrik, 42. “It’s the same with the browband, we’ve tried going without one for a few months because he doesn’t need it and so it’s less on his face.”

    Henrik von Eckermann and King Edward after winning back-to-back World Cup titles

    Henrik von Eckermann has been riding King Edward without a browband for the past few months. Last week they won back-to-back World Cup titles.

    The Swedish showjumper says about their partnership: “It doesn’t help to get nervous or stressed, because the horse feels everything and King Edward is a very, very sensitive horse. We’ve been together so long and know each other so well that I have the biggest confidence in him. He will never disappoint me. It is my main goal to keep my horses happy and motivated and King Edward is definitely a very special horse.”

    Equally, King Edward, who is looked after by groom Louise Barraud, clearly has absolute belief in his rider, and we are privileged to be able to watch their relentless clear round performances in this incredible era for the sport.

    “He has jumped so many clear rounds and done so many good things – it’s a privilege to ride him,” says Henrik von Eckermann, who also describes him as “such a sweet horse”.

    As he sums up, “Edward has the capability from I don’t know where – it’s beyond something else. He can jump a big fence without any effort. No other horse I’ve ever sat on has given me that feeling.”

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