Henrik von Eckermann

Sweden’s leading showjumper Henrik von Eckermann is the new world champion having won the individual crown as well as the team title at the World Showjumping Championships in Herning, Denmark, in August 2022, riding his current top horse King Edward. Henrik also won the team gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics representing Sweden.

Born in 1981, Henrik von Eckermann’s parents were farmers and he was inspired to take up showjumping after a visit to Gothenburg Horse Show in his native Sweden. He rode in the young rider European Championships on a horse he bought from Peder Fredricson, his future gold medal-winning team-mate.

Soon after joining the senior ranks, Henrik went to work at the stables of his hero Ludger Beerbaum, where he stayed for 13 years, before setting up on his own in Bonn, Germany. He now runs a yard with his fiancee Janika Sprunger in Holland and they have a young son called Noah.

Henrik von Eckermann and King Edward

Henrik’s top horse is the great chestnut gelding King Edward, whom he describes as his “horse of a lifetime” and who boasts the astounding record of having jumped through two consecutive championships without touching a pole. Henrik only took the reins after his partner Janika Sprunger became pregnant in 2020 and he and King Edward have very quickly established themselves as one of the greatest combinations in the world.

“He has the whole package, he’s so consistent,” enthuses Henrik of the gelding owned by Georg Kahny. “He can jump a big fence without any effort. No other horse I’ve ever sat on has given me that feeling.”

Much has been made of the rivalry between King Edward and his chestnut counterpart from Great Britain, Ben Maher’s Explosion W.

Henrik von Eckermann: barefoot horses

Henrik describes taking off King Edward’s shoes as a “game-changer” and all his horses are now unshod.

“Directly after taking off his shoes you felt he was more relaxed and more satisfied,” says Henrik. “I still believe that if we hadn’t done that with King Edward, we wouldn’t be here today.”

Henrik von Eckermann and Janika Sprunger

Henrik is engaged to Swiss showjumper Janika Sprunger, who competed at the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2018 World Equestrian Games.

Henrik von Eckermann’s stables

Henrik and Janika run Cyor Stables near Eindhoven in the Netherlands, which they built from scratch.

“We have 12 horses for both of us – I never wanted a big place with lots of horses and riders,” he says. “I want to know that I can take my time with every horse and give it everything we can.”

Among Henrik’s other top horses are the nine-year-old mare Iliana, Hollywood V, Glamour Girl and Calizi.

What else has Henrik von Eckermann achieved?

  • As well as the team gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, Henrik finished fourth individually.
  • He has won team bronze and team silver medals at the European Championships of 2013 and 2017 respectively with the great mares Gotha FRH and Toveks Mary Lou.
  • Henrik has jumped at five World Cup Finals, finishing third twice, in 2017 and 2018.
  • Henrik and his Olympic team-mates Peder Fredricson and Malin Baryard-Johnsson won the 2021 Jerring Award for the Swedish sporting performance of the year for their achievement in Tokyo.
  • Henrik and King Edward won the 2021 Super Grand Prix at the Prague Playoffs on the Longines Global Champions Tour.
  • He has jumped at three Olympic Games – London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
  • Henrik topped the world rankings for the first time in August 2022
  • He won team silver at the 2018 World Equestrian Games.