Born in 1982, Steve began riding at the age of nine. His father, Philippe Guerdat is a former showjumper and the current chef d’equipe of the Brazillian showjumping team. Steve represented Switzerland on junior showjumping teams and won bronze at the 1997 European young rider championships.
His childhood heroes were basketball star Michael Jordan and British showjumper John Whitaker. “I’ve always been a sports fanatic, and Michael Jordan’s story is an inspiration,” he says. “Normally a superstar is really good over a short period of time, but with him you were never disappointed [each time he made a comeback]. It was like a lesson of life and sport, about not giving up, and as a kid he was someone I was crazy about. As a rider my hero has always been John Whitaker. I like him for much the same reasons. With John, everything is easy. I think he doesn’t even know what he’s achieving because he does everything so naturally. Horses respond to him and it’s just natural for him to ride and win in a very natural way with a completely natural attitude. That inspires me as a rider.”
Steve Guerdat stables
Nowadays, Steve Guerdat lives in Elgg, near Zurich, Switzerland, with his wife Fanny Skalli and their baby daughter Ella.
He is trained by Thomas Fuchs, who travels with him to tournaments, but in the early days, Steve received training from legendary Swiss rider Beat Mandli, who will be his team-mate in Tokyo on the three-man squad alongside Martin Fuchs. Between 2003 and 2005 Steve was based at the stables of the legendary Olympic gold medallist Jan Tops in Valkenswaard, Netherlands.
Steve has spent a significant amount of time as the world number one and has a phenomenal track record on the international circuit, winning many of the most prestigious titles in the sport, including the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final and he claimed his third World Cup Final in 2019, but it is at championships that he seems to excel. In 2017 he jumped a word record 10 clear rounds for Switzerland in Nations Cup team competitions. Steve is a Rolex testimonee.
Steve Guerdat’s magnificent championship record
Steve made his Olympic debut in Athens 2004, where he finished fifth as part of the Swiss team.
Won team bronze at the 2003 European Championships
Won team silver at the 2005 European Championships
Claimed team bronze at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing
Won team gold at the 2009 European Championships
Crowned Olympic champion after winning the individual honours at the London 2012 Olympics
Finished individual fourth at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Won team bronze at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg
Claimed the individual bronze medal at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA.
Steve Guerdat’s top horses
Among Steve’s leading horses to have carried him to countless victories over the years have been Jalisca Solier, Nino Des Boissonnets, Corbinian, Victorio Des Frotards, Alamo, his Tokyo Olympic contender Venard de Cerisy and Bianca, who sadly passed away earlier this year.
Of the great Nino, Steve says: “What was so good about him is that when I wanted to be clear I was clear 95% of the time. We also had some bad rounds, but from the time I really figured him out we had very few fences down. I didn’t jump him a lot, but most of the time he was double clear in grands prix.”
Steve’s Olympic horse Venard De Cerisy is a 12-year-old gelding and one of his best performances came when winning the 2019 grand prix of St Gallen.