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Longines EEF Series Newsroom

Stories from the Series: The rise of Edouard Schmitz
May 14, 2024
Interview by Emily Bevan

“The Longines EEF Series is the best thing that has happened to our sport in recent years,” said Switzerland’s Edouard Schmitz.

“The series is of the highest importance to help make the next steps between 1m45 courses and the toughest courses we have. It’s the perfect opportunity to bridge the gap that exists between young riders and seniors.”

Edouard made his debut in the series in its inaugural year in 2021, jumping a double clear to help Switzerland to third place in the semi-finals aboard Balenciana K, a 12-year-old Hanoverian mare.

“The Longines EEF Series has always had high priority for me from a sport perspective to develop the Swiss team spirit and to build the future of our team. Edouard Schmitz is one of the best examples. He was successful with the youth teams and I gave him the chance to integrate into our team at the CSIO in Budapest in 2021. I can remember how stressed he was but he rode two fabulous rounds,” said the then-chef d’equipe and current CEO of the Swiss Equestrian Federation, Michel Sorg.

In 2022, Edouard was selected to contest the series once again, this time aboard the then ten-year-old SBS bay gelding, Gamin Van’t Naastveldhof. Later that year the pair won their first 5* competition at the Dublin Grand Prix.

“Gamin’s development wouldn’t have been so good if he hadn’t been through that series, he was able to get the mileage in over that format – two rounds in one day, water jumps etc. Without that series he wouldn’t have managed to make that step up to 5* so quickly,” said Edouard who lists his calm nature and strong competitive edge among his character strengths.

“As a rider you are under pressure in this competition and the horse feels it and gets used to being under that pressure too. It’s so beneficial to get these miles in using the Nations Cup format and under the pressure of being in a team and representing your country. Gaining that experience is so important.”

Michel Sorg added: “Thanks to this series Edouard had the possibility to grow with his horses, in the team, as a rider and horseman. He had to learn to ride in a competition like this, to manage the pressure, but also to manage the career and the planning of his horses. Step by step he became an elite rider and has quickly achieved many things with our team, first in CSIO3*, but then at the Longines EEF Final and then in 5*.”

“Edouard’s a hard worker and a very talented and clever rider but I am convinced that everything went so fast also thanks to the possibility given to him to integrate into the team in the [Longines] EEF Series and to learn, step by step, thanks to this concept. When he integrated into the team in 5* he was ready,” concluded Michel.

“I made a deal with my parents to finish my education so I am doing an online university degree in data science at London School of Economics and the University of London. I used to ride alongside studying but now I study alongside the horses.”

Edouard career has gone from strength to strength in recent years. With Quno he was part of the victorious Swiss team who triumphed on home turf in the 2022 5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup in St Gallen and they also represented their country at the World Championships later that year. This talent has also been recognised by Longines, who included Edouard as one of their ‘Friends of the Brand’ in 2022.

“It’s a huge compliment to have such an iconic brand as Longines supporting me. It’s incredible what they have done for our sport. They respect the tradition of our sport but also bring new innovations. I am very lucky to have support from them and hopefully there are many more years to come of our partnership,” said Edouard.

After a difficult winter with some of his horses struggling with injury, Edouard is gearing up for a busy 2024 which will include participating in the Longines EEF Series again and hopefully an appearance at the Olympics.

“The horses are all back in shape now and I’m looking forward to the season ahead. We are running out of time slightly for the Olympics but it’s always a goal. As an athlete if you are not working towards the Olympics you are lying, it’s the Holy Grail of sport and my biggest goal. If Paris doesn’t work out then I will aim for the next one,” concluded Edouard.

Edouard enjoyed success from a young age, winning the under 25 Grand Prix event in Chevenez when he was just 16, and represented Switzerland in three Junior European Championships riding Cortino 46. At the end of his time in the junior ranks he knew he wished to pursue a career as a showjumper and asked Thomas Fuchs, who trained the Swiss junior team, if he knew any good stables in the Zurich region.

“The answer was yes as Thomas said his stables were located 30 minutes outside Zurich. I moved to keep my horses with the Fuchs in 2017 and I have been there ever since. Initially I rode some of their horses as well but now I focus solely on my own horses,” said Edouard who juggles riding with studying.

Details on Eduoard’s horses mentioned in the article:

Balenciana K
Balou du Rouet x Grasso’s Gala
Owned by: Florence Schmitz, Mascha Krause, Team 40 Stable
Bred by: Dr Petra Krause, Klein Flintbek

Gamin Van’t Naastveldhof
Tannenhof’s Chacco Chacco x Feria Van’t Schrijlberg
Owned by: Arturo and Celine Fasana
Bred by: Patrick de Heer

Quno
Quo Vados I x Tora II
Owned by: Florence Schmitz, Natalie Schibli, Witt Pferdezucht GbR
Bred by: Witt Pferdezucht GbR

Karel Doorman
Dakar VDL x Fyenda P
Owned by: Arturo and Celine Fasana, Gian Battista Lutta, J Poppen
Bred by: J Poppen

Maestro S
Emerald van’t Rutershof x Cryolita S
Owned by: Arturo and Celine Fasana, Gian Battista Lutta,
Bred by: F van Santvoort

Top Lux
Lux Z x Ramona