Bryan Balsiger, Swiss precision
Penultimate part of our meeting with Bryan Balsiger.
Olivier de Coulon's stables in St-Blaise
You ride horses in both Saint-Blaise and Corcelles. What do your days look like?
B.B.: In the morning, I go to Olivier de Coulon's house in Saint-Blaise to ride 3 to 5 horses. The stable riders ride the other horses, especially Mélusine, who’s also my competition groom. They take care of the horses all day long and work them well on the flat, which is an asset, because I’m often at competitions and it’s important to have full confidence in the people working at home. There’s also Costel, who manages the stables. As it’s a private stable, there’s no one else there, so I can really focus. It's very nice to be able to focus solely on the horses or the way you ride. I’m fortunate to have an excellent team taking care of the horses: veterinarians Christian Struchen (who’s also an osteopath) and Alain Borioli, and also farrier Yvain Bachmann, who works with Julien Houser, Steve Guerdat’s farrier, as well as dentist Sébastien Moine and saddler Eric Guiberteau. In the afternoon, I come back to Corcelles, to our family’s stables, where I ride three more horses, then I also give some lessons to the boarders. And if needed, I help my brother.
So, your brother Ken runs the stables?
B.B.: Ken completed a farming apprenticeship, then he left for a year to ride at Jane Richard Philips' before returning to the family stables three years ago. We’ve always had the desire to come back here. We’ve been working with Mirco Morelli since the beginning of the year when we opened our riding school. He’s a childhood friend who started riding here also. But Ken is the main manager of the riding school. He also takes care of the young horses. The arena was enlarged so that it was more useful, and additional stables were built. For my part, I am currently focusing on sport, but I also give a few lessons.
The family stables of Cudret
With two brothers competing in the same sport, you’d imagine there would be a certain rivalry, right?
B.B.: No, not between Ken and me. We’ve always wanted to beat each other, but in the spirit of competition. There’s no rivalry. I’m always happy for him when he gets good results. I'm also lucky knowing that he manages things perfectly well at home. And since we really have these great facilities, it's important to have someone like him to manage it all.
Ken Balsiger and Héros du Roumaillard CH (by Hickstead and Cento)
Ken made a name for himself last year at the World Young Horse Championships in Lanaken...
B.B.: Indeed! He has very good young horses, including Héros du Roumaillard, an 8-year-old half Swiss warmblood by Hickstead and Cento, with whom he was 8th at the 7-year-old World Championship in Lanaken. This is exceptional for a Swiss bred horse. This opened the doors to the CHI in Geneva last December where we competed together in the Défi de la Relève, an event modelled on a Nations Cup event, where the best riders in the world challenge a team of young riders and young Swiss horses. Ken and I were riding two Swiss horses and achieved two clear rounds. It was incredible to share this over the most beautiful indoor track in the world. I hope he also gets to compete at 5* level one day (editor's note: Ken Balsiger and Héros were 6th in the Grand Prix National de Crête, a 150-155cm event, on June 8, their first course at this level), because he’s a very good rider and deserves it.
Tell us about your horses based at home, in Corcelles...
B.B.: There’s obviously Twentytwo des Biches (editor's note: she was 2nd in the World Cup Final in 2017 in Omaha with Romain Duguet and a Team Bronze medalist in 2017 at the European Championships in Gothenburg) who is coming back into work slowly after an injury. She can start training over cavaletti again now and I think that in one to two months she’ll be able to resume competition. There’s also Charles Froidevaux's two horses, Last Drink, who placed at the national Grand Prix, and Corino du Champ, a 9-year-old Swiss warmblood that I’ve been riding since he was 3 years old. I hope to be able to go a long way with him. I’ll also be riding Urbanus Z (by Ugano Sitte and Voltaire), a 6-year-old that Ken took to the Swiss Horse Finals in Chevenez last year.
To be continued tomorrow...