Yannick Jorand continues his stealthy ascent

19 September 2019Author : Oriane Grandjean

How do you organize your daily life? 

I live in the center of Geneva with my spouse, I work in Geneva, and my stables are in neighboring France, in Feigères, where we lease some boxes. 

What do you do for work?

I work at my parents' accounting firm, which I am gradually taking over. The company has about ten employees. 

Does that give you enough time to ride? 

I ride in the evening, after work, and on weekends especially. When we’re competing abroad, I have to leave on the Wednesday, so I work hard at the office on Mondays and Tuesdays. I always have my computer with me, even at competitions. I sit in my truck and take care of urgent business and make phone calls.

Is it an advantage or a disadvantage to have a job outside of your sporting career? 

A bit of both. It allows me to not have to focus all my attention on riding and to have some perspective, especially when things aren’t going as well as expected. These two activities are complementary. And since I do things to 200%, the horses would quickly get tired of seeing me at the stable all day! And in the office, everyone would be exhausted from having me on their backs all week. I'm not really the type to take five minutes for a coffee. Obviously, if I could have a few more horses, that would be ideal, because having a large string of horses would allow me to be more competitive.  

Is it essential for you to have a job and practice your sport while maintaining your amateur status? 

Yes, I studied with the idea of always having a job concurrently as a guarantee. I will never be Steve Guerdat, so I don't want to be left with nothing when my sporting career ends. When you’re young, you can get by on not very much, but at some point, that’s no longer possible. I didn't want to just focus on riding.

We’ve spoken about Cipetto quite a bit, but what about your other horses? 

I have a 6-year-old, Daylight vh Maressahof Z (Diamant de Semilly), which we acquired at the beginning of the year with another owner. He's a little green, but I think he's going to be my horse of the future. He really has all the ability needed. I also have Dominka B (Zacharov), an 11-year-old stallion, but he got injured earlier this year and is still recovering. Every time we start training him again, he gets hurt by doing something stupid. He should be back by the end of the year. 

By retaining ownership of your leading horses, it must be a pleasant guarantee of keeping them...

Yes and no, because you can still receive offers that you can’t refuse. We’ve also got to think of the future and decide to sell from time to time. But on a daily basis, there is obviously less pressure, which allows us to take our time and do the best by our horses. 

Have you received any offers for Cipetto? 

Yes, but I've been able to refuse them up ‘til now. 

What does your program look like for the end of the season?

First there will be the Moroccan tour. We have a good team and I hope we can defend last year’s victory in Rabat. I’d like to be able to compete in Geneva again, over that incredible track, and make up for last year.

Yannick Jorand will have the pleasure to walk the Rabat track again during the Morocco Royal Tour 

And what are your long-term goals? 

I don't have a specific goal, because I’ve always wanted to go as far as I can. Like everyone else, I dream of being able to ride the mythical tracks, as I was able to do in Rome and Spruce Meadows. So, Aachen remains one of my dreams. That said, you still have to be realistic, they’re very difficult competitions, and if you go there, you have to be prepared. Places are also limited, because we have so many good riders in Switzerland. I hope I can continue doing some 5* events, as I have had the chance to do this year. The problem, when you only have one horse, is that you’re not placed well enough in the world rankings, and even access to 4* events is difficult. The only way to take part in a 5* event is to take part in competitions in Switzerland or CSIOs, but those are competitions in which places are reserved for the best, and that’s quite normal. I hope to be as lucky as I have been this year. 

Why do you think Switzerland has so many good riders? 

It’s true, we’re a small country and that we have many good riders along with our two lynchpins Steve Guerdat and Martin Fuchs. Even our second and third tier teams are strong. There are obviously dynasties of riders who have raised the bar, who have allowed the sport to progress and who have motivated those that have come after them. They probably helped some riders start out. We’re also a country with three distinct regions, a peculiarity that gives our riding a rare balance: it combines aspects from the French, German and Italian equestrian schools. Maybe that's what makes us so strong...

What is your view of the sport now that you’re exploring the top level? 

The top level still makes me dream as much as ever. It’s wonderful to be able to access these competitions. It's light years away from what I'm used to. When you think that a course is technical, for example, it's nothing compared to a 5*. You think you're a fast 3* rider, but it's nothing compared to the speed ridden at the 5* level. It's really the jockey that makes the difference. You can see that they’re used to the height and the technicality of the courses while I, when I arrive, have to step up quite a bit. I like to stay childlike when I arrive at these historic competitions, these tracks where great sporting moments have taken place, and when I see all these legendary riders, I’m fascinated and moved. 

AuthorOriane Grandjean