Sweden’s von Eckermann reigns supreme with King Edward

He moved into the number one slot in the Longines world rankings last week, he helped his country secure Team gold for the first time last Friday night, and yesterday Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann jumped to Individual glory at the ECCO FEI World Championships 2022 in Herning (DEN) with his super-steed, King Edward.

Text FEI, Photo Therese Alhaug

The dynamic duo were under the ultimate pressure, out in front on the final day with two rounds of jumping still to do and less than a fence separating them from the four combinations chasing them on the Individual leaderboard. 

But this is a horse whose belief in himself and in his rider is second to none. The pair never dropped a pole on the way to helping clinch the Olympic Team title in Tokyo last summer. And this week they did it all again, flawless from start to finish. 

Belgium’s Jérôme Guery took the Individual silver medal and The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten claimed the bronze.

Eckermann was very grateful to the many Swedish supporters for not going wild when he entered the ring because King Edward is such a sensitive horse. And setting off with complete focus the pair delivered a copybook tour of this final 12-fence track to put the result beyond doubt. He could hardly believe he had precious gold in his grasp. In the 69-year history of the Jumping World Championship no Swedish rider had ever taken an Individual medal, and to make the first one a golden one was all the more special.

Talking about King Edward, he said, “he has jumped so many clear rounds and done so many good things, it’s just a privilege to ride him. I knew Jerome was clear so I could have no mistakes….I had a really good feeling from the first round so that gave me confidence and the horse felt as fresh as he was the first day.”

“I knew before I went in a fence down can happen so easily, but if I ride well and have a fault I can live with it. But I didn’t want to go in there and not go by my plan, so I stuck to it and it worked!” said the 41-year-old Swede.

Photo Therese Alhaug

He has jumped so many clear rounds and done so many good things, it’s just a privilege to ride him.

Henrik von Eckermann


Van der Vleuten jumped clear on the first two days of competition this week but dropped from seventh to ninth place with a mistake on Friday. 

“So I tried to keep my focus, I knew Beauville was in the right shape to do it, and I tried to believe in it and follow my own plan. I knew I needed two clear rounds today, but King Edward is unbeatable at the moment, he’s on a whole other level and all credit to Henrik to make it come true and to Jerome too!”, he said this evening. 

Van der Vleuten jumped clear on the first two days of competition this week but dropped from seventh to ninth place with a mistake on Friday. Photo Therese Alhaug

Meanwhile Guery reflected on his silver medal. 

“It’s like a victory for us, not only for me but all my team and supporters, my owner, my country and of course for my horse – he deserves this medal! He’s been so good for the last three years and in Tokyo he was amazing. When I ride him well he always does the job, when you are here it’s not just because you are a good rider, it’s because you have a fantastic horse! I’m so lucky to have the chance to ride him”, he said with emotion in his voice. 

That is because he owes so much to his friend and the horse’s former rider, Gaetan Decroix, who gave Jérôme the opportunity to compete the stallion when he became ill some years ago. The new partnership simply blossomed, and now both of Quel Homme’s riders share in the joy of his success.

Von Eckermann admitted he feels nervous before a big competition. ’It’s always the same with me, two hours before I’m really nervous, can’t eat or anything, but when I get up on my horse that turns somehow into focus and concentration and just trying to stay focused and to do the best round for my horse”, he explained.

And how does it feel to be the new world champion? It’s clearly taking some time to process that…

Happy family supporters. Photo Therese Alhaug
Therese Stub Alhaug
Therese Stub Alhaug


Therese is the editor of Equilife, and is truly dedicated to equestrian sports and horses. She started riding as a little girl, and enjoys her free time with her two horses back home. Portrait interview is her favorite topic, as it has the gift to inspire others through peoples stories, knowledge, training and general life-philosophy, and certainly, their lives with horses.

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