Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) has been dreaming of winning a World Cup Final since he was a little boy. Saturday night in Omaha, that dream became a reality.

You might not think that a World Cup title would be so coveted for a man who already owns a pair of Olympic and World Championship gold medals. But for von Eckermann, this win hits different.

“When I was very young I always went to Gothenburg to watch the World Cup and it’s always been a big big goal and a dream for me to have my name on that trophy,” he shared. “So for me, it’s very special. After Geneva, we had this as a goal and I wanted to win it. Even [with] a fantastic horse, we all know it’s horses and it doesn’t always go [our] way, so that makes it even more special when we had a goal and we made it.”

They made it in style, as well.

In the opening round on Wednesday, the world no. 1 ranked rider and his phenom mount King Edward took the win as the final pair of 40 on course, throwing down the gauntlet as the ones to beat. Day two, they had an unexpected rail that kept them from jump-off, but still took a promising placing as the fastest four-faulter.

While a rail down is disappointing, von Eckermann saw the silver lining in his unlucky four faults. 

“After the second day where I had one down, of course I wasn’t happy when I came out, but after the jump-off went with only one point difference [in the standings], I saw it as quite positive. He jumped one round less. When I came out [Saturday], he felt better than every other day. He was fresh and he was really jumping good. We jumped very little in the warm-up because he felt amazing.”


While the final day was still short of perfection, it was all they needed. Nerves ran high as King Edward had another unlucky rail in the first half of the two round Final, with Pius Schwizer (SUI) soaring ahead as the leader going into the final top 20 round. King Edward returned second last in the order to deliver a crucial clear. Three rails by Schwizer handed the win to the Swedish rider and kept fans on their toes until the final minute.

The courses were not easy, but they produced a thrilling result. Designer Bernardo Costa Cabral saw only three clear rounds over the first track of the final day, but 18 pairs finished on four faults, meaning the horses were challenged, but still jumping superbly well. Seven jumped clear in the final round.

“It’s easy to say it was a great course because I won it,” von Eckermann said of Costa Cabral’s designs. “But he did it perfectly. It was good to the horses, it was exciting to the last rider, and [it was fantastic].”

Among the other horses jumping superbly was Monaco, with Harrie Smolders (NED), who took his second consecutive runner-up finish in an FEI World Cup™ Final. Representing the home nation, Hunter Holloway (USA) and Pepita Con Spita delivered a clutch clear in the final round to claim third-place honors on the podium.


Aptly named, King Edward knows to put his crown on before he steps in the ring, making himself just a bit taller as he takes on a big challenge.

“That’s also what makes him very, very special,” von Eckermann shared. “He’s so easy and relaxed. He’s a very small horse but then when he comes in the ring he grows five centimeters more and that makes the difference. It’s like starting an engine. It’s a special feeling.”

The Swiss rider follows a less-is-more strategy when it comes to preparing King Edward for championship competition. 

“We are just trying to keep him mentally happy and physically in the best shape he can be. In the [championships] I have a system that I follow: I just longe him. I never ride him before. I know him very well and I trust him. It makes the difference between a really good horse and a superstar, like he is.”


With over 7 million euro in prize money earned to date, von Eckermann has had an incredible career, earning 111 international victories and 270 podium placings, according to Jumpr App. And at age 41, there is likely much more to come.

More impressive still is his record with King Edward. The pair boasts a spectacular 70% clear round rate over 43 rounds at 1.60m. At 1.65m, and over 12 rounds, that average jumps to 75% with a 100% top 10 finish rate. At 13 years of age, King Edward is hitting his prime, too.

“He’s just getting better and better every day. The last round was the best round he did. As a rider when you sit on a horse like that and have this feeling that the horse is growing into it, it gives you self confidence. 

“I think I’m at the top of my career,” von Eckermann reflected. “So I really try to hold on to the moments. Every day I’m thankful for what I have and I really try to remember because it’s work every day. It’s good to sit down and be thankful for what we have because it’s not going to be forever. I just try to enjoy it.”

While von Eckermann reflects on his gratitude, King Edward now goes home for a well earned rest. Until the the team sorts out their next plan of attack, that is.

See the final results from the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final here.