Henrik von Eckermann and King Edward lost their touch.
Kidding, quite the contrary, but the Swedish world no. 1 did feel out of sync in recent weeks with his 2020 Tokyo gold medal and 2022 World Championship gold medal partner. After a brief two horse show drought, the 13-year-old King Edward is back on the top of his game. Just in time for the Longines Global Champions Tour of Rome Grand Prix.
“I had two shows that were not that great with King Edward, I lost a little bit of the feeling and there were a couple of things, like I changed to a hackamore, and the feeling that something is not really like it should be…I was almost getting a bit crazy because you know how it should be but you don’t really ‘get it’,” von Eckermann explained.
On Saturday at the historical Circus Maximus, von Eckermann and Edward battled it out over the Uliano Vezzani (ITA) designed course. The class fielded 40 competitive combinations, which culminated to an 11 horse jump-off. David Will (GER) put down an almost unbeatable time of 41.46 seconds with 11-year-old gelding My Prins van Dorperheide. For a moment, it looked like Will had the title.
That is until King Edward adjusted his crown. Leaving nothing on the table, von Eckermann took a swift gallop and didn’t spare a stride as they left out in the lines and shaved Will’s time down to 41.26s. With that, they won the lions share of the €440,000 purse.
“Now it was back how it should feel…and that for me is the most important thing. Of course winning is amazing, but that feeling when you feel that you are back and the horse is with you to 100%, the team you have that is everything, just everything,” said von Eckermann.
The podium was a touch crowded, however. Peder Fredricson (SWE) aboard 17-year-old Catch Me Not S and Andreas Schou (DEN) in the irons of 10-year-old gelding I Know tied for third on the exact same time of 42.27s.
Despite the wobble in London, von Eckermann and King Edward remain in a league of their own. It’s their second Grand Prix win along the LGCT tour after taking the home win in Stockholm, Sweden. According to Jumpr App, King Edward sports a 67% clear round and 71% top ten finish rate at 1.60m, averaging just 1.89 faults at the height. The pair has taken home more than 2.5 million euros in prize money over the course of his career.
The win in Rome is assurance that we’re still counting, and they’ve found their synergy once again.