Switzerland hoping to see red in the Longines League of Nations™

With the inaugural season of the Longines League of Nations™ kicking off in February, over the next few weeks we will take a closer look at the 10 nations that have qualified to compete and be the first to hoist the new trophy at the Final in Barcelona.

Switzerland hoping to see red in the Longines League of Nations™

Pius Schwizer, one of the Swiss team who will compete at the upcoming first leg of the Longines League of Nations™ in Abu Dhabi. © FEI/Martin Dokoupil

Today, we look at Switzerland...

Jumping is a widespread discipline in Switzerland, with around 340 national and a dozen international events hosted every year. This popularity is undoubtedly assisted by the the success of Swiss Jumping athletes, which has seen them triumphing as winners of the Longines FEI European Championships at Riesenbeck (GER) in 2021, as well as being 3-time Team Olympic medallists. 

These successes inspire both national pride and aspirations for equestrians, coupled with the Swiss Federation’s ethos that optimal conditions enable great success. It is felt that the basis for later victories is laid with solid basic training and level-appropriate promotion of young talent - a task that rests on the capable shoulders of their new chef d’equipe, previous Dutch team assistant Peter Van Der Waaij. 



"Our fans will unite together and we will ask anyone to wear the Swiss red colour with pride!"

Peter Van Der Waaij



Van Der Waaij, who took over from Michel Sorg in January, does so with both enthusiasm and a deep sense of responsibility for the role, saying; “The new format with four riders in the first round and three riders in the second round adds an extra challenge as well, and definitely does not make it easier for a chef d’equipe! It could lead to some difficult decisions and it is hard to predict the outcome; we have seen over the years many times that the result in the first round is no guarantee for the second round. It is an interesting new aspect to the FEI Nations Cup format, and fans will find it very exciting to see if their nation can climb the ranks.”

We ask him what the Longines League of Nations ™ means to competitors, the sport, and the fans. 

Switzerland is renowned for precision and craftsmanship. How do you see the Longines League of Nations™ as an opportunity to highlight the Swiss commitment to excellence and attention to detail in equestrian sports?

"The Swiss team is always trying to excel in FEI Nations Cups and the newly launched Longines League of Nations™ will be one of the highlights of the season. Since the competition of the world’s best countries is of such a high level, the Swiss team will have to focus on excellence and detail even more for these shows. The Swiss riders have always fully prioritised FEI Nations Cups, and will continue to do so with the Longines League of Nations™".

In your opinion, what does the establishment of the Longines League of Nations™ mean for the sport of Jumping?

"The Longines League of Nations™ will take the sport globally to another level, since the world’s leading countries will compete against each other in three different continents. In this way, a world-wide crowd can be reached and Jumping fans from all ten competing countries and more will be thrilled to follow the competitions. For our team it will be a very exciting team since our home show St. Gallen will be part of the series and will even get more attention than it normally gets, which will be thrilling!"

Switzerland has a close-knit equestrian community. How do you plan to engage fans and younger equestrians into the excitement of the Longines League of Nations™, fostering a sense of unity and support?

"Swiss Equestrian is more than just riders – it is about family and friends and that is also how we like to approach our fans and our young equestrians. With St. Gallen as part of the series, the Swiss equestrian world is treated to another show of the very highest level with the world's very best countries competing against each other. In St. Gallen, our fans will unite together and we will ask anyone to wear the Swiss red colour with pride!"

Get ready to paint the town red for Switzerland as the league kicks off in Abu Dhabi on 11 February for the first leg of the new series.