Just over a week ago, 2008 Swiss Olympic team bronze medalist and European team gold medal winner Pius Schwizer posted a heartfelt 20th birthday message to his beloved longtime horse, Ulysse. Pius describes how, after all Ulysse has done for him—including helping him earn a World Number One ranking in 2010—he will always have a place with Pius at his stable, where he is currently competing in smaller classes with Pius’s wife, Florence. He concludes: “Thank you for everything my friend, I love you forever.”

In addition to the obvious affection he shows for his horses, Pius Schwizer is known among his fellow riders as a tireless competitor and for his impressive speed in the jump-off. In more recent years, Pius has also earned a reputation for his consistent ability to produce top-ranked horses for riders on both sides of the Atlantic.

Yet despite this extensive list of talents, it’s clear Pius Schwizer maintains a good sense of humor, even, occasionally, at his own expense. Here, he answers our Twenty Questions.

1. At what exact moment did you fall in love with horses?

I discovered horses as a child thanks to my father, who was a very enthusiastic hobby rider.

2. For riding, do you prefer black boots or brown boots?

Definitely black, it is more elegant on the white breeches.

3. If you could do any other equestrian discipline what would it be and why?

I would love to try eventing. I love the fact that you have to be good in three disciplines, and I love challenges.

4. What is the most embarrassing thing to have ever happened to you while riding?

It was in Geneva. I was riding a super careful horse, Coolman. The triple combination was made of a vertical, vertical, oxer and the horse was always jumping really high over the combination. The oxer became really wide, and he landed middle of it. I made a summersault in the air over the horse and landed on my feet. It was highly spectacular. We did not get hurt and all the people applauded.

It was also quite embarrassing in a grand prix in ’s-Hertogenbosch with Toulago when one of the reins broke and I was about to ride a clear round.

5. What is the most inspiring thing to have ever happened to you while riding?

People always told me when I was riding in a national competition that I would never reach a certain level, or that I would stay stuck at the 1.40 level. My goal was always to be, for at least one time, the number one in the world, and I’m very proud that I reached that goal.

6. What is your favorite #TwoHearts Moment of your season?

Of course, Big Star and Nick Skelton finally winning a very well deserved medal. Talent, work, and determination were rewarded.

7. What was the hardest lesson you have had to learn in your riding?

I was very often disappointed by people who made promises they never kept. Some people pretended to be sponsors but they just used me, others pretended they loved the horses but they were in love with the money.

8. Who is your mentor and why?

Achaz von Buchwaldt. He was always a very kind and very humble person, despite the fact that he was an amazing rider and knew a thousand things about horses and equestrian sport.

9. If you could ride a horse from the past, who would it be?

I would love to ride Hickstead. He was a genius and did incredible things with Eric Lamaze.

10. If you could ride a horse right now, that is not your own, who would it be?

Taloubet Z, because he has everything, can do everything, and has a special character.

11. How do horses keep you grounded in the industry that you live/work in?

With horses, every day there are new challenges to face and for that reason, it is never boring.

12. What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Coca-Cola 😉

13. When were you most happy on a horse?

In Zurich with Carlina in 2010, when I became number one in the world.

14. If your horse(s) were a famous person, who would they be?

• PSG Future would be Johnny Depp
• Balou Rubin R would be Robbie Williams
• Leonard de la Ferme CH would be Gérard Depardieu
• Askaria would be Angelina Jolie
• Electric Z would be Nicole Kidman
• Lester would be Ed Westwick

15. What is one piece of riding clothing or equipment you could never do without?

A belt. Otherwise, I have the feeling that I would lose my breeches.

16. What is your helmet of choice and why?

GPA because I feel safe and it is very comfortable.

17. Which famous clothing brand do you wish would come out with an equestrian line?

Nike!!! I’m in love with their clothes and I’m sure they could make very elegant and comfortable riding clothes.

18. What is your biggest splurge to date when it comes to your riding and/or horse(s)?

I’m crazy about bits. I have more than 2,000 at home.

19. What is the best piece of riding advice you have ever received and who from?

Less is more. Also from Achaz [von Buchwaldt], who told me you can’t win all the classes. You need to set goals and come to a specific show with a specific goal for a specific horse.

20. What is your life motto?

Never give up!

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