Switzerland’s Romain Duguet comes into the final day of the FEI World Cup™ Final Omaha 2017 in prime position, sitting third behind McLain Ward and Gregory Wathelet, with just 4 penalties separating the three.

Duguet began riding at 5 years old, having always liked ponies. He trained with and worked for Jean Michel Gaspard and, for the past 4 years, has been under the guidance of Thomas Fuchs who has helped him step up to the major competitions.

Eleven years ago, Duguet began Ecurie Duguet with his wife, Christiana. They focus on developing young horses for the sport and then either sell or compete them. “It’s not easy every day,” says Duguet of balancing business with family and showing, “but we find time for the kids and are lucky people to what we love. I never imagined I could do what I do now but was always dreaming of it!”

When it comes to his training, Duguet emphasizes the importance of a happy horse. “I want my horses happy and to be in a good mood. I think if you have a good relationship with your horse you win more!” says Duguet.

Duguet certainly has been winning as of late. In 2015 he won the Saut Hermés Paris with Quorida de Treho, a victory that Duguet calls “a dream come true.” He also won the Helsinki World Cup Qualifier two years running in 2015 and 2016 and picked up a team bronze for Switzerland at the European Championships in 2015.

Though originally a native of France, Duguet switched to Swiss citizenship in 2012, for both family reasons and because his coach is Swiss and made the suggestion. “The French people were not sad. I was not so good in the time and they have so many good riders they don’t need me,” says Duguet of riding under another flag. Though now the French may be wishing they hadn’t let him go.

Duguet is lucky to have numerous top horses right now, including Quorida de Treho with whom he won the Saut Hermés and Helsinki qualifiers. Unfortunately, Quorida suffered a slight injury last winter so was unable to come to Omaha. Twentytwo des Biches, a 10-year-old Selle Francais mare, has stepped up in a big way. “She’s really easy to ride and has an easy demeanor, but can be fast if stressed,” says Duguet of his Omaha mount whom he purchased as a 5 year old, adding, “She always tries to give her best.”

It’ll be thrilling to see what Duguet and Twentytwo come up with tonight!

By Ashley Fairfield-Remeza