We have talked to Lukas Heppler, winner of two legs of the FEI World Cup 2016/2017 and 4th at the European Championship 2017 about his goals for the next season. Take a glance and train like the Swiss Champion!

About Lukas

Age: 24

Occupation/Education: Student of Economics

Nationality: Swiss

Horse(s): Colonel v. Forst, Ramazotti 155 from Cornelia Pikl

Lunger: Barbara Zรผrcher, Alana Sohm ๐Ÿ˜‰

Achievements in Vaulting:

2nd World Cup Final 2017

4th European Championships 2017

1st World Cup in Madrid &ย Salzburg 2016

5 x Swiss Champion

Started vaulting at the age of: 9

I couldnโ€™t live without: Being on the road!

Motto: You never fail until you stop trying!

1. How are you doing at the moment with your trainings?

It has been more calm for the last few weeks, since the European Championships are over. To prepare myself I had to commute between training on Ramazotti in Graz and being back home in Switzerland and training with my young horse Colonel, which did his first competitions this season. Weโ€™re currently preparing to compete at some more national competitions, especially with regard to getting more experience and to be ready for the qualifiers for the World Equestrian Games next year.

2. What are your goals for the remaining season/2018?

The last highlight of the current season will be the Swiss Championships at the end of September. During winter season I hope to be part of the FEI World Cup Vaulting again, where my goal is to qualify for the final for the seventh time in a row! And once in the final everything can happen, as all starts from scratch – I think weโ€™ve seen that already! The big goal for next year is to qualify for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon and get involved in the battle for the medals there!

3. What is ALWAYS in your training bag?

My horses are banana lovers so I canโ€™t show up in training without one ๐Ÿ˜‰

4. Are you a vaulting fashionista? How is your weirdest training pants?

Wouldnโ€™t say that: my collection consists almost exclusively of plain black training pants. However, I have one weird pair which is plain white. I was equipped with them for the opening ceremony of the CHIO Aachen 2014, where Switzerland was the guest nation. I never wore them ever since but I kept them as a souvenir!

5. Who makes your competition catsuits?

Jacqueline Kรถnigย has been doing them throughout my whole individual career. Itโ€™s always to a pleasure to work with her.

6. What model of shoes do you prefer and why?

Bleyer Nadia Zรผlow because the grip is good and I especially like the heel cushion.

7. Some vaulters use different surcingles for compulsories and freestyle, do you? If yes, why?

Iโ€™m perfectly fine with my ES Vario surcingle for all three tests.

8. Do you have sponsors? What is your relationship with them?

My biggest supporter is the national equestrian center (NPZ Bern), which also hosts the CVI Bern. Itโ€™s a very good and long-lasting relationships, as I have been training there and representing them at competitions for more than a decade now. I feel very thankful for all the support I receive and for the privilege to train in such an amazing environment!

9. Can you list the main products you compete with?

– Main surcingle: ES Vario 2000 (S-Grips)

– Pad: CWD Carbon Pad

– Shoes: Bleyer Nadia Zรผlow

10. If you had to invent a new product for the vaulting community, what would you create?

Invisible shin protectors.

11. What would you improve in the Vaulting World?

I would align the time limit for the freestyle to 1:20 min, as in the World Cup competitions. It makes the sport more attractive for the spectators and gives more freedom to the vaulters. To maintain the positive development our sport showed during the last few years, also in terms of media coverage, we have to make it as attractive as possible. Thatโ€™s why itโ€™s simple math from my point of view: We usually calculate 3 min or more per individual vaulter. So two thirds of this are used for entry and exit, salute and the trot round and only one third is used to show a freestyle on the horse. In other words: a spectator watching one hour of vaulting only experiences 20min of acrobatic on the horse. With a 1:20 min time limit itโ€™s at least 24 minutes. Baby steps – but certainly a move in the right direction!

12. Any surprise/announcement for us?

Iโ€™m going to debut as lunger soon ๐Ÿ˜‰