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          The Smits family: interview with Swiss excellence

          Tuesday, June 20, 2023

          If there's one family of riders in Switzerland you can't afford to miss, it's the Smits family.

          The Smits family: Edwin Smits in show jumping

          Edwin Smits, an internationally renowned rider, is a member of the Swiss team. Born in the Netherlands, he first represented the Netherlands before moving to Switzerland. He won the Oliva GP3* with Farezzo in 2022.

          Dehlia Oeuvray Smits, his wife, is a rider, equestrian center manager and president of the Challenges de Chevenez. Thanks to a very good pillar of horses, Dehlia has achieved magnificent results in the biggest international competitions: Aachen, Calgary, Geneva, St. Gallen, La Baule and Dublin among others.

          Bryan and Mike Smits, aged 17 and 13 respectively, are already performing in national and international competitions.

          Bryan Smits took part in his first Junior Nations Cup, riding Candy von Hof at Fontainebleau 2022. The youngest, Mike, competed in the Children's Nations Cup at the C.H. de wolden with his handsome bay Lantaro von Hof.

          A shared passion for horses has brought Dehlia and Edwin together. From training courses to international competitions, their stable has built a solid reputation and made a name for itself in the equestrian world.

          We visited them in March 2023 in Switzerland, where Edwin and Bryan discussed their ambitions for the coming years, as well as their views on wearing airbags.

          Table of contents

          The Smits family, from training to Swiss excellence

          Can you tell us about a typical day at the stables?

          Bryan : At the moment I'm still an apprentice. In the morning I do the boxes, look after the stables and ride a few horses. I ride 6 horses in a day. In the afternoon, I ride my horses and in the evening, I do the boxes.

          Edwin : When I arrive at the stables in the morning, I take care of the schedule and then start riding. I tend to ride 4/5 horses in the morning and 1 or 2 horses in the afternoon. The rest of the afternoon is devoted to business, videos, etc...

          Edwin and his son Bryan, meeting Swiss excellence

          What's your fondest equestrian memory?

          Edwin : I have many fond memories, sport has given us so much. We've had a lot of grand prix horses that have gone all over the world, to great riders. My fondest memory is competing in Aix la Chapelle with my wife. We won as a couple in Aix la Chapelle, and those are incredible memories. Now of course there are the children and their good results. It motivates us even more to continue in everything we do. I think those are the most beautiful memories.

          Bryan I have two kinds of beautiful memories. Firstly, my great results in competitions, the great victories. But I also remember the progress of my horses. Seeing the fruits of our labor pay off in competition is priceless.

          What's your biggest dream on horseback?

          Bryan : I have a lot of dreams, I think you need ambition. But what would give me great pleasure would be to take a horse from our stud, or at least one that started out here at the stables in Chevenez, to the biggest events. That would be a great goal for me.

          I have a lot of dreams, I think you need ambition

          Edwin: For me, it's a bit of the same thing. We've already seen a lot of horses come through the stable, from our breeding program, and finish in 5* Grand Prix. It's already magnificent. My personal goals would be to stay active in the sport for a few more years, stay fit, and give a lot of support to the children, to prepare them for the future.

          What are your short- and medium-term goals? And for the coming season?

          Edwin : For the coming seasons, I still have a very good mare Fleur Sinnaa, who competed in Basel and the 5* in Geneva last year, and even in St Galles. This mare has evolved a lot, and I think I'll be able to do a few Nations Cups with her, as well as Grand Prix events.

          Then, the plan would be to take good 7 and 8 year old horses to major competitions, to help them progress and get them ready for the top level later on.

          Bryan I'm lucky enough to have several extraordinary horses at the moment. So I hope that this犀利士 his year will be a fine one. I'm thinking of the European championships at the end of the year, which would be a great goal. But in general, what I'd really like is to place in a 2* Grand Prix or a ranking.

          Find out more about the Chevenez equestrian center and the horses on sale on the dedicated website.

          Seaver has recently become a partner of the Smits family, ensuring their safety on horseback.

          In general, what do you think of airbags for horse safety?

          犀利士 ze-large is-resized">

          Edwin When the first airbags came out, I was like everyone else: I was a bit skeptical, wondering what we were going to do with them. Then came the full-face helmet, then the airbag... Where do we stop with protection? But now.., I can see that the airbags are nice and discreet.I really don't mind seeing an airbag on or under a competition jacket. But then again, I'm not that young anymore, so I need to protect myself a bit more, and I'm really thinking about the next generation. When there's a chance to protect even more with beautiful, safe equipment, I think it's a good opportunity.

          Bryan : At first, I was a bit sceptical about the airbags because they looked so big on the rider. It's not something that really appealed to me. But now I think that after a big fall, I'd be happy to have an airbag!

          What do you think of the SAFEFIT by Seaver airbag? What are its advantages?

          He's discreet, so he doesn't feel too competitive.

          Edwin : It's very pleasant, it doesn't bother you at all, it's like a little vest you wear. What bothered me at first was the gas cartridge, which took up a lot of space. But once I was riding with the airbag, it didn't bother me at all!

          Bryan : I really like it! I wear it very regularly, and I feel more serene when I wear it. It's discreet, so it doesn't feel like too much of a contest.

          Introduce the team who will be wearing the SAFEFIT airbag?

          Mike Smits, competing with the SAFEFIT airbag
          Mike Smits wears the SAFEFIT by Seaver airbag

          Edwin : First of all, there's Bryan and Mike, my sons. Mike is 13 years old and is starting out in the children's category with good results, already winning his events. He has already used the SAFEFIT by Seaver airbag before. He had a fall recently and fortunately he was wearing the airbag, which protected him well! We're reassured.

          Then, thanks to this partnership, we're also going to equip the house riders, the grooms who take the horses for rides, the staff... We want to protect everyone.

          You'll be wearing the airbag both at home and in competition. Do you prefer to wear the airbag over or under your competition jacket?

          Edwin : It depends which way feels better. Maybe under the jacket you can feel the gas cartridge a bit more... It's worth a try!

          Bryan : I preferred to have it under the jacket, simply for the visual aspect. I'd like my jacket to show. Maybe it's distracting underneath ... it's a matter of testing, we'll have to see what's more pleasant.