Henrik & King Edward: A Testament to the Spirit of Sports & the Power of Performance Metrics

In a sport of fine margins, one horse clearly stands alone.

By Sam Watson / @equiratings

January 25, 2024

In the world of sports, where passion and performance intertwine, there emerge stories that transcend the boundaries of the game. One such story is that of Swedish rider Henrik Von Eckermann and his majestic horse, King Edward. Today, as we celebrate their extraordinary journey to becoming the world's highest-rated horse since EquiRatings metrics began in 2010, we delve into the essence of what makes sports so inspiring.

Henrik & the King: A legendary duo

Henrik Von Eckermann's ascent to the pinnacle of equestrian sport is a tale of relentless determination and unyielding partnership with his equine counterpart, King Edward. This duo has not just conquered competitions; they have redefined excellence in equestrian sports. King Edward, with his stunning performances, has set a new benchmark on the EquiRatings Elo rating, the gold standard for evaluating equestrian performances since 2010.

This achievement is not merely a statistic; it's a symbol of the extraordinary bond and understanding between a rider and his horse.

Explosion & Tobago: Setting new standards in the sport.

The previous Elo record belonged to Ben Maher’s reigning Olympic Champion, Explosion W. They set a benchmark of 804 on the scale through a relentless display of top-level success through to their Olympic triumph in 2021.

The beginning of the 2023 season saw the sensational stallion Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z, ridden by Germany’s Daniel Deusser, match the 804 record at the age of 15. A reflection of a career that exemplified consistency and quality. 

King Edward’s Pinnacle of Performance

King Edward first broke the landmark barrier when winning on home soil at Stockholm, reaching 805 for the first time in the history of this equine rating. But it was towards the end of the season that a sublime run of form in Rome, Riyadh, Prague and Geneva took this all-time great to a reading of 809. Gains on the Elo scale become increasingly more difficult to achieve at the top end. The number two in the world, Harrie Smolders’ Monaco N.O.P, currently sits on a rating of 779.

In a sport of fine margins, one horse clearly stands alone.    

Celebrating the Spirit of Sports

This story is a powerful reminder of why measuring performance in sports is vital. Metrics like the EquiRatings Elo do more than just quantify achievements; they provide a narrative to the journey of athletes and their companions. In equestrian sports, where the synergy between rider and horse is everything, performance metrics help fans grasp the intricacies and skill involved in each performance. They allow us to appreciate moments like Henrik and King Edward’s rise to the top with a deeper understanding and admiration.

The journey of Henrik and King Edward is an embodiment of what sports are about - the pursuit of excellence. In sports, it's not just about the end goal but the journey towards it. It's about the early mornings, the relentless training, the appetite to compete, the resilience in defeat, and the desire to continuously learn and improve. This duo’s story encapsulates the essence of that journey. They remind us that in sports, as in life, perseverance, partnership, and passion are the keys to success.

Their story also underscores the evolution of sports analytics and how vital these have become in enhancing fan engagement and understanding. In a world inundated with data, the role of performance metrics in sports has become pivotal. They allow fans, athletes, and coaches alike to track progress, identify strengths and weaknesses, and celebrate achievements in a more meaningful way.

Henrik and King Edward's achievements have set a new standard in equestrian sports. They have shown us that when human and animal athletes come together in perfect harmony, they can achieve the extraordinary. Their story is not just about records and ratings; it's about the spirit of sports. It's about the beauty of a bond that transcends language and species. It’s about the magic that happens when two hearts beat as one in pursuit of a shared dream.

As fans of sports, we are privileged to witness such moments of greatness. They inspire us to appreciate the beauty of the sport and the dedication of its athletes. Henrik Von Eckermann and King Edward are not just champions; they are the embodiment of what makes sports so enthralling and life-affirming.
In celebrating their story, we celebrate every athlete who strives, every partner who supports, and every fan who cherishes these moments of pure sporting brilliance. Here’s to the spirit of sports and the eternal quest for excellence.


For more on the top horses currently in the sport, check out our podcast here.


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