After spending the 2018 season based in America in the lead-up to the FEI World Equestrian Games, Swiss Olympian Felix Vogg has decided to permanently call the U.S. home. He has officially set up a business alongside Caroline Martin and will be splitting the year between Ocala, Florida, and Riegelsville, Pennsylvania.
“The decision to stay in America was on one side because of Caroline, and on the other side to have the opportunity to train with Phillip Dutton and also with Boyd Martin,” Felix said.
“I like working with Caroline together. We have the same goals and the same mindset that we want to reach. It’s good to have someone every day who works with you together on the goals.”
At 28 years old, Felix already has extensive experience representing Switzerland at major championships. Following a four-year cycle of competing in the Junior & Young Rider Europeans, his longtime partner Onfire carried Felix to his first senior team at the 2013 European Championships in Malmö.
Felix competed in his first World Equestrian Games at Normandy in 2014 with Onfire, and the 2002 Thoroughbred gelding (Hand in Glove xx X Latinana xx, by Le Bavard xx) also secured a spot on the Swiss team for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
After making their Olympic debut, Felix and Onfire clinched the biggest win of their career at the Saumur CCI4*-L and represented Switzerland at the 2017 European Championships at Strzegom, which would ultimately be the horse’s final international competition before retiring.
Now Felix is looking ahead to the future of his career with an exciting string of horses he hopes to continue expanding in the U.S. His top horse, Colero, an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding (Captain Fire X Bonita, by Bormio xx), completed his first championships at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon.
Colero will now aim for his first CCI5*-L at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in April. While Felix hopes to represent Switzerland at the 2019 European Championships at Luhmühlen, his most pressing goal by far is to compete at his second Olympic Games next year in Tokyo.
“I will try to go for the Europeans, but my eyes are more on the Olympics because I have to qualify again as an individual, which isn’t that easy. I need points to qualify, so I have to pick quite carefully which competitions I ride in. I have to get good placings.”
Felix has a new horse in his string in Archie Rocks, who he purchased from Maya Studenmund in December. “Archie,” an 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Le Monde X Unbridled Diva, by Unbridled Jet), won the Plantation Field CCI4*-S and finished third in the Fair Hill International CCI4*-L with Buck Davidson last season.
Felix will also aim to qualify Archie Rocks for the Olympics, as well as Cayenne, a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Careful X Baroness, by Bayron) he bought from Finland late last year. Cayenne finished ninth in the Strzegom CCI3*-S with Elmo Jankari last fall and will make her U.S. competition debut this winter in Ocala.
As for the prospect of being based in the U.S. far away from his home country while he aims for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Felix said he has always had a bit of an independent philosophy when it comes to training.
“Switzerland is a small country in eventing and wouldn’t have a lot of funding. I think the best is always to go a little bit your own way and do the best you can. At the end you should do it for yourself instead of waiting for someone to help you. You have to try to make it as far as possible yourself.”
Andrew Nicholson was recently named the new coach for the Swiss team, and Felix will train with him at competitions and as the opportunity arises. In the meantime, Felix will continue to train alongside Caroline Martin and with Phillip Dutton out of his new base in the U.S.
Felix is actively taking horses for training and sales, as well as accepting students for lessons. You can contact him directly at [email protected]. We wish Felix the very best of luck in 2019 and beyond!