Wolfgang Niggli (SUI), one of the most eminent figures in international Dressage, passed away on Sunday October 30 at the age of 89.
Wolfgang Niggli won his first junior Dressage competition in 1937. He went on to compete in Jumping as a teenager and rode in Steeplechases before studying engineering at the Zurich Technological Institute and becoming a part-time riding officer in the Swiss cavalry.
In 1947, he took the opportunity of being based close to France’s prestigious military equestrian school in Fontainebleau to perfect his riding and competed in many Jumping and Dressage competitions, as well as Steeplechasing.
After working in the USA for several years as an engineer, Wolfgang Niggli returned to Switzerland where he became Vice President (Construction) of the North Eastern Swiss Power Company, but still found time to indulge his passion for equestrian sport.
In 1957 he became a Swiss national Dressage Judge. Four years later he became a member of the Swiss National Equestrian Federation’s Dressage Committee and was Chairman of the Committee from 1964-1973.
During this period he was also Chef d’Equipe for the Swiss team at numerous international competitions, including the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
In 1964, Wolfgang Niggli became an FEI International Dressage Judge and served on the FEI Dressage Committee from 1973-1976 and again from 1979-1981. He was Chairman of the FEI Dressage Committee from 1981-1993 and remained an honorary member of the FEI Bureau until the time of his death.
Since 1964 up to his retirement from the FEI Dressage Committee in 1993, he judged at numerous international competitions and at three Olympic Games.
In recent years, he was dedicated to helping riders around the world by running clinics using his long experience and knowledge of the sport.
The FEI expresses its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Wolfgang Niggli and to the Swiss equestrian community.