“Having one’s name on the winner’s board in Aachen would be fantastic!”

As of Friday, the show-jumper Martin Fuchs will be entering the ring in the next leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. We spoke to the Swiss show-jumper about his idols, his successful grey horses, Clooney and Leone Jei and of course about the CHIO Aachen.

You won the second Major in your career at the CHI Geneva in 2021. What does this victory mean for you?
A victory in a Rolex Grand Prix is always something very special. It is something every rider wants to achieve. For me, winning in Geneva was fantastic, not only because my second win in the Rolex Grand Prix happened at the show I love so much, but also because it now means I am the contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping again.


Does this contender role put you under more pressure?
No, not really. Together with the Championships, the four Majors are always the highlight of the year for every rider. So, one always tries one’s very hardest and strives to achieve the best possible results. It doesn’t make any difference whether one is the Grand Slam contender or not. So, I will try to do nothing else than simply give my best. And then we’ll see, how that turns out for me.


What is the special appeal of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping for you?

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is the most prestigious series our sport has to offer. The four Majors are not only the best shows in the world, they also form the ultimate challenge for us riders. Different stadiums and indoor arenas of varying dimensions and peculiarities have to be mastered to pull off the feat of winning the Rolex Grand Prix of Show Jumping. This offers us the unique opportunity of writing history in our sport.


You spend around 45 weekends a year travelling due to your sport. What is home for you?
Switzerland, of course. But when I am travelling with my horses, I feel at home anywhere in the world.


Do you remember your early riding days?
I inherited the love to horses and our sports, so to say. My whole family are successful riders. I already knew at an early age, that’s what I wanted to do as well. I got my first pony when I was seven years old and I was extremely lucky that my parents shared their expertise with me. The basic knowledge I learned from them was worth its weight in gold. I am still profiting from that today.


Do you have any idols?
My father is, of course, a huge role model for me. But so is Steve Guerdat too. As a young lad I often used to accompany him and help him at shows. Over the time a great friendship has evolved. And today, even though we compete at many shows alongside each other, I still look up at him. It is fascinating how he has been so successful over the years with so many different horses.


In Clooney you have a horse that significantly helped you find your way into top competition sport. Last summer a serious injury ended his career. How is he today?
Yes, I really have Clooney a lot to thank for. He taught me so much and over the years we were able to celebrate so many wonderful victories. That makes me incredibly proud and grateful. Now, after his accident out at grass, I am pleased that we can give him something back. He really is the centre of attention here at the yard and he is thoroughly enjoying his retirement.


In Leone Jei, a further grey horse with amazing scope, you have found a new partner. What do you think he is capable of achieving?
Leone Jei is an incredibly motivated horse. He disposes of all the qualities a horse needs to be successful on the top international circuit. He particularly feels at home in big arenas like at the CHIO Aachen. As a youngster, he already proved that he loves the Soers as much as I do. That gives me a lot of confidence that he is a horse I could make it onto the famous winner’s board with – like Uncle Markus did in the year 2004.


Which horse do you plan to compete with at The Dutch Masters?

My plan is to take Chaplin with me to ‘s-Hertogenbosch. He is a very fast, agile and careful horse and he has already proved very often that he feels at home in such indoor arenas like the Brabanthallen. He truly is a real fighter with a huge heart. And he gives me the confidence that I can risk all in the decisive moment.


What distinguishes The Dutch Masters?

As is the case with each of the four Majors, The Dutch Masters has its very own special atmosphere and offers us riders fantastic conditions. For me it is one of the best and most attractive indoor shows in the world and I am very much looking forward to competing there again.


The photo shows show-jumper Martin Fuchs and his top horse Leone Jei. (Photo: CHIO Aachen/ Jil Haak)

The photo shows show-jumper Martin Fuchs and his top horse Leone Jei. (Photo: CHIO Aachen/ Jil Haak)