Written by Martin Fuchs
The first time that I heard your name, I was on a hack in the woods talking to my friend Michael Cristofoletti. He told me that you were an exceptional horse, and that you could be a great fit for me. When I first saw you in person, my dad was not very happy about the way that you looked – your hanging stomach and low back didn’t please him at all. He didn’t even want to let me sit on you! But when you showed us your great trot, we gave it a try. As soon as I jumped a fence with you, I knew that you were going to be my top horse.
The first time that I took you on a hack at home, you didn’t like it at all. You spun me off; you were insecure and scared, and everything was new for you. It took you a long time to get used to hacking out, to get used to the environment, but I’m proud of the horse that you are now.
I remember the first competition that we went to together, a small national show. You jumped a great first round and gave me a great feeling. Our first international show was at Treffen in Austria. I remember jumping you on the first day and having an unbelievable feeling. I proudly showed all of the riders the video of your round. As an 8-year-old, you proved what you had in you when you had to take the place of one of my other horses that was injured before the 2014 Swiss Championships. You managed it perfectly and you even won that event, which was very impressive. Ever since then, you have had great results throughout your impressive career.
It was really scary when you colicked in 2018 and had to go into the clinic for surgery. I was nervous that you wouldn’t make it, but I knew that you would fight through it the best you could. You’re the toughest horse that I’ve ever had and I knew you would be the fighter that you are. You managed it like a pro, coming back strong after your colic surgery. You were great throughout the whole process. You were calm and took care of yourself. At the beginning, I was worried that you would be too fresh and put your scar in danger, but you never did. The first time that I rode you again you felt great, as if nothing ever happened. The first time that I jumped with you after your surgery, it felt like nothing had changed. Since the surgery, you have grown so much as a horse and you have come back stronger than ever.
The 2019 Longines FEI European Championships in the Netherlands was a very exciting horse show for the two of us. We ended up with a rail and we were set pretty far back in 20th place, but I had so much trust in you. I know that when I don’t make mistakes you leave all of the rails up – that’s what we did for the remaining rounds. You didn’t touch a pole and you wanted that win as much as I wanted it. You deserved it even more than I did.
Looking back, our win last year in Geneva meant so much to me in front of our home crowd. You gave your best and really wanted to win, and I was so happy that you could be crowned the Rolex Grand Prix champion in Switzerland — that win helped me earn the title of World No. 1, and for that I am extremely grateful.
We all know that you can be a bit angry in the stall, and we can only corrupt you with food! That’s okay because I know that you are not a mean horse, even if you show your teeth or pin your ears way back (P.S. Do you forget you don’t have front teeth?).
I cannot yet imagine a career without you, but I know that we have many more successful years to come. You’re the horse that has made me into the rider that I am now. You have taken me so far and have brought me so much success and joy. Of course, I know that in the future you will retire. I am comforted knowing that you will have a great life in retirement one day, enjoying what you like to do the most – eating and relaxing in the fields.
I know that any rider in the world would like to have you in their stable or would like to jump a course with you, so I feel really lucky that you are mine and that you are doing your best for me every time you go in the ring. I am extremely proud that, even though your career is not over yet, you have become the most successful horse in Swiss show jumping history. You are so careful and smart, you never want to touch a fence, and you give me all of your best in every ride. Thank you so much for that, Clooney.
Over the last seven years, the strong partnership between Switzerland’s 27-year-old Martin Fuchs and the 14-year-old Westphalian gelding Clooney 51 has prospered. In addition to their wins in 2019 at the Longines FEI European Championship and the Rolex Grand Prix in Geneva, the pair has earned countless international accolades together. Fuchs and Clooney 51 also earned two team bronze medals for Switzerland at the European Championships in 2015 and 2017, the individual silver medal at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, and second place at the 2019 Longines FEI World Cup Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden. Clooney 51 has earned over $3 million in prize money and five international championship medals throughout his career, securing the title as the most successful horse in Swiss show jumping history.
Photos courtesy of Martin Fuchs