Tag Archives: CHI Geneva

Rider Watch: CHI Geneva 2022

(Photo: Rolex / Ashley Neuhof)

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping returns to CHI Geneva from 7-11 December 2022 with an action-packed schedule, including the 21st running of the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final on Friday evening and pinnacle class, the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon.

Held in the impressive Palexpo in Geneva, the world’s elite horse and rider combinations will tackle some of the toughest tracks of the year at is what is often considered the sport’s leading indoor show jumping venue. Taking part in this year’s show is a spectacular line-up of athletes including 17 of the top 20 riders, as well as 17 riders representing the home nation.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – Rider Watch

After his sensational win at in the CP ‘International’ at The CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament, Germany’s Daniel Deusser will be looking to continue his impressive form in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Majors, having won two of out the last three Grands Prix. Deusser will be aiming to continue his quest to become only the second person to have ever won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, following Scott Brash’s triumph in 2015. Deusser will also be joined by fellow countryman Gerrit Nieberg, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix held at CHIO Aachen earlier this year.

Home favourite and defending champion, Martin Fuchs, will be the one that everyone has their eyes on. Having won the last two editions of the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, the World No. 2 understands the precision, bravery, and athleticism required by horse and rider to be successful in this prestigious competition. Joining Fuchs is compatriot and three-time winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at this iconic venue, Steve Guerdat, as well as FEI World Championship teammates Edouard Schmitz and Pius Schwizer.

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© 2022 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Meet the Next Gen: Gilles Thomas

(Photo: Rolex / Ashley Neuhof)

You have had a great year; what has been your highlight?

I have an such an amazing year; it is hard for me to pick just one highlight! I had my first 5* victory in the King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead in July, which was amazing, and then coming third in the CP ‘International’ at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament was a fantastic result. Most recently being on the Belgium team and winning the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final was incredible for me. I don’t think I can choose just one of those moments!

What are you hoping to achieve between now and the end of the year?

I am hoping to ride at CHI Geneva – that would be amazing. Then in Belgium we have the have a 5* show which includes a FEI Jumping World Cup™, in Mechelen, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This show is always very important to Belgian riders, and my family are involved in the organisation of it, so I really hope I can have a good result in the FEI Jumping World Cup™ there.

What are your hopes and ambitions for 2023 and beyond?

My ultimate dream is to compete at CHIO Aachen; in my opinion, it is the best show in the world and the Rolex Grand Prix there is one of the most prestigious classes in the calendar. I am also aiming to compete in a Belgium senior team at a big championship. I have competed in Junior and Young Rider teams, but to be part of the Belgium team at the FEI World Championships or the Olympic Games and win a medal would be a dream come true.

After your great performance in the CP ‘International’, how will you prepare for CHI Geneva?

I’m not totally sure whether I will be competing there yet, but I hope that I will. They are two very different shows, but I would still take Aretino 13, as even though the arena at CHI Geneva is indoors, it is still very big. If I go to CHI Geneva, it will be the only indoor show that Aretino 13 competes in because he is a big horse and needs more space, so he suits outdoor arenas better. CHI Geneva is such an amazing show and so I will plan to take my three best horses if I go.

Read more here.

© 2022 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Inside the Rolex Grand Slam: 2022 Majors Preview

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof.

The 2021 show jumping calendar was filled with exceptional entertainment, featuring not only the sport’s most decorated competitors but also welcoming a new generation of future stars who shone brightly at the year’s four Rolex Majors. The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping continues to be at the forefront of every rider’s ambition, none more so than Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs, who starts the year as the Rolex Grand Slam live contender following his stunning victory at CHI Geneva in December.

Opening this year’s Rolex Major season in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands from 11-13 March is The Dutch Masters, the latest addition to the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. The largest indoor show in The Netherlands and one of two indoor shows on the Rolex Grand Slam calendar, The Dutch Masters brings a rich with traditions dating back to 1967. This year, show jumping’s very best riders will descend upon the Brabanthallen for four days of world-class competition, culminating in the Rolex Grand Prix on the show’s final day. Hosting the tightest arena of the four Majors, the trust between horse and rider is more crucial than ever, as the combinations navigate the sharp turns, which give them little room for error. Last year’s winner, Austrian Max Kühner, rose to the occasion alongside his talented 11-year-old gelding, Elektric Blue P, and in doing so claimed his first Major victory.

The second Major of the season, CHIO Aachen – often referred to as the ‘Wimbledon’ of the equestrian world – will once again take place in the North Rhine-Westphalia city in the west of Germany. Dating back to 1924, CHIO Aachen is a show steeped in history and continues to attract more than 350,000 knowledgeable fans across 10 exhilarating days of equestrian sport, which will this year run from 24 June – 3 July. One of the most prestigious competitions on the annual show jumping calendar, CHIO Aachen’s highlight class, the Rolex Grand Prix, takes place on the show’s final day and is the one every rider wants to win, etching their name into equestrian history on the iconic winners’ wall. 2021 saw Germany’s Daniel Deusser and his phenomenal mare, Killer Queen VDM, take home the spoils after fulfilling a lifelong dream to be crowned champion. Hot on Deusser’s heels was the young, up-and-coming American rider, Brian Moggre, who at 20 years old displayed incredible levels of skill and determination to fight off a field of former world number ones and Olympic, World, and European Individual champions to secure second place.

From 7-11 September, attention turns to Calgary in Canada for the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’. With a reputation of being one of the most demanding courses in the world, it takes a very special partnership to be victorious in the CP ‘International’. Steve Guerdat and his 13-year-old gelding Venard de Cerisy epitomised this, producing two precise and fault-free rounds, the only pair to go double clear and ultimately clinch the coveted trophy. The Rolex Grand Slam has fond memories of this Major, as it was here in 2015 that Great Britain’s Scott Brash became the first winner of the revered Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping following a flawless round aboard his legendary gelding, Hello Sanctos, a feat no rider has been able to emulate since.

The Major season culminates in Switzerland when riders return indoors to compete at CHI Geneva. Held from 8-11 December in the Palexpo complex, CHI Geneva is one of the most historic and prestigious international shows and has been voted the world’s best show jumping event a record nine times. Hosting the sport’s most accomplished riders, the Rolex Grand Prix is the highlight of the four days of elite competition. Local hero Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs rode to victory in 2021 with his 10-year-old gelding, Leone Jei, and made history by becoming the first rider of the competition to win consecutive editions after triumphing in 2019.

As the current live contender, Fuchs will be under the spotlight as he prepares to continue his Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey at The Dutch Masters. Could 2022 see a new Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping champion crowned?

Read more here.

© 2022 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Martin Fuchs Crowned Rolex Grand Prix Champion at CHI Geneva

Geneva, Switzerland, Sunday 12 December 2021 – Martin Fuchs riding Leone Jei claimed the final equestrian Major of 2021, winning the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix at the Concours Hippique International de Genève (CHI Geneva), becoming the first rider in the history of the competition to win consecutive editions, following his victory in Geneva in 2019.

The world’s elite competitors gathered at the Palexpo arena for the Geneva International Horse Show, of which Rolex has been the Main Sponsor since 1996. The event, steeped in history and celebrating its 60th edition in 2021, is traditionally a showcase of precision and consistency, qualities demonstrated in abundance by Fuchs in Switzerland over the weekend, and reflected in Rolex’s own commitment to perpetual excellence in its watchmaking and all other endeavours.

The winning combination highlighted the critical importance of harmony between horse and rider, how trust and communication are the foundation of any successful partnership and the ability to push beyond the known limits of performance.

The demanding first round set by world-renowned course designers Gérard Lachat of Switzerland and Louis Konickx of the Netherlands saw just six of the 40 starters head through to the jump-off. First to go against the clock, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny set a fast but beatable time, leaving the door open to those who followed. Fuchs was next to go and produced a precision-perfect round aboard the nine-year-old Leone Jei, setting the time to beat of 41.54 seconds, almost two seconds faster than Kenny.

Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington followed Fuchs into the arena, and put in a fearless effort, shaving 0.19 seconds off the time, only to accrue four faults at the very last fence. Those that followed were unable to match the accuracy and pace of Fuchs, with Harrie Smolders from The Netherlands and Max Kühner from Austria finishing second and third, respectively.

Commenting on his win, the Swiss rider said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to get my second victory here in Geneva. Leone Jei jumped great in both rounds. I knew that the jump-off suited me very well; I knew that I could leave out strides and that it would be difficult for my colleagues to do the same because Leone Jei has such a massive stride. I’m delighted to once again be the live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.”

Equestrian fans will now eagerly look forward to the next Major, The Dutch Masters in March 2022, when Fuchs will be the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the sport’s ultimate challenge that rewards any rider who wins three consecutive Grand Prix at the four Majors.

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0) 22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0) 7748 186 833

Martin Fuchs Wins Rolex Grand Prix, Becomes New Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof.

The world watched on in anticipation, as the final Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major of 2021 – the Rolex Grand Prix – played out at CHI Geneva in Switzerland, with 16 out of the world’s current top 20-ranked riders each staking their claim for a distinguished place in equestrian history. The culmination of four days of the highest level of show jumping, the Rolex Grand Prix would be decided over one round and a jump-off, should more than one rider go clear.

Representing 15 nations, the international field of 40 horse and rider combinations included the esteemed winners of the year’s previous three Majors: Max Kühner from Austria (winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters); Swiss Steve Guerdat (winner of the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’); and Daniel Deusser from Germany (winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen). As Live Contender, Deusser would settle for nothing less than victory in order to keep his Rolex Grand Slam journey alive, while Kühner and Guerdat would be looking to trigger the ‘two out of four’ bonus, which they were both in contention for.

As well as Deusser and Guerdat, Rolex was represented in CHI Geneva’s headline class by a further six of the world’s very best equestrian athletes, including Harry Charles (GBR), Bertram Allen (IRL), Martin Fuchs (SUI), Kent Farrington (USA), Kevin Staut (FRA), Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping champion, Scott Brash (GBR), and Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA).

After a little over an hour, none of the first 23 partnerships to tackle the 14-obstacle, 18-effort test were able to go clear, with the majority struggling to master the course’s tricky combinations, particularly the oxer at 13a. However, that was soon to change when Ireland’s Darragh Kenny produced a faultless round, much to the delight of the well-informed crowd. Kenny’s clear was immediately emulated by local rider, Swiss hero Martin Fuchs, who cleared the final vertical to rapturous applause. Co-designed by Swiss Gérard Lachat and Louis Konickx from The Netherlands, the course then claimed the scalps of a trio of top-level riders, including Deusser, Guerdat, and reigning Olympic Individual champion, Ben Maher. The opening day’s winner of the Trophée de Genève, American Kent Farrington, was once again on top form, immaculately negotiating the course with his 15-year-old mare, Gazelle, and booking his place in the jump-off. After another handful of combinations were unable to go clear, it was Kühner and his brilliant 10-year-old gelding, Elektric Blue P, who made no mistake, ensuring they were still in the running for the non-consecutive ‘two out of four’ bonus. Representation in the jump-off from the United States was soon doubled when Laura Kraut and Baloutinue crossed the finish line without a fault. Shortly afterwards, Harrie Smolders became the final rider to go clear, and in doing so setting up a scintillating six-horse jump-off.

First to go in the jump-off, Kenny became the first rider to record a double clear. Next up, Fuchs and his nine-year-old Leone Jei made it two out of two, comfortably beating Kenny into second place by nearly two seconds in a time of 41.54 seconds. Farrington looked as though he would make it three out of three; however, after a typically blistering round, he was denied the honour after putting down the final Rolex vertical. Despite going double clear, Kühner was unable to knock Fuchs off top spot after the Austrian finished 0.68 seconds off the pace. With Kraut putting two fences down, Fuchs’ destiny would lie in the hands of last to go, 41-year-old Smolders; however, the Dutchman fell agonisingly short, eventually finishing in second place, just 0.23 seconds off the time of 2021 Rolex Grand Prix champion and the new Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender, Martin Fuchs.

On his special and hugely talented nine-year-old gelding, Fuchs commented: “Leone Jei is very unique in the qualities that he has. The way that he jumps – he does it so lightly and effortlessly, which is impressive to see in a nine-year-old horse. He is very good in his head, he is so motivated, and he always wants to do his best, so I really appreciate having a horse like that in my stable and being able to look forward to the future together.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Ben Maher Wins 20th Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof.

Ten of the world’s very best show jumping athletes battled it out in the headline class on day two of CHI Geneva 2021, with each partnership vying to be crowned Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final champion in the 20th edition of this epic encounter. Contested over two rounds, the Gérard Lachat- and Louis Konickx-designed course would be the ultimate test of horsemanship, requiring a perfect balance of speed, precision, and harmony between horse and rider.

First to go, Frenchman Kevin Staut and his 14-year-old mare, Tolede de Mescam Harcour, were unlucky to put one fence down. Next up, current world number eight Jérôme Guery and his stallion, Quel Homme de Hus, crossed the finish line fault-free, much to the delight of the Belgian. Great Britain’s Ben Maher and his superstar gelding Explosion W followed Guery’s lead, making no mistake around the 12-obstacle test. Then followed a procession of five riders, Henrik von Eckermann, Steve Guerdat, Scott Brash, Kent Farrington, and Martin Fuchs, who were all unable to record a clear round. The last two riders out of the 10 starters – Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Swede Peder Fredricson – showed their class, breezing the course with ease, each without a fault.

A slightly shortened second round, made up of nine obstacles, awaited the evening’s competitors. As well as the half-time break giving the volunteers an opportunity to modify the course, the Geneva Arena’s spectators were treated to some sad but celebratory words from legendary Canadian rider, Eric Lamaze, as his adored 18-year-old mare Fine Lady 5 was retired. Lamaze and Fine Lady won the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final in 2016, so the setting for a final goodbye was very fitting.

First to go in round two, home favourite Martin Fuchs picked up another fault, while compatriot Steve Guerdat and partner Victorio Des Frotards were also unable to record a clear round. Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping champion, Scott Brash, made amends for his first round penalty and time fault, going clear, but accumulating a total of five penalties. 2017’s Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final champion, Kevin Staut and his stunning grey received a huge cheer from a delighted crowd after they went clear. Current world number one Peder Fredricson wasn’t to be so fortunate, picking up a second fault to finish on eight penalties. A stunning and assured round by Henrik von Eckermann and King Edward was enough to knock Staut off top spot. Uncharacteristically, Deusser’s mount Killer Queen VDM refused the second fence putting him out of contention. The penultimate pair to go, reigning Individual Olympic champion Ben Maher and Explosion W went brilliantly clear, beating von Eckermann into second place by nearly two seconds. All eyes were then on Jérôme Guery to cause a late upset; however, a fence down and a slower time saw him slot into third, meaning Maher would be crowned 2021’s Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final champion, rounding off a truly memorable year.

On the part that his team played in his victory, Maher commented: “My team plays a huge part. My owners are here to watch this evening, and without them I wouldn’t be able to be riding Explosion W over the last few years. My groom Cormac has been with me since he was 16 years old, so he’s grown up together with me, and it’s very special for me to see him take big moments like this, and it wouldn’t be possible without him.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Kent Farrington Wins the Trophée de Genève

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof.

Forty-nine starters representing 16 nations – including nine of the world’s current top 10-ranked riders – contested the headline class, Trophée de Genève, on the opening day of the 60th edition of CHI Geneva. With the Palexpo’s iconic Geneva Arena filled with excited and expectant fans, many starved of witnessing top level international show jumping, the world’s very best show jumpers and their equine partners braced themselves for course designer Gérard Lachat’s 13-obstacle, 16-effort 1m60 test.

Eighth to go, 56-year-old French veteran rider, Roger-Yves Bost, demonstrated his experience, recording the class’s first clear round with his stallion, Cassius Clay VDV Z. Team gold medallist at the 2016 Rio Games, Bost was soon to be joined by compatriot Edward Levy, who went clear with his mare, Rebeca LS. At the halfway stage, the two Frenchmen were joined in an exclusive group progressing to the jump-off comprising Kent Farrington and his long-time partner, Creedance, and two future next generation riders: 22-year-old Swiss Edouard Schmitz and his 12-year-old gelding, Quno, and 24-year-old Greek, Ioli Mytilineou with her talented 10-year-old gelding, L’Artiste de Toxandra, who she refers to as her ‘big friendly giant’.

After the break, Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender and world number two, Daniel Deusser, partnered by Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z, went effortlessly clear, with a stellar list of riders joining him in what was shaping up to be a scintillating 14-strong jump-off. They included current world number one, Peder Fredricson (H&M Christian K), Austrian Rolex Grand Slam Major winner, Max Kühner (Elektric Blue P), local hero Martin Fuchs (Conner Jei), Germany’s Christian Kukuk (Checker 47), Jérôme Guery from Belgium (Quel Homme de Hus), home favourite Bryan Balsiger (Dubai du Bois Pinchet), and Nicolas Delmotte (Ilex v.) from France.

Into the jump-off and it was Farrington who proved too strong for the other 13 riders, clearly demonstrating how much he loves competing at CHI Geneva. With half of the field going double clear, Farrington and his gelding, Creedance – who possesses a superior mix of speed and accuracy – held on and had enough to beat Fredricson into second place by 0.47 seconds. Deusser slotted into third.

Thrilled with his win, Farrington commented: “It’s great to be back at CHI Geneva. It’s tough times in the world still, so I’m very happy the organisers are able to put on this great event. It feels amazing to be competing with these guys, the best riders and horses in the world. We’ll use Gazelle in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday. She’s feeling good, and the plan is to jump her in a small round tomorrow and then go from there.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Equestrianism’s Finest Head to CHI Geneva for Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final and Rolex Grand Prix

Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday 7 December 2021 – The Concours Hippique International de Genève (CHI Geneva) returns to the Palexpo arena from 9-12 December for the 60th edition of the prestigious show. The Rolex Grand Prix and the Rolex International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) Top 10 Final are notable highlights during four days of elite competition.

The partnership between Rolex and the Geneva International Horse Show was established in 1996, with 2021 marking the 25-year anniversary, and remains a key element of the brand’s long-standing commitment to equestrianism that dates back more than 60 years. Inaugurated in 1926, the event is among the most revered on the equestrian calendar, demonstrating an unwavering dedication to continuous improvement and quality that fits perfectly with Rolex’s own pursuit of perpetual excellence.

THE ROLEX GRAND PRIX

The competition will culminate on Sunday with the Rolex Grand Prix, one of the four Majors that form the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. As ever, it will be a showcase of the precision, bravery, and athleticism required by horse and rider, working in harmony to take on the challenge set by world-renowned course designers Gérard Lachat of Switzerland and Louis Konickx of the Netherlands.

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, comprising The Dutch Masters, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament, the CHIO Aachen, and the CHI Geneva, was initiated in 2013 and rewards a rider who wins three consecutive Grands Prix at these events. The most coveted prize in show jumping, it has been achieved by only one athlete, Scott Brash of Great Britain, whose epic feat began at Geneva in 2014 and was completed with victories at Aachen and Spruce Meadows in 2015.

Germany’s Daniel Deusser heads to Geneva as the current live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam following his exceptional performance at Aachen in September, taking victory aboard Killer Queen VDM.

THE ROLEX FAMILY OF TESTIMONEES

A strong roster of Rolex Testimonees will challenge Deusser for the Rolex Grand Prix title. Leading the way will be home favourites Martin Fuchs and Steve Guerdat.

Fuchs will be hoping to retain his crown following a successful year that has included team gold and individual silver medals at the European championships. The Swiss World No. 4 said: “CHI Geneva is particularly special for me as it’s my home Major and a show that I always want to do well at. Winning the Rolex Grand Prix in 2019 was an unbelievable feeling and I will be doing my very best to repeat my performance.”

Guerdat is a three-time winner (2006, 2013, and 2015) of the CHI Geneva Rolex Grand Prix, and was also victorious in the 2010 and 2018 Rolex IJRC Top 10 Finals. He heads to Palexpo with the prospect of securing a Rolex Grand Slam bonus after winning the CP ‘International’ at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ earlier this year.

Brash, currently ranked No. 6 in the world, also understands the accuracy, courage, and determination required to win a Major, as does Kent Farrington, winner of this event in 2017 with his brilliant mare, Gazelle. France’s Kevin Staut and Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa join the roll of former winners looking to reclaim the title, while Ireland’s Bertram Allen and Great Britain’s Harry Charles will be seeking to add their names to this illustrious list.

THE ROLEX IJRC TOP 10 FINAL

In the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, the world’s top 10 ranked riders compete against each other for the right to be crowned champion. The unique event, which in 2021 celebrates its 20th anniversary, has been supported by Rolex since its inauguration, and acknowledges the achievements of the best show jumpers over the course of the season.

Farrington will contest the 2021 edition as reigning champion, having ridden Austria 2 to victory in 2019. His second success – the American also triumphed in 2015 – marked the seventh consecutive win for a Rolex Testimonee in the event. He will be up against a strong contingent of in-form riders, including Deusser, Fuchs, Brash, Guerdat, and Staut.

IJRC Director Eleonora Ottaviani commented: “We are extremely proud to support this unique concept, bringing together the best riders in the world each year. As with the Nitto ATP Finals in tennis, the Top 10 Final is unparalleled in equestrian sport, producing the finest level of competition from the world’s best athletes. In 2021 we mark the 20th anniversary of the event, a testament to its long-standing success, made possible through the partnership with Rolex, a brand that has demonstrated a continuous and invaluable commitment to equestrianism for more than 60 years.”

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0) 22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0) 7748 186 833

Who to Look Out For at CHI Geneva 2021

Martin Fuchs and Clooney 51 (Photo: CHI de Genève / scoopdyga.com)

After nearly two years of waiting, the highly anticipated CHI Geneva returns from 9-12 December, representing the fourth and final Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major of the year. The show will host an impressive number of world-class horse and rider combinations, including all of the current top 10-ranked riders, 17 of the current top 20, as well as featuring seven Rolex Testimonees. The show will celebrate its 60th edition, as well as the 20th anniversary of the IJRC Rolex Top 10 Final. As ever, CHI Geneva will be a truly international affair, with those riders competing representing 16 nations, and the home nation boasting a squad of 19.

After his remarkable maiden victory in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen in September, Live Contender and current world number two, Daniel Deusser, has confirmed his talented mare Killer Queen VDM will travel to the Swiss capital in his quest to continue his Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey. CHI Geneva, the pinnacle of the international indoor show jumping calendar for top riders, will once again provide one of the toughest tests in the sport when it culminates with the Rolex Grand Prix, which requires the highest level of talent and horsemanship in order to be crowned champion.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – Rider Watch

Current world number one, Peder Fredricson from Sweden, looks incredibly competitive and the one to watch heading into the final Major of the year. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team champion has strength in depth in his talented team of horses, and will be the rider to beat in the Geneva Arena in front of the Palexpo’s knowledgeable crowds.

Fredricson’s compatriot, Henrik von Eckermann, played an integral role in Sweden’s Olympic success in Japan this summer. Currently ranked number two in the world, von Eckermann, who recently won the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona aboard his trusted partner, King Edward, will be aiming to add a Major win at CHI Geneva to his superb year.

Reigning Olympic Individual gold medallist, Ben Maher, will take his magnificently gifted gelding, Explosion W, to CHI Geneva. Winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at Royal Windsor Horse Show in May this year, the Briton will be looking to round off an exceptional 12 months with a win at 2021’s final Rolex Grand Slam Major.

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Exclusive Interview with Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender Martin Fuchs

Martin Fuchs (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

The Rolex Grand Prix win at CHI Geneva was obviously very emotional for you; can you talk about what that win meant for you, especially in front of your home crowd?

Geneva has always been a good show for me. I’ve never been close to winning the Rolex Grand Prix there though, so when I qualified for the jump-off, I was very excited. Clooney was in great shape and I knew the jump-off would suit us both. I kept focused and tried to go as fast as I could whilst sticking to my plan. It was then hard for me to watch the others go and I was quite sure that what I’d done wasn’t enough and one of the best riders would beat me. When Darragh Kenny, who was the last rider in the ring, had a pole down, I realized I’d won. It was an incredible moment, made even more special winning in front of my home crowd, my family, and my friends.

Looking ahead to The Dutch Masters, which has a much smaller arena, does that change your preparations at all?

Our preparation doesn’t change at all. Clooney is very good in the smaller arenas, so in a way it’s better for him. I’m excited as this will be my first time at The Dutch Masters; we will be competing at a 2-Star event with Clooney also in Holland a few weeks prior to The Dutch Masters in order to be as prepared as possible.

Clooney 51 is a superstar horse; how did your journey start and how have you grown together?

We bought Clooney through one of my best friends, when he was seven years old. In the beginning, he was a bit difficult, but he’s always been a great horse to ride. When he was eight years old, I realized that he could be a special horse, as he’d often placed in big Grands Prix. As a nine-year-old he placed second in a 5* Grand Prix in Doha. To become the team we are today, we’ve worked very hard on our dressage and his confidence. I try my best to keep him happy and give him the confidence he needs to perform, then in the ring he normally doesn’t let me down.

What do you think are the qualities he naturally has that make him so special?

Clooney is very careful and clever at the fences; he’s very aware of his surroundings and always knows where the poles are. He’s a very intelligent jumper, with his own style; he doesn’t over-jump and never runs through the fences.

Do you plan on taking Clooney to The Dutch Masters?

I will definitely be taking Clooney; we’ve been training hard and preparing, so we have a good chance to do well.

You have achieved so much already but what are your next dreams and ambitions, what do you want to achieve?

I was ecstatic to become world number one; it was obviously a huge success and a dream come true for me, especially considering I’m still quite young. The Rolex Grand Prix victory in Geneva was the best possible outcome for me, which makes me a live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam. My main goals for this year are the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping and of course the Olympics in Tokyo, which I’m incredibly excited for.

The Rolex Grand Prix win at CHI Geneva was obviously very emotional for you; can you talk about what that win meant for you, especially in front of your home crowd?

Looking even further ahead to CHIO Aachen, again another completely different arena, does Clooney grow in an arena like Aachen? How does it affect him?

Clooney can be a little spooked in the big grass arenas, which makes things a little bit more difficult. Aachen is over the course of a whole week, which gives me the chance to get Clooney in the ring a couple of times before the Grand Prix, which will help us be more prepared. Last year he jumped really well and had clear rounds; however, during the second round I didn’t ride so well, but ultimately, I’m looking forward to bringing him back to the show.

Scott Brash won Rolex Grand Slam with Hello Sanctos; do you think Clooney could be a potential horse that could emulate their success?

I have complete faith in Clooney. I know he can win in any arena in the world, in any class. This gives me a lot of confidence, but I’ve not even dreamed about winning the Rolex Grand Slam because it’s so difficult. Anyone involved in our sport knows what Scott Brash has achieved is incredible and the odds of it happening again are so low. Of course, Clooney and I will try our best but who knows what the future holds?

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

I don’t think I’ve had a standout piece of advice given to me. I’ve learnt a lot of important values from a variety of people; the most important things I believe are to work hard, be dedicated, try to understand your horse, and do your best every day.

When you’re not riding and competing, what are you doing? Do you have any hobbies outside of showjumping?

I’m quite laid back, so when I’m not competing, I like to go for long walks on the beach by the water, but sometimes I also go into the city. I try to relax as much as possible when I’m not training or competing. I think that’s important if you want to do well.

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