Joe Clee has grabbed the showjumping world’s attention this year, with a number of accomplished Nations Cup team performances — and now he has been named as part of the British squad for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (23 August-7 September) with his 10-year-old stallion Utamaro D’Ecaussines.
The ecstatic 36-year-old said: “It’s an amazing feeling. If you’d told me at the start of the year that my season was going to go like this, I wouldn’t have believed you.”
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1. Joe is based in Belgium — where he has been for the past 10 years — with his wife and three young children.
2. He has been riding for owners Ludwig and Jasmin Criel for seven years. “I’ve got great horses and great owners,” says Joe. “[Ludwig and Jasmin] just want to do the sport. We’re able to keep the horses for longer, produce them and build them up for competitions.”
3. Joe started his jumping career with Cyril Light at the Brendon Stud. “I rode for him for a year-and-a-half then I had a few other jobs and I went back to him when I was 20 or 21. It was in the times of Unbelievable Darco — I won the Foxhunter final with him.”
4. When he started riding his hero was John Whitaker and Milton. “John’s still a legend, isn’t he? But now, there are so many good riders at the top shows — people like Kevin Staut, Scott Brash. I think they’re superstars.”
5. Utamaro D’Ecaussines and the mare Diablesse De Muze are Joe’s top string but he’s got 16 horses in work. “They run from three years to the 11-year-olds,” he says. “We’ve got a conveyor belt, with horses coming up all the time.”
6. One of his proudest moments was being leading rider in Mechelen this year. “It’s my family show and my brother-in-law Daniel Deusser won the World Cup [qualifier],” he says. “I went in to collect the leading rider prize straight after that, so that was a fantastic moment.”
7. Joe was part of the British Nations cup team that came second in Dublin earlier this month — escaping relegation.