FischerChipmunk FRH is perhaps the unluckiest horse in eventing at the moment. He is the holder of the record finishing score at five-star level and the winner of an extraordinary 23 international events – and yet he has never claimed an individual gold medal.
The beautiful bay, by Contendro I out of a mare by the thoroughbred stallion Heraldik, started his career under Germany’s Julia Krajewski, who was later the Tokyo Olympic champion riding Amande De B’Neville. He first came to the attention of British fans when he was third in the CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) at Blenheim Horse Trials in 2017 and then won at the same level at Bramham Horse Trials the following year.
Already at this stage Chipmunk was signalling his brilliance in the dressage – at Bramham, as a 10-year-old, he won on his 19.4 dressage mark.
“I’ve had him since he was four and he’s a tall horse with long legs, so it’s taken him time to grow into his body,” said Julia after the pair’s Bramham win. “Now he’s strong through his back.
“He’s the kindest horse, like a dog. He wants cuddles all the time, but he’s also brave and has learnt he can trust the rider and people around him. Even when things aren’t going well, he tries again — sometimes you have to save him from himself.”
The pair broke the 20-barrier again at the Tryon World Equestrian Games later that year, scoring 19.9. H&H reported that, “Chipmunk could have escaped from the pure dressage arena next door, such was the uphill shape of his outline and his suppleness, submission and energy.”
But their challenge unravelled on cross-country day when they had a run-out at the second corner at fence 14.
Chipmunk FRH becomes FischerChipmunk FRH
In February 2019, Chipmunk moved from Julia’s yard to her compatriot, double Olympic individual gold medallist Michael Jung.
Julia said it was a “very sad day” adding: “After six very successful years together, the contract I had with the owner [Hilmer Meyer-Kulenkampff] expired, was not renewed for personal reasons of the owner (which I can understand) and it was decided to sell Chipmunk.
“I will remember him as this kind, genuine, brave yet sensitive horse who always gives his all and did so much to do us proud! And despite being very sad to see him go there are so many little and big moments I am thankful for and I wish him a very happy life with his new rider.”
Chipmunk moved into the ownership of the DOKR (the German Olympic commitee for equestrian sport), Klaus and Sabine Fischer, with Hilmer Meyer-Kulenkampff also retaining a share. It was at this point that the bay acquired the Fischer prefix.
Michael said: “When I was informed at the end of last year that Chipmunk could not stay with Julia, but there was the opportunity to hold him for Germany and me, I tried to achieve this. In the end, I owe it to the support of many sponsors and all of my great partner Fischer that I have a new future [star].”
Michael and FischerChipmunk FRH quickly formed a formidable partnership, finishing their first year together with individual silver and team gold at the Luhmühlen Europeans, where one showjump down cost them the title.
“FischerChipmunk is a really great horse, he has a lot of power and is really clever,” said Michael in Luhmühlen. “He’s a pretty horse and a super mover for the dressage.”
H&H reported: “In FischerChipmunk FRH, Michael has a deadly weapon… probably the most talented horse Michael has ever had — and that’s a pretty terrifying prospect for the rest of us.”
And yet, it has never really come together at championships for Michael and Chipmunk since.
They have led the dressage at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, the 2022 World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro and the 2023 Europeans in Haras du Pin. But in Tokyo they broke a frangible pin, finishing eighth, in Pratoni they led until the final line of showjumps, where a second fence down left them fifth, and in Haras du Pin they had an uncharacteristic fall across country. Team gold in Pratoni and silver in Haras du Pin will have been scant recompense for their lack of individual gongs.
Between these championships, the pair won their only non-championship five-star, at the Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2022, when they finished on their 20.1 dressage score and set a new record finishing score at the top level.
Going into the Paris Olympics, Michael will be acutely aware that this could be 16-year-old FischerChipmunk’s last major championship and he will no doubt be out to right the horse’s record and put a shiny individual gold on his CV – as well as claiming his own third individual Olympic title.
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