‘Watch and learn, it’s so valuable’: wise words from the Rolex Grand Slam contender

  • This Sunday (10 December), Swiss showjumper Martin Fuchs will be bidding to keep his Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping dream alive with victory at CHI Geneva.

    Martin, 31, became the live Grand Slam contender after his outstanding grand prix victory at the Spruce Meadows Masters tournament riding Leone Jei and he will be lining up alongside some of the world greats in Sunday’s grand prix, a class he’s won twice before, after an “incredible year jumping at the highest level of the sport”.

    “I am extremely excited to be coming into my home Major, CHI Geneva, as the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping,” says the world number five ranked rider of “one of the best shows in the world”.

    “Riding in front of a Swiss crowd, with all of their support is amazing.

    “I love having my family and friends there supporting and watching me, it really motivates me to do well and make them proud.”

    The team and individual European champion credits his team as “vital to my success”.

    “So much goes on behind-the-scenes,” he says. “My parents have been fundamental in building a special team around me and this allows me to really focus on my training and doing well in the ring. I do not have to think about anything else apart from training and competing, as my team manages everything else.

    “I have some great grooms that look after our horses, I would not have this amount of success without my grooms,” he stresses.

    Martin Fuchs: ‘Growing up, you watch your idols compete and win’

    Martin reveals the importance of the showjumping Majors in the calendar and how he has been inspired.

    “They are the ones that every rider aims to win and dreams of competing at when they are growing up,” he explains. “They are the pinnacle of our sport – all the greats have competed at these Majors.

    “Growing up, you watch your idols compete and win at the Majors. This makes you so motivated and driven to train and do well in competitions, so that one day you can join them at these venues and to be perhaps fortunate enough to win one.

    “It is extremely important that this opportunity is offered to the next generation as they will gain priceless experience competing at a Major,” Martin continues.

    “Competing alongside the best riders in the world allows you to watch and learn from them – which is so valuable. I was very fortunate when I was younger to compete at the Swiss five-star shows, which gave me the opportunity to ride at the highest level as a young rider, even though I wasn’t at the top level yet. I learnt so much from these incredible opportunities.

    “When you go back home, you have so much you want to work on and many additional goals – it is inspirational.”

    Away from the ring, Martin loves producing his young horses.

    “It is incredibly rewarding watching a horse develop to the top level,” he explains. “It is a very satisfying part of our job. In our sport, you never get bored, each horse is so unique, which means that every day is different. This makes you become a better rider and horseman to try to get the best out of each individual horse as well as trying to provide them with the best life possible.”

    CHI Geneva: not just the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping

    As well as competing in Sunday’s 1.60m Rolex grand prix at CHI Geneva, Martin Fuchs will line up for Friday night’s 22nd Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. His opponents are Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Harrie Smolders (NED), Max Kuhner (AUT), Simon Delestre (FRA), Julien Epaillard (FRA), Steve Guerdat (SUI), Kent Farrington (USA), world number one Henrik von Eckermann of Sweden and Great Britain’s world number two Ben Maher, who won the prestigious class in 2021 on Explosion W.

    “This was one of my favourite classes to win so far in my career,” says Ben. “The competition is so unique and the crowd and atmosphere that’s created in Geneva is like no other indoor arena. Explosion showed that evening why he’s such a great champion.”

    Other British riders heading to CHI Geneva this week are the rider in-form Harry Charles and Scott Brash, while Robert Murphy and Claudia Moore will be contesting the under-25 classes and eventers Alex Bragg and Kirsty Chabert will be tackling the popular indoor cross-country.

    A strong Irish contingent of Bertram Allen, Daniel Coyle, Mark McAuley and Conor Swail join Shane Sweetnam among these year’s CHI Geneva entries, and other big names include Jessica Springsteen, Peder and Jens Fredricson, and Daniel Deusser, and H&H will be bringing you coverage all the action.

    With thanks to Rolex Grand Slam Of Showjumping.

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