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Before the curtains close: Catching up with Clooney 51 at CHI Geneva

Saturday, 10 December 2022
CHI Geneva 2022

European champion in 2019, vice world champion in 2018, runner-up in the World Cup final in 2019 and winner of the Grand Prix of Geneva and Zürich, as well as of the World Cups in Basel and Lyon – Clooney 51 has an impressive record of achievements. With Martin Fuchs, the son of Cornet Obolensky – owned by Luigi Baleri – also jumped at the Olympic Games on two occasions – in Rio in 2016 and in Tokyo in 2021, and secured two team bronze medals for Switzerland at the European Championships in 2015 and 2017. 

In mid-August 2021, Clooney had an unfortunate fall in the paddock and injured his shoulder – and his sporting career came to an abrupt end. Luckily, after two months in a clinic in Zürich, the gelding could return home to the Fuchs-family’s stable in Wängi, Switzerland. In May this year, Fuchs officially announced Clooney's retirement. This weekend, nearly one-and-a-half years after his accident, Clooney finally gets to take a final farewell with his many fans as the curtains close at CHI Geneva with a retirement ceremony before the Rolex Grand Prix – the prestigious Major that the now 16-year-old gelding won back in 2019. 

But before the final farewell, WoSJ got the opportunity to meet with Clooney, his rider Martin Fuchs and groom Sean Vard in the stables at CHI Geneva. 

All photos © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. 

Martin, what is your best memory with Clooney? 

“The victory in the Rolex Grand Prix here in Geneva in 2019. It was in front of my home crowd, and my family and friends where here – which made it even more special than the gold medal at the European Championships in Rotterdam. It was the atmosphere here at the show and that the whole entourage was with me that made it so special” 

Martin, what is the plan for Clooney now? 

“He will go back to Normandy where he will be turned out with the other horses, as he has been during the whole summer. It was so nice when I went there to visit him. At first, I wasn’t even sure if it was the right decision to bring him back here for the ceremony – because he enjoyed it so much in Normandy. But when he arrived at home, he was really excited and happy too – as he is here as well. So, now I’m glad we took this decision to bring him here to Geneva.” 

Sean, what is your best memory with Clooney? 

“When it comes to his sports career, the best memory is definitely when walking back to the stables after the gold medal ceremony at the European Championships in Rotterdam in 2019. That was amazing. Everyone comes up to you in the ring to congratulate, but then I had a five-minute walk through the forest and it was no one there. It was just Clooney and me! 

Then I have several happy personal memories with Clooney. Like the first time I hand walked him at the clinic after his shoulder injury. Or when bringing him to Normandy and letting him out on the field. This was crazy – to take his head collar off and see him gallop down the field. I have so many moments with him, that I will never forget!”

Sean, how would you describe Clooney’s personality?

“He is unbelievably strong. He is almost stubborn, that’s how strong he is. And he is super intelligent! I think Clooney’s head goes at a thousand miles an hour, he notices everything that happens around him and he understands it all.” 

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