World of Showjumping
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Pieter Devos retires Claire Z from the sport

Saturday, 30 December 2023

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Claire Z with Pieter Devos at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Pieter Devos has retired his 15-year-old mare Claire Z (Clearway x Coronado), his partner at the Tokyo Olympic Games where Belgium won team bronze. Claire Z was officially thanked off during a ceremony at Jumping Mechelen yesterday, marking the end of a successful career. 

“This horse means everything to me,” Devos said in a statement released on his website. “She has taught me so much, indeed the greatest lessons in life and horsemanship, and she has made a childhood dream come true with an Olympic medal in Tokyo. I have so much to thank her for, beyond the sporting triumphs.”

With Claire Z, Devos did not only take the team Olympic bronze in 2021 – he also won team gold at the 2019 European Championship in Rotterdam. The two were also part of the Belgian team that won the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona in 2018. In 2019, the two topped the CSI5* 1.60m LGCT Grand Prix in Miami, were second in the CSI5* 1.60m LGCT Grand Prix in St. Tropez and ended third in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup in Lyon. In 2017, they won the CSIO5* 1.55m Longines Cup of the City of Barcelona.

“While this is of course the best decision for Claire, it is sad for our sport, particularly with Claire being so successful for Belgium. As we look to the Paris Olympics, I would have loved to take her one more time, however she has given me, and our country, so much over the years that she owes us nothing, and I will always put my horses’ happiness and welfare first. She deserves the absolute best in her retirement and I would always retire a horse too early than a day too late,” Devos said.

Claire will now enjoy her retirement with former stablemates Espoir and Apart, who are living out in the grass fields on the Devos farm. “I hope we may be able to breed from her at some point, as I feel the world could do with more horses like her! However we will listen to her and what will be, will be. The main priority for me is that she is able to live in happiness and comfort, and that I can see her whenever I’m at home," Devos said.

"She is so loved, not just by me, but by my family and our whole team – I’ve had the privilege of working with her for over a decade, and I hope that we can enjoy many more years together in a different way. Thank you Claire, from all of us, and from the bottom of my heart,” Devos closed off.

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