Congratulations! You are the Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender, how are you feeling ahead of the CHI Geneva?
I feel fantastic; we have had an incredible year jumping at the highest level of the sport and winning the CPKC ‘International’ Grand Prix, presented by Rolex at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament with Leone Jei was definitely a highlight. I am extremely excited to be coming into my home Major, the CHI Geneva, as the live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – riding in front of a Swiss crowd with all of their support is amazing.
Reflecting on your win in the CPKC ‘International’ Grand Prix, presented by Rolex at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament – how special was this victory to you?
It was incredibly special! My father was second in that Grand Prix and has always talked so highly about the venue. He said that this was the important Grand Prix to win, and so to achieve that with Leone Jei was incredible.
You have had so much success at the CHI Geneva, winning in 2019 and 2021, as well as placing second last year. How special is this venue to you, and what do you think has enabled to you be so successful there?
Competing at the CHI Geneva is so special! In my opinion is it is one of the best shows in the world – the facilities for both the horses and riders are incredible. As a Swiss rider, I love competing there, the fans are amazing and they are truly behind every Swiss rider. My team play an enormous part of supporting me and are vital to my success.
How have you been preparing yourself and your horses for the CHI Geneva?
I have done a couple of shows with them – but they will have a break for the two weeks prior to the CHI Geneva so that I can really focus on their training at home and making sure they are feeling their very best before the show.
The CHI Geneva is your home Major – do you feel this gives you a home advantage when competing there or is there an added pressure?
The crowd at the CHI Geneva is so supportive – there is nothing quite like it. I love having my family and friends there supporting and watching me, it really motivates me to do well and make them proud.
You have had so much success with Leone Jei in recent years – tell us about him and what it is about him that makes him so successful?
He is an incredible horse with so much talent. He has won some of the biggest Grands Prix in the world as well as Championship medals. Leone Jei is a great partner to have – he can compete anywhere, he jumps just as well indoors as he does in outdoor arenas; he adapts himself to any arena and for any competition. He has such a lovely character; he is always eager to compete and jump. I love this about him.
How important is your wider team, for example grooms, vets etc. in your success?
My wider team play a fundamental role as part of my success – so much goes on behind-the-scenes. My parents have been fundamental in building a special team around me, 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. I am very fortunate to have such a good support group, as well as having parents who help me with everything.
Much like The Championships, Wimbledon in Tennis and The Masters in Golf, the CHI Geneva is a Major. What is about the Majors in sport that is so special and why are they so important?
The Majors are some of the most important shows in the calendar; they are ones that every rider aims to win and dreams of competing at when they are growing up. 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 of the Majors.
The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping provides a chance for two young riders to compete in each Major, how important is this in inspiring the next generation of top riders?
It is extremely important that this opportunity is offered to the next generation as they will gain priceless experience competing at a Major. 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 5* shows which gave me the opportunity to ride at the highest level as young rider, even though I wasn’t at the top level yet – I learnt so much from these incredible opportunities. After a show, when you go back home, you have so much you want work on and many additional goals – it is inspirational.
The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is celebrating its 10-year anniversary – how big an impact has it had on the sport?
The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has an incredible impact on the sport, and has put it on a whole new level. It is a unique series which connects the four best shows in the world, and gives riders something to really aim towards – it has really changed the level of the sport!
If you weren’t a show jumper, what would you have been?
I definitely would have still worked with horses – I really enjoy being around them. I love the teaching and training side as well as the dealing side. So, I would probably have been involved in dealing horses and managing people.
What keeps you motivated and hungry for success?
I really like to compete and to jump the best shows. I also love seeing a young horse develop and learn, it is incredibly rewarding watching a horse develop to the top level. It is a very satisfying part of the 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 and get the best out each individual horse as well as trying to provide them with the best life possible.
To learn more about Martin Fuchs’ team from his travelling groom, Sean Vard, listen to our latest Podcast: ‘Rolex Grand Slam Talks: ‘Through the Groom's Eyes with Sean Vard’’ on Spotify.