This month, Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs and Clooney 51 will celebrate four years together as partners, and they did so in the best way possible. On Sunday, January 14 at CSI Basel, Fuchs and the 12-year-old Westphalian gelding earned yet another big win in the Grand Prix of Basel CSI5*, beating out a field of 45 riders, including second and third place finishers Werner Muff, also of Switzerland, and France’s Simon Delestre.

The pair, who finished sixth individually at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, consistently earn top placings in the biggest classes in the world, including a fourth-place finish in the FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Omaha, Nebraska last year, where Clooney expanded his European fan base to include a wider North American audience.

Though Clooney’s bountiful stride and scope seem destined to make him an international sensation, it’s his steadfast partnership with Fuchs and his perpetually cheerful expression—even while cruising around the world’s most technical 1.60m courses—which have made him a showjumping favorite the world over.

Here, eight reasons why we should all take a moment to appreciate Martin Fuchs & Clooney 51: 

  1. For Fuchs, show jumping is the family business. Martin’s father, Thomas Fuchs, represented Switzerland at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Martin’s Uncle Markus acted as chef d’equipe for the Swiss equestrian team at the 2012 Games in London, and won a team silver medal in show jumping at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. His mother, Renata, competed in elite riding events and was Swiss champion in 1990.
  2. Clooney 51 is the son of acclaimed stallion, Cornet Obolensky, who has sired more than 20 internationally ranked showjumpers, including Steve Guerdat’s Corbinian, Daniel Deusser’s Cornet d´Amour, and Marcus Ehning’s Cornado NRW.
  3. Fuchs has had his fair share of injuries, including a broken nose last January after winning a class with Chaplin.
  4. In 2017, alone, Fuchs and Clooney claimed the Longines Masters of Hong Kong, the GLOCK CSI5* Grand Prix in Treffen (in which he tied with Steve Guerdat), and an individual win in the Longines Global Champions Tour of Cascais, Portugal.
  5. The pair were also part of the 2017 Swiss European Championships team in Gothenburg, Sweden, where Switzerland finished third overall. Clooney & Fuchs were the only members of the Swiss team to jump double-clear in the final.
  6.  Martin made his Olympic debut with Clooney at the age of 25 in Rio.
  7. Clooney began his international career at age seven with Germany’s Jana Wargers.
  8. Coincidentally, Fuchs has said that his idol is Steve Guerdat, while Steve Guerdat says his idol is Martin’s father, Thomas Fuchs.

-Photography by Thomas Reiner.