On April 30th, 2017, Michael Jung of Germany and the 12-year-old German Sporthorse mare FischerRocana FST walked down the lengthy, matted pathway that bridged the warm-up arena and Rolex stadium. Behind them were the members of their team who had helped them reach this momentous point in their career. Before them sat more than 24,000 people who would ultimately witness Jung capture his third consecutive win at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington—the first time in history a horse and rider have achieved such a feat.
Jung is a notorious record-breaker, and his latest accomplishment only adds to his already standout resume. Here are 28 things to know about a horse and rider combination who have withstood the test of time, with the endurance, power, and grace to be crowned champions yet again at the 2017 Rolex Kentucky CCI4* Three-Day event.
- He has two nicknames: “Michi”, which is short for Michael in German, and “The Terminator”.
- Michael’s home base is at his family’s equestrian center in Horb-Altheim, Germany.
- He believes that he now has eight Rolex watches, some of which he’s given out to family members, breeders of his horses, and his owners.
- Jung doesn’t believe that there is a “magic formula” for becoming a top rider.
- At the 2015 European Championships in Scotland, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain presented Jung with the individual gold medal. He says it’s one of his most cherished moments in the sport.
- Michael was the only rider to represent Germany at the 2017 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.
- Jung sustained a broken ankle at the 2015 Burghley Horse Trails in England, but he went on to win the 2015 European Championships in Scotland just a week later.
- His father, Joachim Jung, competed in dressage, show jumping, and eventing at an elite level. Jung considers Joachim to be his hero.
- Jung has said that the opportunity to work with young horses is the reason he’s a rider, “not just to win and then stop riding.”
- Fitness is the most important aspect when it comes to training his horses, and dressage takes a close second.
- In 2015, Jung fell off FischerRocana at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and made a splash when he landed in the water. Impressively, he went on to finish 1st for the day aboard his second horse, La Biosthetique- Sam FBW
- In 2013, Jung was inducted into the Eventing Riders Association [ERA] Hall of Fame.
- On his 30th birthday, Jung captured both of his gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
- Michael once competed aboard a horse named “Harry Potter 16”
- In 2016, Jung was awarded the title of Reitmaster [Riding Master] by the German Equestrian Federation. He is only the third event rider in history to receive the honor, which is given to equestrians who demonstrate, “outstanding achievements in the saddle, outstanding results as an instructor of top riders and horses, and commitment to equestrian sport.”
- In 2003, Michael was awarded the Goldene Reitabzeichen [Golden Badge], a nod to his achievements in dressage and show jumping.
- In 2012, he held the Olympic, European and World titles at the same time, becoming the first rider in history to do so.
- When preparing for show jumping, Jung jumps his horses in the morning to “make them a bit soft and see how they’re feeling.”
- In May 2016, Jung captured the Rolex Grand Slam after being victorious in the Burghley (England), Rolex (USA), and Badminton (England) horse trials. He also became the first German rider to win the Badminton Horse Trials in England.
- Michael is the first eventer in history to win three consecutive Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event competitions.
- Rocana finished in 2nd place at her very first four-star at the Luhmühlen Horse Trials.
- Although she was Michael’s “reserve horse” at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, FischerRocana FST helped secure Team Gold for Germany and the Individual Silver medal.
- Jung stated that he knows everything Rocana needs and how to motivate her.
- Like a lot of horses in eventing, Rocana sports nasal strips on the cross-country course.
- Rocana’s father, Ituango xx, is a Thoroughbred. He raced for two years on the track before an injury ended his career and he was retired to stud.
- Her stable name is “Roxie”.
- Jung describes her as a “fighter” and a “top horse”.
- Along with her rider, Roxie has won the Rolex Three-Day Event three times, consecutively.