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Everything you need to know about one of eventing’s greatest ever riders – Michael Jung

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Michael Jung and Sam clear the footbridge at Badminton Horse Trials 2013

Germany’s Michael Jung is one of the most successful event riders of recent times.

Michael was born on 31 July 1982. He was a successful under-21 rider before he moved up to senior ranks, winning young rider individual gold in 2003 in Bialy Bor, Poland, riding Marco 522. He also won two young rider team silvers and a junior team silver.

What championship records and medals does Michael Jung hold?

In 2012, Michael became the first eventer to hold Olympic, European and world individual titles at the same time, having won all three in the previous three years on La Biothesque-Sam FBW, whose championship record is unsurpassed in the sport.

Four years after winning at the the 2012 London Olympics, riding the same horse, he triumphed in Rio and became only the second event rider since World War II to take back to back individual Olympic golds; Mark Todd was the first.

Michael is also only the second person (after Ginny Elliot) to win three consecutive European individual titles on three different horses. His wins were on La Biothesque-Sam FBW (2011 in Luhmühlen), Halunke FBW (2013 in Malmö) and FischerTakinou (2015 at Blair).

As well as his six individual golds (two Olympic, one world, three European) and his European individual bronze, Michael also counts two European individual silvers (2017 on FischerRocana FST and 2019 on FischerChipmunk FRH) and a world individual silver (2014 on FischerRocana FST) and seven team medals among his senior championship accolades.

Has Michael won the Rolex Grand Slam of eventing?

Yes, he is the second ever winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of eventing (after Pippa Funnell), taking Burghley Horse Trials in 2015 on La Biosthetique-Sam FBW, then Kentucky Three-Day Event on FischerRocana FST and Badminton Horse Trials on Sam in the spring of 2016.

Michael said in an interview in 2016: “The Olympic Games are the most important championships — for the press, the trainers, the breeders, everybody. But winning the grand slam is more difficult. At the Olympics you only need one good week, not three in a row.”

How many five-stars has Michael Jung won?

When it comes to tallying five-star wins, in addition to his Badminton and Burghley triumphs, Michael Jung has also been victorious at Kentucky three years in a row on FischerRocana FST – in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

And his first win at the top level came on home soil at Luhmühlen Horse Trials in 2009, on Sam – the year the pair made their senior championship debut in Fontainebleau at the European Championships, coming home with individual bronze. Michael also won Luhmühlen on Leopin FST in 2012.

Tell us more about Michael’s top horse, Sam.

La Biosthetique-Sam – known as Sam – was born on 10 March 2000. He is by the thoroughbred Stan the Man, out of a mare by Heraldik.

As a youngster, Sam was “a bit normal,” said Michael in an interview in 2016. “Dressage was always difficult and he was spooky, but we learnt together. I know what he doesn’t like and the bad things about him.”

In terms of his personality, Michael says Sam “really doesn’t like other horses. He likes to be private and alone.”

Sam retired from eventing in 2018 and still lives at Michael’s yard.

Where is Michael Jung based?

Michael is based in the north of Germany where he enjoys strong family support in running his phenomenally successful eventing operation. His father Joachim is his main trainer and his mother Brigitte is also involved.

Does Michael have a wife? Any children?

Michael became engaged to his long-time girlfriend Faye Füllgraebe, an equine physio, in November 2020 and the pair got married in April 2021. They welcomed their first child, a son called Lio, in May 2021.

Anything else we should know?

Michael has been world number one in eventing and he also competes at the top level in showjumping.

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