If you type Clintrexo Z in Google one of the first things to appear on your screen is his pedigree. His ID reads as follows: nine years old, son of Clintissimo Z out of a Rex Z mare and born at Stud Zangersheide. Clintrexo Z is more than the average sport horse. Clintrexo Z is a performer. With his looks he makes every heart beat faster. His drive took him to fourth place in the Z-Ranking. In May this grey ventured the transition to absolute top sports, together with his mentor Christian Ahlmann. A prudent question mark disappeared into thin air. Clintrexo Z developed and confirmed with victory in the Grand Prix of Wiesbaden, second spot in the Global Champions Tour GP of Berlin, a win in the Grand Prix of Munster and sixth place in his first-ever World Cup match, all in record time. And let´s be honest, such a roll of honour with a home-bred horse has so much more appeal. The magic of Clintrexo Z, read on to find out more.
Judy Ann never had Clintrexo Z´s dam Rexotta Z, by Rex Z, under the saddle because she was a broodmare. ‘My father was absolutely devoted to the Rex Z bloodline because he is a son by Ratina Z’, she explains. ‘I cannot remember much about Clintrexo Z from the time he was a foal. I have a special bond with the mares I have ridden myself but I didn´t have much of a connection with the broodmares back then. I do however, know Clintrexo Z from free-jumping! He used to stay too straight in his back which made him stand out from the others. Clintrexo Z demonstrated lots of capacity but he held his head high over the jump. We kept faith in him because my father was so crazy about Rex Z. When he turned three Clintrexo´s technique started to improve. He jumped more through his back but still had very much a style of his own. That´s precisely why I still have such vivid memories from him in that group’, Judy Ann laughs. ‘He definitely didn´t have the classic, wonderful style over the free jump which made it very hard at the time to assess how good Clintrexo Z might become. When he was a yearling and 2-year-old we didn´t think of him in terms of stallion inspections, really. When he began training at the age of three and was regularly trained on the lunge Clintrexo Z began to develop more strength in his body. He could carry himself better so that he also gained better control of his body over the jump.'
‘That´s when we decided Clintrexo Z should take part in the Zangersheide stallion inspection’, Christian adds. ‘He was maybe a bit slow over the jump but he was definitely good enough to enter him. Clintrexo was one of the better ones of the group but not extraordinary. He is a late developer and wasn´t altogether ready for it, but he showed talent.’
Clintrexo Z was approved but we didn´t use him for stud services. ‘Some stallions are better suited for active stud service when they´re still young. Clintrexo Z showed lots of potential but because of his own idiosyncratic jumping style the first priority was to give him time to mature and gain experience. Clintrexo Z simply needed to do his thing and jump rounds without pressure from the breeder who judges and weighs every single jump. Pressure on young stud stallions is huge and Clintrexo Z wasn´t ready for that. He needed time’, Judy Ann concludes.
‘I didn´t want to force him and fast-track improvement and change of jumping style because that isn´t any good for a horse. In such a situation I prefer to wait until the horse has proved himself in the sport so that everybody can see it. That way you don´t need to convince the people anymore.’
‘At some point in the future Clintrexo Z will definitely become available for stud services. It´s just that he needed a context to develop with the least possible stress in his youngster years.’
At the time Léon Melchior and Judy Ann chose to pair Rexotta to the then 3-year-old Clintissimo Z. ‘We purchased Clintissimo at the inspection of the Holsteiner Verband when he was 2½. He was an exceptionally beautiful and tall stallion we strongly believed in. As a youngster Clintissimo showed great promise in jumping which was reason for us to pair him to some of our mares and give him a chance in breeding. In the years of Clintissimo Z´s active service at Stud Zangersheide he fathered many good sport horses with various approved sons and lots of international jumpers to show for it.’
Rexotta Z - the mother of Clintrexo Z
‘At the age of five Clintissimo Z looked like a real superstar with Judy Ann’, Christian remembers. This combination took part in the World Championship Young Horses and the Youngster Tour, just to name a few. Still, Clintissimo didn´t make it to top levels in the sport. ‘Clintissimo Z is the kind of horse everybody loves but in the end he lacked the quality for the absolute top. Clintrexo Z has definitely inherited his jumping style from his sire. They are both easy rides, have a wonderfully pleasant personality, a large rounded gallop and both are a tat slow in their movement over the jump, but Clintrexo Z jumps with loads more quality and is terribly careful.’
‘Clintrexo Z´s will to please was evident right from his early days as a youngster. He loved clean records and the height was never a problem. He just kept jumping clears. Clintrexo Z had many assets but it´s never a done deal whether horses will actually prove themselves in the sport. We also have our moments of doubt’, Judy Ann admits. ‘The careers of home-bred horses right up to the great sport always come with ups and downs and there are moments of uncertainty that make you wonder whether it will all turn out the way you had hoped. We want horses that are more than just good jumpers. We want horses fit for the absolute top in the sport. Whether a good show jumping horse will actually become a crack usually shows at a fairly late stage. Every horse must keep making progress. Some horses may have a perfect jumping style at the age of six but if they stop developing they won´t reach the highest levels.’
In the early stages Clintrexo Z was trained by the stable riders at Stud Zangersheide. At the age of seven he went to Christian Ahlmann´s yard in Marl. ‘Clintrexo jumped good rounds. We wanted to advance his education and have a go in the higher classes to find out how he would cope', Christian explains. ‘Braden James first started him in 1.30m and 1.40m classes. Every week you could see him change! When he was eight he definitely made big leaps forward. He transitioned from the Youngster classes to the 1.45m and 1.50m series. In between I rode two competitions with Clintrexo Z and the feeling he gave me was incredibly good! That was the moment I was utterly convinced we should keep him for the sport. He was a better horse now.’ After that, stable rider Angelique Rüsen competed Clintrexo Z at two-star GP level which resulted in fine placements such as a fifth place in a 1.50m class in Hamburg and an eighth place in the CSI2* GP of Balve. Subsequently the reins were handed over to Judy Ann who rode him in three- and four-star GPs. Together they clocked clean rounds at a young age. They even jumped to a fifth place in the four-star Grand Prix of Salzburg. ‘He was amazing and we realised we had a very special horse in our stables’, Christian enthuses.
With the eye on the Global Tour Christian became Clintrexo´s regular rider in the spring. ‘I was expecting Clintrexo Z would need another year or even a bit longer to get used to this level but every round he became better, faster and more focused. In his first big GPs he would take the odd rail down but even when he got one or two mistakes I always felt he was doing his best and trying to find his way. After three or four events his jumping became pretty constant and he managed to present himself well in the five-stars. Before that Clintrexo´s jumping was always good but never spectacular. Over the last two years in particular he has progressed enormously and achieved amazing results. Pius Schwizer rides Chidame Z (Chippendale Z) whose dam is the granddam of Clintrexo Z. This mare went through the same phases. As a youngster Chidame Z was a nice horse but nothing special. Meanwhile she has become a top Grand Prix horse that´s ready to tackle the big sport’, Christian says.
It´s extra special that Clintrexo Z is a home-bred horse and competes at the highest level for our stud. Clintrexo was a great support for Christian this year to keep performing at that top level and that´s not something you can take for granted’, Judy Ann adds.
‘Nobody was expecting that anyway, it all happened so fast. Clintrexo Z is still in the early stages of his career and already producing such constant results. I think it´s his big heart we have to thank for it and his will to please the rider. Horses and riders make mistakes because they´re unfamiliar with the situation but Clintrexo Z is totally focused on the job at hand. He is focused on the sport which makes the life of a rider so straightforward. It won´t be easy to tread in the footsteps of Taloubet Z but Clintrexo is well on his way’, Christian laughs.
According to Christian and Judy Ann everybody can ride Clintrexo Z. ‘He´s just a wonderful horse with a super sweet character. Although he can be a bit lively and playful at times’, Judy Ann says. For Christian it´s his comfortable gallop and soft mouth that make him such a joy to ride. Clintrexo Z has always been ridden in an ordinary bit.
‘Clintrexo Z is not that typical, naturally fast horse but nevertheless he has triumphed in very fast jump-offs', Judy Ann concludes. ‘In the series for young horses he often struggled to stay within time limits’, Christian recalls. ‘He has also made incredible progress in this respect, partly on character. He has the will to do it. You can challenge him with all sorts of situations and he will give his all. Clintrexo’s natural style of cantering is not that fast so with him you need to take even more risks to win a big class.’
Probably the most delicate thing about Clintrexo Z is that he hates ´oncoming traffic´ in the ring. ‘Clintrexo Z is a little horse-shy. When other horses pass him in the ring he is afraid and tenses up. Keeping him calm is often the hardest thing at moments like that’, Judy Ann reveals. ‘On the flip side, when it´s just him in the arena he won´t look at anything.’
‘Passing other horses is very unpleasant for him and that´s why I started using a mask in the ring’, Christian explains. ‘That puts him at ease which obviously makes loosening up a lot more comfortable for him.’
Clintrexo Z hasn´t only won the hearts of all riders and grooms, he is also son Leon´s best buddy. ‘Leon adores him’, Christian smiles. ‘Clintrexo Z is an ideal horse. He has his own typical jumping technique but it is a classic jumping style. His character, canter, movement and technique are exactly what you wish for and how it should be. Clintrexo Z has all it takes to win the most taxing classes in the world one day.’