The global equestrian community is still spinning today with the news that reigning Olympic and World champion La Biosthetique Sam FBW won’t compete at the World Equestrian Games next week due to a hoof issue that cropped up in German team training camp.
Instead, Michael Jung will ride his up-and-coming young mare fischerRocana FST, who finished second in her first CCI4* at Luhmühlen earlier this year. A 9-year-old dark bay German Sport Horse mare owned by Joachim and Brigitte Jung, she is by the Thoroughbred stallion Ituango and out of the Oldenburg mare Rose II, by Carismo.
Most eventing fans considered Michael and Sam a virtual lock to medal again in Normandy. Does he still have a chance to stand on the podium now that he’s riding Rocana?
Though she may be young, Rocana has an extensive FEI career stretching back three years to contesting her first CCI* at age 6. She won the CCI* Young Event Horse Championships at Le Lion d’Angers that year on a score of 46.5, and Michael kept her at the CIC*/CCI* level until the end of her 7-year-old season, when she placed 9th in her first CIC2* at Le Pin au Haras.
She completed her first CIC3* last May at Marbach as an 8-year-old, placing 5th on a final score of 44.5, and she went on to contest her first CCI3* at Boekelo last fall, poised to win but ultimately finishing 8th with three rails down in show jumping, an outlier when looking at her show jumping record.
Then at Luhmühlen this year in her first CCI4*, she again lost due to a rail down in show jumping, but still finished 2nd on 45.5 in her first crack at the level. That’s a total of 23 FEI events completed since beginning her international career as a 6-year-old — a career that gives us some pretty incredible statistics.
In her entire FEI career, Rocana has accumulated 0 cross-country penalties and a total of 12 time penalties. She has finished in the top 10 in 21 of her 23 FEI competitions and in the top five in 16 of them, giving her a top five-completion rate of 70 percent.
Though she has jumped clear in show jumping in just one of her five attempts at the three-star level — and pulled a rail in her only CCI4* at Luhmuhlen — Michael also competes professionally in show jumping and is known for his talent in this phase.
That leaves us with one of the world’s very best riders aboard one of the world’s most exciting young up-and-coming horses to do battle on the world stage. It’s clear Rocana was destined to be an eventing prodigy from the moment she started her career, and everything she has accomplished up to this point now brings her to her biggest challenge yet.
We’ve now added Rocana to our WEG Guide, awarding her four chinchillas on the basis of her current performance record. She and Michael are currently ranked fourth in the world, and they’re perfectly poised to play spoiler in Normandy.
Can Rocana’s perfect cross-country record be preserved across Pierre Michelet’s monster course? Can Michael Jung win individual gold with yet another horse? Will a new eventing star emerge in Normandy? All eyes will be on Michael and Rocana as eventing fans await those answers.