- Gender: Mare
- Born: 2008
- Coat color: Bay
- Studbook: Zangersheide
Claire Z is a mare with a special story. Bought when she was 2 years old, Pieter has worked with her throughout her career, culminating in the pair reaching the highest level of the sport, winning a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
During a ceremony in Jumping Mechelen, Devos’ “heart horse” was officially retired in front of an appreciative and knowledgeable Belgian audience, marking the end of a decade long career.
“This horse means everything to me,” Pieter said, “she has taught me so much, indeed the greatest lessons in life and horsemanship, and she has made a childhood dream come true with an Olympic medal in Tokyo. I have so much to thank her for, beyond the sporting triumphs.
Claire Z (Clearway x Coronado) caught Devos’ eye when she was just two years old out in the field - “from that moment I just knew she would be special,” Pieter said, “but for me she gave the word ’special’ an extra meaning.” While not always the most straightforward of mares, Devos worked hard and slowly to win her trust. “She made me think outside the box, and I have never had a horse who tested me as much as she did. But once she trusted me, everything just clicked and from then on I had the feeling that anything was possible.”
With many CSI5* Grand Prix wins and podiums to her name, Nations Cup triumphs, gold at the Europeans and of course an Olympic medal in Tokyo - Claire Z has undoubtedly been one of Devos’, and indeed Belgium’s, most successful and consistent horses.
“While this is of course the best decision for Claire, it is sad for our sport, particularly with Claire being so successful for Belgium. As we look to the Paris Olympics, I would have loved to take her one more time, however she has given me, and our country, so much over the years that she owes us nothing, and I will always put my horses’ happiness and welfare first. She deserves the absolute best in her retirement and I would always retire a horse too early than a day too late.”
Claire will now enjoy her retirement with former stablemates Espoir and Apart, both of whom are living out in the grass fields of the Devos farm. Pieter said, “I hope we may be able to breed from her at some point, as I feel the world could do with more horses like her! However we will listen to her and what will be, will be. The main priority for me is that she is able to live in happiness and comfort, and that I can see her whenever I’m at home.
"She is so loved, not just by me, but by my family and our whole team - I’ve had the privilege of working with her for over a decade, and I hope that we can enjoy many more years together in a different way. Thank you Claire, from all of us, and from the bottom of my heart.”