He might prefer to be a Secret Service agent, but Chris von Martels’ new equine partner already has an important job: contender for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. We caught up with Chris to learn more about his hopes for his new mount, Eclips.

Fast Facts:

Name: Eclips
Nicknames: Appel Flap and Double Clear
Born: 2009
Breed: KWPN
Sire: Apache
Dam Sire: Olympic Ferro
Sex: Gelding
Height: 17.2 h.
Owners: Chris von Martels and Barbara Soederhuizen
Competitive highlights:
Won a National Grand Prix in November 2020 with scores over 71%.
Competed at the CDI3* level in December in Florida for the first time since the pandemic shutdown in March with scores over 68%.

How long have you been paired with Eclips?

We’ve been together for just over a year now – since November 2019.

What was your first impression of him?

My long-time friend and trainer in Holland, Sjef Janssen, arranged for me to try Eclips in his stable and I thought, “Wow! I have to have this horse.”

You entered into an ownership agreement for Eclips specifically with Tokyo in mind. What made you think he’d be a great Olympic prospect?

He is a horse with a tremendous amount of go and willingness to give his best. I love horses who want to fight for you. His co-owner and I both believe that he’s a horse who can achieve that kind of goal, so we have to give it our best shot.

Describe his personality in one word.


What’s his greatest strength?

His character.

What’s his biggest challenge?

Not overdoing it.

What is his funniest habit?

Eclips loves to go in the field, so he starts talking every morning when he knows it’s time for his turnout.

What is his favourite treat?

He is actually very picky about treats. He doesn’t like sugar or mints. Only carrots and apples, but he always will smell them before eating them. He is very health conscious!

Is there anything Eclips hates or is afraid of?

He is a confident horse, but he doesn’t like certain sounds like leaf blowers and air brakes.

If Eclips were a human celebrity, who would he be?

That’s a difficult question to answer. I would maybe say Will Smith. Eclips is big, strong, tough, and kind of supernatural like, as Will Smith is in Hancock, but he is also very sensitive and emotional like Will is in Collateral Beauty.

Most embarrassing / funniest moment with him so far?

I can’t say that we’ve have one yet, but I’m sure at some point we will experience something worth hiding from!

If he wasn’t a dressage horse, what would his dream occupation be?

Secret Service agent. He is always on alert. Nothing gets past him and he always knows what’s going on.

What are your future plans for Eclips beyond 2021?

At this point we are just focusing day by day to be our best, so I haven’t really thought too far beyond 2021 yet.