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A Horseman’s Salute: Christian Kukuk to Long-Time Groom Sofie Karlsson

“She is not only a groom for me, you know,” said Christian Kukuk. “She is just a very special person and a very special friend.”

Sometimes, in the weak moments that are usually accompanied by lack of sleep, grooming can feel like a job in the shadows. But to close out the 2024 running of the Winter Equestrian Festival, German show jumper Christian Kukuk wanted to make sure his groom, Sofie Karlsson, basked in the limelight. He and Checker 47 won the $500,000 Rolex CSI5* Grand Prix on March 30, but, to Kukuk, the most important person behind that victory was Karlsson.

“She is not only important, she is the most important person behind the success,” said Kukuk. “I am very, very pleased and also proud to have her on my side. We work already for nine years together, which is quite a long time, so sometimes it feels a bit like an old couple, to be honest. She knows the bad moments with me and the good moments. She knows how to treat me in special situations when the pressure is a little bit on. It’s not always easy for her, I have to say that. But she just deals with it.”

Watch his interview with HorseGrooms here:

With Karlsson, Kukuk saw his career morph into team berths – and then medals. In 2023, Checker 47 and Kukuk went double gold at the FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, winning the individual title after the Germans took the gold as a team.

“She is unbelievable with the horses, and I am just proud to have her on my side – that means a lot to me,” said Kukuk. “She went through everything with me. We went from the two-star shows to the five-star shows. What she has done the last nine years for me, it’s hard to describe. I am just very, very happy about that, and I am looking forward to having many, many more years with her on my side. There are moments I really have to say I don’t know how I live actually without her. She is not only a groom for me, you know. She is just a very special person and a very special friend.”

Featured photo courtesy of Sportfot.

April 3, 2024


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