Daniel Deusser’s top horse, ‘Tobi’ arrived in Wellington, Florida less than a week ago and immediately jumped to his first 5* win of the season.

“If you watch me a little bit in the warm up, he looks like he’s really quiet,” said Daniel Deusser (GER) of his longtime partner Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z.

“He looks like he doesn’t have much blood and doesn’t want to run that much in the ring, but I think that’s just one of his strengths. He saves his energy for the exact moment he needs it, and I think we’ve figured that out over the last couple of years. It counts the 60 seconds in the ring, not the 10 minutes in the warm up.”

On Thursday, the 13-year-old Zangersheide stallion made it count in the $73,000 Adequan WEF Challenge Cup Round 7 at the Winter Equestrian Festival.

“On Sunday, I jumped a couple of jumps because he hasn’t shown in two months and I thought he might be a little rusty and stiff. I started [Wednesday] in the 1.40m competition just to see how he was in the ring but even [then], straight away, it was a different feeling. He knows that it counts in the ring. That’s why I entered him [in the WEF Challenge Cup], and you couldn’t really see that he’d had a two-month break. In the end, he shows he’s a bit cleverer than most of the other horses I ride,” said Deusser.

Fifty-three combination contested Thursday’s Grand Prix qualifier, with 12 qualifying for the jump off. Deusser and his partner of five years left out a stride out between fences one and two and down to the Lugano Diamonds double combination to cross the timers fault-free in 39.15 seconds.

“We have been a team for many, many years,” said Deusser. “There is a reason why he’s been my number one horse. I know him well, and he knows exactly what to do in the ring.”

The victory marks Deusser’s fourth in the month of February. He previously captured the CSI4* grand prix with Killer Queen VDM during WEF 4 and a pair of CSI5* 1.45m and 1.50m wins with Kiana van het Herdershof during WEF 5.

Come Sunday’s $401,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSI5*, he’ll be looking to add to his win count with Killer Queen VDM.

“We always want to win,” said the world number three ranked rider. “We go into the ring to jump clear rounds and to win at the end, but sometimes you have to prepare the horses a little bit, which means you have to pick your classes. To go fast every time is almost impossible with the horses.

“My plan this week was to jump Tobago [Wednesday] and [Thursday], and I’ll ride Killer Queen VDM in the grand prix. She was a little bit nervous under the lights two weeks ago so I thought I would jump her in a few smaller classes just to help relax her a little bit and then she’ll jump on Saturday night.”

And hopefully end the month the way he started it—with a grand prix win.