It’s difficult to imagine a time when German rider Daniel Deusser was only a fan of show jumping, rather than the superstar Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender we know today.
The 41-year-old Olympic bronze medalist (2016) and World Cup champion (2014) has already logged an impressive career, perhaps because he had a remarkably clear vision from the start. Turn back the clock and you’d find Deusser donning a much smaller pair of boots, glued to the television watching his sports heroes long before he would become anyone’s himself.
The class he had on repeat? The same one he won this Sunday, the CP ‘International’ Grand Prix at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in Calgary, AB.
“It is an historic Grand Prix here, it’s a class that I’ve followed since I was very, very small. I watched it on television, and I still have VHS cassettes at home that have the Grand Prix here,” said Deusser.
“I’ve watched it over and over again, and I could never imagine to be here, so to win the CP ‘International’ here in Spruce Meadows is a fantastic feeling.”
A momentous test of stamina and athleticism, the class is formatted over two rounds, reprising the top 12-placed horses and riders from the first round. Of the 38 starters who contested the $3,000,000 Leopoldo Palacios (VEN) designed course, only three went double clear.
Near foot perfect rides from Gilles Thomas (BEL), Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Deusser triggered a final jump-off to decide the fate of the trophy.
The successful strategy proved not to be the gutsy Hail Mary, but rather a controlled clear.
Guerdat put down a 41.70 second path with 13-year-old Venard De Cerisy, but not without collecting four faults on course. Thomas clocked in at 42.31 seconds and eight faults with 14-year-old gelding Aretino 13 after finding trouble at the CP fence and the final element on course.
Deusser and his Tokyo 2020 Olympic partner, 12-year-old mare Killer Queen Vdm, sealed the victory with the most conservative time of 45.78 seconds. But alas, it was clear.
The only horse to leave all the rails in place, it might be surprising to hear that earlier this week Deusser doubted entering Killer Queen Vdm in the Grand Prix at all. While she boasts an impressive resumé decorated by gold medals at venues like Aachen, this was her first appearance in the Spruce Meadows International ring.
“She had a fantastic week, to be honest. I started the first day with a small class and I was doubting to jump her in a big competition, but in the end I jumped her in the big class on Friday, just because she has never been here in the International Ring,” explained Deusser.
On Friday, the pair landed in 21st position with five faults. After Sunday’s result it was clear they were just getting warming up.
“I think it was a good decision today, she jumped three fantastic clear rounds and she will definitely have a big, big dinner tonight and some carrots and sweets!”
She’s earned more than a feast. Over the course of her career, Killer Queen Vdm has accrued over 1,604,168 Euros in prize money, according to JUMPR App. Now, they take home the biggest purse in the sport of show jumping.
Onto the next one. Looking at you, CHI Geneve!