Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

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Inside CHIO Aachen: Friday 19th July

Daniel Deusser and Killer Queen VDM (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof) Daniel Deusser and Killer Queen VDM (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

Home win for Germany’s Daniel Deusser in the RWE Preis von Nordrhein-Westfalen!

 

It was all smiles for the home crowd at CHIO Aachen as Germany’s Daniel Deusser was crowned winner of the RWE Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia aboard his bay mare Killer Queen VDM. The course set by Frank Rothenberger asked tough questions for the 42 starters in the first round with just 11 reaching the jump-off to battle it out for the top spot. Early clear rounds put the pressure on the later starters with the leader board changing frequently as the competition remained wide open. Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts rode a speedy clear in the time of 45.79 seconds but Deusser produced a thrilling display of skill to shave over a second off Philippaerts time (44.65 seconds) and much to the delight of the patriotic spectators held the lead to take the victory.

What’s it like to win in front of such a big home crowd?

It’s always such a special feeling to win here at Aachen. When the home crowd gets behind you, you can really feel them, and the atmosphere is incredible. You always want to perform well, you always want to jump clear but when 40,000 people are behind you and cheering you on, it creates the most incredible atmosphere and it does influence your riding.

Is Killer Queen VDM a star for the future?

Absolutely, I really think this horse can compete at the highest level. I said last year, that I thought she was a horse with lots of potential and I am really happy with her performance today.

The water jump seemed to cause a few problems today, what were your thoughts on it?

It is very difficult to explain; it is the same water jump we jumped yesterday but in the other direction. Even my horse who is normally very good over the water, jumped it much higher today than she usually would. It is hard to say, perhaps because of the grass as maybe we spend more time in sand arenas. The water jump itself was not too big or hard but for some reason the horses jumped it worse today than yesterday. Also, I saw a few horses jump it badly, which then gave me some mixed feelings on how I should jump it, and maybe meant we didn’t ride with the same confidence and enthusiasm we would normally.

You have qualified for the Rolex Grand Prix on three horses, which one will you ride on Sunday?

I will be riding Tobago Z on Sunday.

Sean Vard (Photo: Tiffany Van Halle) Sean Vard (Photo: Tiffany Van Halle)

Behind the stable door with: Martin Fuchs' groom, Sean Vard

 

Can you tell us about the horses you have here this week?

This week we have Clooney for the Rolex Grand Prix, and then we have a new youngster and two more horses Chica BZ and Silver Shine. They are both going to do a big class each, Clooney will do the Rolex Grand Prix and then the youngsters will hopefully win their classes.

Clooney 51 is obviously very popular among fans; can you talk about what makes him such a wonderful horse?

It’s hard to explain unless you know him, but Clooney is mentally so quick, he’s very intelligent. He’s special, he’s one of a kind. I think he is the most intelligent horse in the world, he knows when the pressure is on. He’s had his difficulties in the past, but since he came back from surgery last year, he seems completely on it. He’s reliable, he’s a great horse, mentally so strong. He is not built to be a show jumper, but he does his best to be one, and the results speak for themselves.

What’s he like in the stable?

He’s hilarious. This week he has been particularly funny, he’s always looking for attention, always. If you are busy with another horse, you can see that he is always watching from the corner. He can be a bit difficult sometimes, with a high atmosphere, and when there are lots of people watching he can be a little spooky, but most of the time he is nice to handle and easy to work with. Once you have a pocket full of candies, you survive.

What’s Martin like to work for?

Martin is super, I’ve been working for him for three years now, I know his system. We keep everything very simple, once everything’s simple, he’s happy. Now, he trusts me, I do my own thing and it normally meets his standards – we work well together.

From a groom’s perspective, what makes Aachen so special?

From the moment you drive in the gate you just feel motivated to do better in every aspect of the job. From the warm-up, to the shopping, to the stables there is a really special vibe here. The atmosphere in the ring is so special too, it’s a different level.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Getting good results is amazing, but I think seeing a young horse progress is one of my favourite parts. We have Chica BZ here this week, she was a youngster two years ago and this year she is jumping the 5*. Seeing the young horses come up the ranks and watching them perform at the highest level is the most positive part of it.

Kent Farrington with Creedance (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof) Kent Farrington with Creedance (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

Rider interview with: Kent Farrington

 

How important are the physical and mental preparations for you to be a top show jumping athlete?

I think being a top-level show jumper, or any athlete, is a combination of all factors. Mentally being prepared, physically being prepared, and in our sport, you have the added element of the horse also being mentally and physically prepared for the event. So, I try to have those in order, and then hopefully we can have peak performance on Sunday.

Being a rider based in America, how much preparation and organization of your horses and your team does the travel over to Europe entail?

Living in America, it takes a lot of organisation. I have a big team behind me that makes this all possible, so I’m very grateful for that. Obviously flying over and having the horses here, creates a scheduling issue. I have to have the horses here early enough that they can leg up for a big event.

The arena here in Aachen is one of the biggest in the world, what is it like to ride in?

I think this is the best arena to ride in, but I think you have to have the right horse for the occasion. A lot of horses are really intimidated here, so it helps to come with a brave horse and a horse that has experience.

Yesterday, the class was quite big and presented some tough questions, can we expect the same on Sunday?

The same and more, I think that’s what you expect when you come to Aachen, this is the best of the best, competing for the biggest prize in our sport. I think that we will see everyone put to the full test.

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