When Germany’s Daniel Deusser watched Jens Fredricson jump off in the Longines FEI World Cup qualifier in Mechelen, Belgium on Dec. 30, he wasn’t sure he could beat him.
“I saw him on the [television] screen and my alarm button was already on. I thought,’ Oh no! Now it’s going to be really hard work to beat that!’ said Deusser, who rode Cornet d’Amour.
“But I know my horse and he can do fantastic things. There was a long run to the double of verticals and I knew he could do one stride less to that, so I think that’s where we picked up the time,” he explained.
Shaving more than a second off that posted by the Swedish pair he crossed the line in 35.66 seconds to take the win in the sixth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2013/2014 Western European League series.
The German winner talked about his eye-catching gelding, a son of the great Cornet Obolensky. Cornet d’Amour, just 10, is still only coming into his prime. “I’ve been riding Cornet d’Amour since June 2012. I took a couple of months to get to know him before we went to our first big show together in Calgary [Alberta] where he jumped double-clear in the Nations Cup. But then he got an injury in November so we had to stop for two months, and in the end the break was maybe good for him because he came back out in February to win the [$300,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix at Wellington, Fla, on March 10].
“We’ve had a great year in 2013, including finishing fourth in the Grand Prix of Aachen!” Deusser happily pointed out. The elegant pair also claimed the German Championship title at Balve this year before taking team silver and fifth place individually at the PSI FEI European Jumping Championships in Herning, Denmark in August.
Of Cornet d’Amour, Deusser said, “In the warm-up he is totally relaxed, but he loves to know that people are watching him and when he comes into the arena he always grows a little—he likes to show off!”
He was particularly pleased about the Mechelen win because it was on home ground. He lives in Mechelen with his girlfriend, Caroline Wauters who is part of the organizing team for the Belgian fixture and a daughter of the late Belgian jumping star Eric Wauters in whose memory the hugely popular annual fixture is staged.
As for the 2014 Longines FEI World Cup Final in Lyon, France in April? “At the beginning it was not my goal to go to every World Cup show and try to qualify for the Final, but my other horse [Evita van de Veldbalie] has grown so well in the last few months and this horse is in great form,” Deusser said. “So now I must consider whether I should try to get to the Final. I’m planning to go to the [FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida] in February—this has always been part of my plan. We went last year and it worked out really well,” he said.
Cornet d’Amour is owned jointly by Stephan Conter of Stephex Stables and Hunter Harrison of Double H Farm in the U.S.
“Stephex Stables is a very big sales center for horses so it is great that, thanks to these two people, I now have two great horses for myself to ride so I can really make a plan and get to the good shows. It costs a lot to have horses on the road, and grooms and show expenses so, once in a while, it is great to get to keep some good ones!” he said appreciatively.
The Mechelen result has moved Deusser into ninth place on the Western European League leaderboard from which the top 18 will qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in April.