German rider Daniel Deusser, based in Belgium and rider for Stephex Stables, is now heading to the Global Champions Tour of Vienna. Daniel just returned from a well-deserved holiday in Ibiza but first he won team bronze at the Olympic Games in Rio and was named best 5* rider at the Stephex Masters. We had a little chat with him at Stephex Stables.
You’ve just returned from Rio where you won team bronze. How did you experience your time there?
Daniel: ‘We were there for twee weeks. It was a bit different from another show because you arrive in Rio with only one horse. The first five days are actually really long. By the time the first class starts, you expect something to happen. You really want to perform well but everybody is delivering so it’s close. You cannot afford to make any mistakes. It was quite a hard week. To win the bronze medal was absolutely a success for the whole team in Germany. It was so close. Top 3 or place 5 or 6, it was just one rail apart. In the end it was a really intense week. Afterwards you go home and a few days later you only realize how important it was to win that bronze medal.
Were you happy with how First Class van ’t Eeckelghem jumped in Rio?
Daniel: ‘I am really happy with First Classs. The feeling he gave me was outstanding. It was like he could jump another couple of rounds, like he could go on for a few days. It was great to feel that the horse was fit and not tired. He was in good form.’
You won a Stephex horse truck at the Stephex Masters because you were the best 5* rider. How does that feel?
Daniel: ‘It’s weird because I didn’t win any class. I’m very happy with the truck and it means that I had a good competition because my horses placed themselves in every class they started. But it’s still weird not to win but that can change quickly.’
At the Stephex Masters you chose Equita van ’t Zorgvliet for the Grand Prix. How do you feel about her because she came to you rather unexpected?
Daniel: ‘She’s actually an unbelievable horse. The way she jumps is not really spectacular and that’s why I never tried her. I never really wanted to ride her, it was not a question for me. Jonna (Ekberg) rode her first but then I didn’t had enough horses so she gave her to me in May. Equita proved she was easy to jump. She was third in Cannes, she won the Grand Prix in Knokke and was 4th in the Grand Prix at Stephex Masters. She has super results and does everything quite easy. I’m happy to have her.’
How was it for you to compete at your home stable? Is it different?
Daniel: ‘I am always impressed with this show. A week before this show I was at another show and when I came back I saw how much it had changed. It shows how good the team is. I’m impressed with the way the Stephex team does things. Of course it’s different to compete at home. Everybody expects you to be good. At the Grand Prix I was a bit too motivated. You want to win and the crowd stands behind you and then you’re the last rider. Everybody wants you to win but I think I overdid it. But to ride here is a very nice feeling.’
What are the plans for the future shows?
Daniel: ‘I was planning on giving First Class a little break. But then he came back from Rio and he just feels really fresh and good. So I decided to take him to Vienna with me and then to the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona. He’s going to do those two shows. Then it’s time for the indoor season. First Class is not the greatest horse for the indoor season because of his size so we’ll have to see what we’ll do. But Cornet will start showing again at the indoor season and Equita will be somewhere in between.’