There was one crown jewel of show jumping that Daniel Deusser had yet to get his hands on.

Next stop: Geneva! (© Spruce Meadows Media/Mike Sturk)

On Sunday at the 2022 Spruce Meadows Masters, methodically and with German precision, he added the $3 million CP International grand prix to an already impressive resume. Deusser and his excellent mare Killer Queen VDM did what no other horse-rider combinations could under brilliant skies and in front of a full house: they managed two difficult rounds with nary a fault, then tackled the jump-off in spotless fashion.

“Spruce Meadows, the CP International. presented by Rolex. is not just a super competition, it’s a historical class which I’ve followed since I’m very, very small,” explained Deusser, 41, currently ranked 18th on the FEI rider list. “Being able to win that competition is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement which is … I don’t have words at the moment. It’s an incredible feeling and I’m very proud that Killer Queen did that for me.”

The victory was worth $990,000 (CAD) for Deusser.

Three made it into the jump-off. Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, winner of the 2021 CP International, had high hopes of defending with Venard De Cerisy, but as first off, they clipped one jump and put up a time of 41.70 seconds. Belgian Gilles Thomas, a young man enjoying his first visit to the Meadows, gave it the old college try aboard Aretino 13, but had two obstacles down. It was then up to Deusser to negotiate the course cleanly, even take his time if he needed. He finished in 45.78.

“To be honest, when I went to the first fence, I still wasn’t sure what I had to do,” admitted Deusser with a wry smile. “I saw Steve, I saw Gilles … I knew when I’m clear I would win the class. I know Killer Queen has a big stride. She gave me a good feeling and I just went for the clear round. She helped me amazingly.

“Normally, you also know that when you jump two clear rounds, you’ve won that class. Today, there was a third round. It was a lot of effort for the horses but she’s an amazing mare. She has a lot of blood and she used it today.”

Deusser is now the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, in line for a big bonus should he win in Geneva in December. He has previously won the Aachen and Dutch Masters grand prix.

Guerdat, so cool and collected on the outside, had some emotions churning inside after his inability to win his second CP International title, albeit pocketing $600,000.

“I would be a good poker player, you have no idea how I’m feeling right now,” he said. “It’s a mix of disappointment and anger. I can’t stop thinking about the grand prix I just lost. I’m very happy with the way my horse has been jumping, my team, I’m happy with the way I rode today. I had a fantastic day; I have a huge paycheque, also a big reason to be very happy. But there is a huge difference between the winner and being the first loser in a major like this.”

The 24-year-old Thomas, meanwhile, was tickled with his finish and $450,000 prize.
“There are so many stories about Spruce Meadows and when I came here all the stories are true,” he smiled. “The fences are big, the oxers are wide. They also told me after my win in Hickstead you should really go to Calgary; it’s the place for you. I’m really happy they pushed me to come here.”

Just two Canadians, Mario Deslauriers/Bardolina and Amy Millar/Truman, took part in the class, finishing 23rd and 29th, respectively.


Team Sweden held off Switzerland and The Netherlands to win the BMO Nations’ Cup. (© Spruce Meadows Media/Mike Sturk)

Olympic Champs Take Nations’ Cup

On the Saturday of the Masters, all eyes were on eight countries competing at the BMO Nations’ Cup and it was another first-time winner, Sweden, which emerged victorious. Buoyed by some of the finest riders in the world, the Swedes snagged the victory with a tidy four-fault, two-round total.

World number one Henrik von Eckermann, number three Peder Fredricson, along with Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Jens Fredricson made up the contingent. Sweden came into the competition as the reigning team world champions, as well as 2020 Olympic gold winners.

“It really is the golden age (of Swedish show jumping),” admitted chef d’équipe Henrik Ankarcrona. “And just to be part of it, to look back in I don’t know how many years … we were actually part of that. We were in the middle of it. It’s something for sure I’ll tell my kids and grandkids about.

“It’s a bucket list thing,” he added. “I think every show jumper in the world who starts from the beginning and knows a little about the world knows about Spruce Meadows. Just to come here and see it is one thing; to come here and ride and fight for the trophy and in the end get the name on, there’s so much work to get there. I’m super proud of the riders.”

With Switzerland breathing down their necks on seven faults, it was up to Peder Fredricson and Catch Me Not S to try and get fewer than that on their Round 2 ride. They finished with four, thereby securing the win; The Netherlands would finish in third.

“It was the last thing Henrik Ankarcrona told me when I was going in, that the pressure was on,” said Fredricson, making his first appearance at Spruce Meadows. “It didn’t start off great, I had an early fault, but today I managed to get the job done. I’m very, very happy to be in this position and very proud to be here and win this trophy.”


Amy Millar and Truman had the best result for the Canadian Team. (Starting Gate Communications)


Canada finished up in fifth spot. The team, comprising of Mario Deslauriers, Jacqueline Steffens Daly, Erynn Ballard and Amy Millar, accumulated 24 faults. Millar, with Truman, was the star of the squad, fashioning a double-clear. Ballard with young Narcotique VH Dingenshof was at the other end of the spectrum. She and the nine-year-old mare – a new partnership – were eliminated in Round 1, following up in Round 2 with 34 faults.

As the Masters wound down, one rider continued his winning ways at the facility. When Britain’s Matthew Sampson captured the Suncor Winning Round on Saturday, it would be his 20th FEI victory since he first began the 2022 Summer Series, one of the finest performances ever during one full season at Spruce Meadows.