Which horses are you competing with this week? And can you tell us a bit about their characters?
I have Dieu Merci [Van T & L], who is an up and coming stallion. He’s 11-years-old this year and he’s going to be my future star. He will be doing the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex here on Sunday, and hopefully in the future he’ll be able to put a Rolex Grand Slam Major in his pocket, or in my pocket. He’s going to do great things, this horse – I really believe in him.
I have my young horse, Fine Lady , who’s 18-years-old (!) – I don’t know if I have to say much about her. She’s a winner. She’s not as sharp as she once was, but she still loves jumping and we’re planning on keeping her in form just to finish in Geneva, if she will let us do that.
I have a new horse called Kino, who we just purchased, as an addition for this year, as we have some great young horses coming next year. I don’t know him well, so I can’t tell you which way it’s going to go. I had a problem with his previous rider. He came from Ludger Beerbaum originally, and then Rodrigo Pessoa bought him for one of his students and it was never a match. I like the horse and the horse seems to like me.
Why is CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ such a special show to compete at?
Spruce Meadows in general is special. Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ is the Wimbledon for me; it’s the French Open; it’s all of the above. It’s a Rolex Grand Slam Major; it really is the event. This year with travelling and covid and the restrictions, you’re not going to see the familiar faces, but you’re not going to see any less difficulty in the course. I really believe that it’s going to be something that’s incredible.
What keeps you motivated and hungry for success?
I just love the sport, I love jumping, I like going fast, and I love the jump-off. I love adrenaline. I love to think I ride as good today as I used to. I’m missing a few beats, actually, but I like to think that! Adrenalin is the one word I would use.
Do you have any secret tactics for the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex on Sunday?
My strategy was to jump my horse [Dieu Merci Van T & L] in yesterday’s 1.55m and then to leave him alone and keep him fresh, as he’s just travelled here, and then enter Sunday to win.
Who do you think will be the one to beat in the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex?
I believe Kent Farrington, Scott Brash and Steve Guerdat. It’s like horseracing: I always pick the favourite, but I always lose, so I don’t know!
Source: Press Release from Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping
Photo: © Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof