In Photos: The Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’

Daniel Deusser (GER) and Killer Queen VDM. Photo by Quinn Saunders

PHOTOS by Quinn Saunders
WORDS by Catie Staszak

The historic Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ never disappoints. Two weeks of elite show jumping competition in Calgary, Alberta, CAN concluded Sunday with the $3 Million CSIO5* CP International, Presented by Rolex—the richest class in the sport and a part of the prestigious Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Needless to say, a truly elite group of horse-and-rider combinations congregated at the venue, which made for an unforgettable week of sport. Quinn Saunders shared some of the most memorable moments in photographs:

Daniel Deusser (GER) and Killer Queen VDM

After two rounds of jumping, the result of the CP International still could not be decided, with three combinations—Daniel Deusser (GER) and Killer Queen VDM, defending Champions Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Vernard de Cerisy, and Giles Thomas (GER) Aretino 13 maintaining faultless scorecards and advancing to a final jump-off.

Only one combination would jump three clear rounds. Deusser and the phenomenal Killer Queen VDM took the win—Deusser’s first in the historic class. The victory also earned Deusser a bonus for winning two non-consecutive Grand Slam events this year. He also won the Rolex Grand Prix of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED) in March with Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z.

Daniel Deusser (GER)

“It is a historic Grand Prix here; it’s a class that I’ve followed since I was very, very small. I watched it on television, and I still have VHS cassettes at home that have the Grand Prix here,” Deusser said. “I’ve watched it over and over again, and I could never imagine to be here, so to win the CP ‘International’ presented by Rolex here in Spruce Meadows is a fantastic feeling.”

Deusser is now the new Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender.

A Blockbuster Lineup

Gerrit Nieberg (GER) was the Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender heading into the ‘Masters’ after winning at Aachen with Ben 431. Gerrit was full of pride for his horse after they jumped a clear first round to advance to the second round of 12. Ultimately, one rail would keep them out of the jump-off, and the pair would ultimately finish fifth.

Gerrit Nieberg (GER) and Ben 431

Two riders from Mexico advanced to the second round of 12, and Eugenio Garza Perez (MEX) was elated after producing a clear round. He and Contago finished fourth.

Eugenio Garza Perez (MEX) and Contago

Martin Fuchs (SUI) and his championship mount Leone Jei rallied for sixth after jumping a brilliant clear in the second round.

Martin Fuchs (SUI) and Leone Jei

McLain Ward (USA) was the best placing American rider, finishing seventh with fan favorite HH Azur. This mare is jumping some of her best at 16 years old, and she was clear in the first round, with just one rail in the second. This pair was not only considered winners in many’s hearts; they also topped the podium earlier in the week in the CSIO5* Tourmaline Oil Cup. The fans were not shy in showing their appreciation for the former Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final Champions.

McLain Ward (USA) and HH Azur

Swedish superstars Peder Fredricson and World No. 1 Henrik von Eckermann brought their best mounts to Calgary, and what a treat it was for the crowd to see H&M All In (Fredricson) and King Edward (von Eckermann) in the flesh. It’s worth noting that both horses, normally barefoot, had shoes put on to compete on grass. Both riders missed the cut for the second round, but they did top the BMO Nations Cup with teammates Jens Fredricson and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (They also have gold medals from the most recent Olympic Games and World Championships).

It was not Scott Brash’s (GBR) day, but the Masters will always be front and center on this rider’s resume. Brash remains the only rider to complete the Rolex Grand Slam, winning all four events (‘s-Hertogenbosch, Aachen, Spruce and Geneva) back in 2015.

Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Jefferson

Next stop on the Rolex Grand Slam tour: Geneva.

Daniel Deusser (GER) and Killer Queen VDM