By Adriana van Tilburg
Photography: Courtesy Rolex
During the CHIO Aachen, a special 10-year Anniversary Celebration of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping was hosted, during Breeding News was given the opportunity to talk to the Rolex Testimonees, Scott Brash (GBR), Daniel Deusser (GER), Martin Fuchs (SUI), and Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA).
The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping comprises the Majors of Aachen, Spruce Meadows, Geneva and ’s-Hertogenbosch, offering the most difficult to win trophies and the most sought after financial ‘bonus’ in the world of equestrian sport.
During the interview with World Breeding News, these riders revealed which characteristics they believe are essential for a Grand Prix horse to be successful. Their answers certainly provide an insight into their desires, and what breeders might take into consideration when making their choices.
Q What sort of horse does it take to win a Major and to win in a big arena like here at CHIO Aachen?
Rodrigo Pessoa: Like we have said before, whether it is inside or outside, grass or sand, horses have to be versatile and have to have a full range of qualities. They have to be careful and quick, they have to have a big stride and a short stride, they have to be fit, and must be well prepared.
However, the number one quality is the mentality of the horse, they have to be 100% committed and not be apprehensive of anything or intimidated by anything, they need to want to go to war. Overall, they need to have all those qualities, and some have a little bit more of one or a little bit less of another, but basically, they need to have a minimum standard of quality, carefulness, agility, and flexibility. The athleticism of horses is really incredible, but it’s a package of qualities and the horse that has the best package wins.
Scott Brash: I think very much the same as this sport has become so tough. Gone are the days when a big, scopey, slow horse is going to be top of the sport week in week out, it just doesn’t happen. The horses have to have all of those attributes of scope, being careful, being fast and clever, they’ve got to work with you, they’ve got to be rideable.
There are of course some things we can improve as riders. For example, with Hello Sanctos he didn’t have all the scope when I first had him, but it’s amazing what you can achieve with a horse if they have a big heart and if they want to do it and are confident. When they’re confident they can end up jumping bigger than they’re capable of jumping. Or when they really trust their rider we can get that bit extra from them or that extra bit of ability. McLain Ward’s HH Azur, for example, used to be a very slow horse and now she’s won two of the quickest classes this year at 17 years old. She was so fast at CHI Geneva in 2022 and at the Dutch Masters earlier this year (2023), it’s hard to believe she actually used to be a bit of a slow horse. So as riders we can bring some things to the table, but we need an exceptional horse that is capable of having those attributes first and foremost... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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