Older But Not Out: How Daniel Deusser’s Cornet d’Amour Proves There’s No Such Thing As ‘Past Your Peak’

Older But Not Out: How Daniel Deusser’s Cornet d’Amour Proves There’s No Such Thing As ‘Past Your Peak’

The 2018 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals held talk of the impressive performances of several equine athlete ‘youngsters’, whether in age or experience, but not a lot of focus was given to the veteran horses at the major championship.

At 17 years old, U.S. rider Andy Kocher’s grey Selle Francais gelding, Navalo de Poheton, was the oldest horse to compete. Several others were close behind at 15 years of age, such as Marcus Ehning’s Cornado NRW and Robert Whitaker’s Catwalk IV. These more experienced horses kept up, if not out-jumped, their more youthful peers.

Daniel Deusser & Cornet d’Amour Ph. ©Thomas Reiner

One particular horse well-versed in the preparations and trials of the World Cup is Daniel Deusser’s Cornet d’Amour—it was, in fact, the gelding’s fourth WC appearance.

Daniel and the 15-year old grey Westphalian gelding had already won the 2014 World Cup Finals in Lyon, France, and returned to the Finals this year hoping to repeat their performance.

Related: Daniel Deusser: 9 Ways to Ride Like a Pro Even if You Aren't One

Following day one of this year’s competition, Daniel and Cornet d’Amour put on a picture-perfect performance to place second in the speed leg of the Jumping Final I—closely behind winners, Beezie Madden and Breitling LS.

Their early position was, however, sadly short-lived following a disappointing 14 fault round in Friday’s Jumping Final II. Being effectively out of contention for the title, one would assume that the strategy for the remainder of the weekend would be to ‘just get through it.’

Goonies never say die! Daniel adopted a true athlete’s attitude and came back in fighting form, piloting Cornet d’Amour to a fabulous clear in Round 1 and a single time fault in Round 2 for third place in Sunday’s Jumping Final III. An eventual overall eighth place may not have been the desired result, but it’s not too shabby considering their major Day 2 bobble.

A fresh Cornet d’Amour continued to buck and play during his victory gallop of the Longines Masters Grand Prix of Paris Ph. ©Thomas Reiner

Since Daniel took over the reins from Brazilian Pedro Veniss in 2012, it took little time for the pair to prove they were a force to be reckoned with for the foreseeable future.

Daniel and the grey gelding’s impressive resume has spanned over six years at the top of the sport; highlights include Team Silver at the 2013 European Championships, 2nd place in the 2015 Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen, 1st place in the 2015 Rolex Grand Prix at Indoor Brabant, 3rd place at the 2016 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Gothenburg, and a recent win at the 2018 Dutch Masters-Indoor Brabant. Whether the venue is indoor or outdoor, they’ve most likely won it.

Cornet d’Amour took a five-month break from competition due to injury in 2017, but he came back to win the 2017 Longines Grand Prix at the Paris Masters this past December. (Also proving he had enough in the tank for a very spunky victory gallop.)

So what’s the secret to Daniel and Cornet d’Amour'scontinued success? Age, experience, and one heck of a support team. (That’s right, we’re looking at you Sean Lynch and Stephex Stables. Well done!)

With Daniel’s calm aura and precision in the saddle, paired with Cornet d’Amour’s endless scope and will to win, there isn’t much that this seasoned pair can’t overcome when it comes to turning up the heat when it matters. Age is just an afterthought.