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From youngster to international Grand Prix horse: Killer Queen VDM

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.
Daniel Deusser and Killer Queen VDM in Aachen. "I think she could be my horse for the Olympics this year," Deusser says about the 10-year-old mare. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen



Killer Queen VDM (Eldorado vd Zeshoek x For Pleasure) is surely a name to remember for 2020. From a Longines FEI World Cup win in Mechelen just before the new year to back-to-back five-star victories in the tough Commercial Bank CHI Al Shaqab Grand Prix presented by Longines as well as in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Doha – the now 10-year-old BWP mare has gone from strength to strength with Germany’s Daniel Deusser in the saddle.

Born in Belgium, Killer Queen was bred by Walter Lelie together with Ann and Dirk Bruggeman-Carpentier – her VDM suffix originate from the latter. Ann and Dirk Bruggeman-Carpentier also bred Kontador VDM and Japatero VDM, full siblings to Killer Queen. However, it was Lelie that produced her. “Actually, the story already starts with Killer Queen’s mother Derly Chin de Muze,” Lelie begins. “I rode Derly Chin myself, and as a 5-year-old she came second in the Belgian Championships. When she was a 6-year-old she took bronze at the WBFSH/FEI Jumping World Breeding Championships in Lanaken. Later on, she was sold and ended up with Eric Lamaze – who rode her at the 2012 London Olympics.”   

“Derly Chin was a big mare, and Eldorado is also very big,” Lelie continues. “Derly backed off a lot from the fences, she was ultra-careful, whereas Eldorado was a bit too much forward. Therefore, I thought these two could be a good combination. The mare was very clear in her head, very straight forward, and I thought it would balance out the stallion’s over-achieving nature.”  

And then there was Killer Queen – extraordinary right from the start. “As a youngster she already jumped incredible, you could see the scope and she kept developing all the time,” Lelie recalls. “I won the Belgian Championships for 4-year-olds with her, but after that I took my time. I always believed in her and I wanted to give her a chance to be good in the second part of her life. Sometimes, I see people wanting to go too fast with the good young horses. It is one thing to win everything when they are young, and another to win later on in life.”

“The thing with Killer Queen was, that you never had to teach her how to jump – the jump was always there. Also, she is strong in her body and in her mind. She is not a difficult horse to ride; she has a good mind and she knows her job. She doesn’t have to make a lot of effort to clear big jumps. However, as a youngster she was a bit stubborn at times and had her own ideas. She could spin around when you rode her, and she needed a lot of work. But, in my opinion all good horses need a bit of special treatment,” Lelie tells. “In the ring she was always straight forward. She gives the rider a lot of confidence; she gives you a feeling that if you as a rider do a good job, she will take care of the rest.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping
"She is a very big horse, with a huge stride and therefore she feels more comfortable outside in the big rings,” Deusser tells about Killer Queen. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“She thinks forward in the ring, she is searching for solutions,” Lelie continues to describe Killer Queen. “If she was to go to Tokyo, I believe she could make a difference. But, I better not say that to keep the pressure off,” Lelie laughs. “There has never been any doubt about her scope,” he continues. “I have just been hoping that nothing bad would happen with the horse. Already when free-jumping her, you could see the enormous qualities she had. But still, even when you have the good abilities, it is important to combine it with good management. As a rider, you have to keep yourself calm when you have a very good young horse. If you show off, they are broken when they turn eight. With a good horse you have to be very careful!”

“It is unbelievable,” Lelie says when asked how it feels to follow Killer Queen and Deusser’s success now. “As a breeder, you dream about having a few good horses in your yard, so this is a dream come true. I want to take my time with the horses I have. When you breed horses and you want to keep them long like I did with Killer Queen, it is not the easiest way to go economically – but I enjoy riding good horses. Nevertheless, this is not only my success story. There are many people around me who have helped along the way. Success never comes from one source.”

Killer Queen’s current rider Daniel Deusser is full of praise for the mare, but says she has a lot of temperament and is not always easy. “She has been competitive from the start,” Deusser says. “When it comes to her character, she is very easy in the ring – she is really straight forward, she does not care what kind of fences there are, she jumps everything. With her scope, she has more abilities than other horses, and she can easily jump a big Grand Prix course without much effort. She does it so easy, and she does not get scared. She is a very big horse, with a huge stride and therefore she feels more comfortable outside in the big rings.”

“We have a lot of hope for her,” Deusser continues. “However, even if horses win a lot as youngsters, they still need to prove themselves in the bigger classes. With the way she is developing, it looks like she can be my number one horse in the future. If you talk about big arenas, huge fences – she is the horse for that, she loves these places. She is at the highest level in the world already, if I only consider the height of the jumps. Her rideability still needs to improve, but all together it looks like she could be one of the best horses in the world. I think she could be my horse for the Olympics this year, if she continues to improve the way she has done so far.” 


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