The culmination of the busy weekend – available live on FEI.TV as well as Facebook and YouTube - will be the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping competition on Sunday from 13:50 GMT, which is set to feature top 10-ranked riders including Harrie Smolders and Kevin Staut.
Daniel Deusser, the 2014 Longines FEI World Cup™ champion, will lead a strong German contingent, along with the likes of Christian Ahlmann and Marcus Ehning, as he seeks to pick up vital points that will ensure his place in this year’s finals in Paris in April.
The 37-year-old, currently fourth in the Western European League standings, is eager to start the year in style and give lead horse Cornet D'Amour – who helped him to success in Lyon four years ago and a bronze medal in Gothenburg in 2016 – a good run out following an injury suffered towards the end of 2017.
Tune into FEI.tv for live coverage from Leipzig
“It’s the first big competition of the year, and so I feel good and ready to go,” Deusser told FEI.org. “I’m trying to get Cornet fit after his injury, so this is a good opportunity."
“The 48 points I currently have is usually about enough to ensure making the World Cup, so while I am going to Leipzig looking for a good result, my focus is on getting my horses fitter and stronger.”
As well as Cornet D'Amour, Deusser will also use Jack Daniels, Killer Queen VDM and Hidalgo VG, and he told FEI.org that he has altered his training routine in a bid to improve results at the start of 2018.
“You might call it an experiment. “We’ve just been looking differently at which days we go and which we rest. It will be interesting to see what, if any, effect it has.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s competition, he added: “Leipzig is a nice show from several points of view. The infrastructure is nice, and there are big crowds with the arena very full at the weekend.
“From the competitor’s point of view, it is a busy event which gives an opportunity to build up new horses and give the older horses a run.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Daniel Deusser was a BMX champ when he was a kid!
With more than 30 home riders taking part in the Jumping event, there will be plenty for German fans to cheer. Deusser believes the standard of German riders is high, but would like to see their strength backed by winning partnerships with their steeds.
“We have more than enough good riders, but I think we could do with a few new championship horses,” he said. “It can be difficult to find them, but I think development on that front is important. In the past you had some very established partnerships at the top, and it would be good to see some new talent coming through.”