Tag Archives: Niels Bruynseels

Inside the Dutch Masters: The Final Day

Niels Bruynseels (picture: Ashley Neuhof).

The Rolex Grand Prix Winner: Niels Bruynseels

Niels Bruynseels is the new Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender following a sensational performance in the Rolex Grand Prix at the Dutch Masters, one of the four Majors that make up the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Under the spotlights of the Brabanthal arena, the world’s best horse and rider combinations battled for the pinnacle prize of the weekend, all vying to start their Rolex Grand Slam journey.

The 13 riders through to the jump-off included Great Britain’s Scott Brash, the only rider so far to have won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, putting extra pressure on the competitors. Eighth to go, Marcus Ehning, raised the bar with a speedy clear round in 37.80 secs, but it was Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels who shifted the pace up a gear to clinch the victory and his first ever Major in 37.10 secs.


  • 2016 and 2017 Stephex Rolex Grand Prix Winner
  • Horse: Gancia De Muze, a 12-year-old bay mare


  • Winner of 3 Majors & Olympic Gold Medallist
  • Horse: Cornado NRW, a 15-year-old grey stallion


  • World Number 2
  • Horse: Emerald, A 14-year-old chestnut stallion

Winners Interview with Niels Bruynseels

How does it feel to win your first Major?

“This has to be one of my biggest victories. I don’t even have the words to say how much it means to me. This show has always been great, but the support of Rolex has made it even better and it is an honour for me to come here and compete against the best riders in the world. The atmosphere in the arena was incredible; it was a very special moment for me.”

Your Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping campaign has started; is CHIO Aachen going to be your focus now?

“Aachen is certainly the next stop for me. The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is the biggest prize in our sport and I hope I can come to Germany in July and repeat what I have achieved here.”

Do you feel that the course lived up to the Rolex Grand Prix standard?

“I think the team of course designers did a very good job; it was a tough course but good for the horses. There were 13 in the jump-off which is nice for the crowd and created top competition.”

And what about your horse – has she done you proud today?

“My horse was a superstar today. I cannot thank her enough. She always tries her best for me and I couldn’t be happier with her performance this afternoon. I think I was at advantage going last in the jump-off. I was able to see all the other riders go before me and where the course was difficult. I had a plan in my head; I knew I would need a fast ride, and Grancia exceeded all expectations; she is a special horse for sure.”

Words from the Course Designer, Louis Konickx

Talk to us about the process of designing such an important course like a Rolex Grand Prix.

“We first came up with the ideas and concept three weeks ago. My assistant and I are in constant communication, always bouncing ideas off each other; it is a team effort. Because the arena is bigger this year, we added longer combinations and more related distances. It is also very important to make sure you have the right number of verticals and oxers because if you are too defensive and have too many hard oxers, it asks too much of the horse and will not get the desired number of clear rounds. It needs to be challenging… but achievable.”

Are there any particular tricky parts you put in?

“Yes, but we wanted to make sure that there was a variety for the different types of horses.”

“If you just build big oxers, it challenges the horses that don’t have scope but is easy for the horses that do, so it is vital that we have diversity which will ultimately produce the best competition.”

“In all cases we are wanting to test the tuning between horse and rider and their ability to work together in a partnership; that is what we are searching for as course designers.”

Is there more pressure on you now that this Rolex Grand Prix is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

“Yes, there is certainly more pressure! Most of it comes from the riders; they really want to win this class and go after the Rolex Grand Slam which means we need to make sure the course gives them the opportunity to compete at the best of their ability. Now that this is part of the Rolex Grand Slam there is more at stake than just the result of this Grand Prix.”

What makes you passionate about your role?

“Every day and every event are different. I have particularly enjoyed this year at the Dutch Masters as we have designed a lot of new fences and have created a sense of the Netherlands within that. We have focused on Dutch artists, for example Van Gogh, who we think represents a ‘Dutch Master’. We have also designed fences to represent the Dutch fruit, all small touches that I think make the course extra special.”

E-Mail: press@rolexgrandslam.com
Internet: www.rolexgrandslam.com

Bruynseels Best Again to Win € 300 000 Rolex Grand Prix at Brussels Stephex Masters

Image Copyright: ©Scoopdyga.

Niels Bruynseels (BEL) concluded his fantastic weekend at the Brussels Stephex Masters in the best possible way when he went to the top in Sunday’s CSI5* € 300 000 Rolex Grand Prix presented by Audi at the Brussels Stephex Masters.

After his win in Friday night’s Top Sport Flandres Prize, Bruynseels came with a typically quiet warning of what was to come when he said that he hoped that he would “grow into the event (…).” An understatement, as his Grand Prix performance would illustrate.

There was barely room to move as the competition got underway; the Brussel-crowds met up plentiful for the highlight of the weekend and the beautiful VIP was fully seated to create a fantastic atmosphere for the riders as the Rolex Grand Prix presented by Audi got underway.

The first round track designed by Uliano Vezzani (ITA) counted thirteen fences and the faults spread out over the cleverly build course. In the end, thirteen riders produced clear rounds to proceed to the jump-off.

With some of the world’s best riders in it, such as Rolex testimonees and Olympic Champions Eric Lamaze (CAN), Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Steve Guerdat (SUI) all in, it was bound to be an exciting jump-off.

Janne Friederike Meyer (GER) was the one to open the jump-off on the powerful Goja 27 (Wandor van de Mispelaere x Palestro vd Begijnakker), a horse bought from Stephex Stables three years ago. The 10-year-old gelding displayed his jumping skills with yet another incredible performance, and Meyer put pressure on those to come with a clear round in 49 seconds. Eric Lamaze, Rodrigo Pessoa, Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and Pieter Devos (BEL) all tried, but picked up faults in their attempts to catch up with Meyer.

However, Niels Bruynseels would get it all completely right. With the extremely quick and careful 10-year-old mare Cas de Liberte (Cracky Z x Chellano Z), Bruynseels got an excellent turn to the second vertical before he went on to use the three long stretches that followed to the maximum. Taking all the risk on the long run to the STX vertical – the third last fence – the spectators held their breaths, before they started cheering Niels on as he approached the penultimate oxer. This led the way to the very last stretch that went all the way down the long side of the ring to the final Rolex plank. As Bruynseels crossed the finish line, the crowds exploded – the score board showed the time of 46.53 seconds and there was a home leader.

Not one of the seven riders left had any chance of going clear and catching Bruynseels’s time. Steve Guerdat gave it a good go though, on his extremely well jumping 10-year-old mare Bianca (Balou du Rouet x Cardento) – a horse that looks set for future stardom. With a time of 47.56 seconds, Guerdat finished second – leaving third to Meyer.

As last to go, Stephex Stables-rider Daniel Deusser (GER) produced a fantastic round on Equita van’t Zorgvliet (Cassini I x Darco) – but even though the time was good enough for the win it came on the expense of a rail in the last part of the combination mid-way. In the end, it would put Daniel fourth – still good enough to earn him the leading rider title of the weekend.

The one to drive home in a brand new Audi A6 Allroad Quattro with a Rolex watch around his wrist was Niels Bruynseels, and the winner could not hold his smiles back as he met the press. “I would like to thank Stephan and the whole Stephex-team that I could compete here in Brussels at this wonderful show. I am really happy; my horses have been in great form for the last couple of weeks. It is a real honor to beat great riders like Steve, Janne Friederike and Daniel. I knew I was quite fast, but with these riders still to go you never know if you win it,” Bruynseels said.

Steve Guerdat was not disappointed about being second, and could not be more proud of his fantastic horse Bianca. “It is amazing to have a horse like this. I always believed in this mare, but when you step a new horse up to Grand Prix level there are always new questions of which you don’t know the answers to. She jumped amazing all week, and kept on jumping better and better. The feeling on her is even better than it looks,” Steve smiled from ear to ear.

All riders agreed what a well-organized event the Brussels Stephex Masters is. “When I was here for the first edition three years ago, I honestly thought it was perfect already. I have come here every year since, and every year it is getting even better – I don’t know how they do it. This is a good lesson from the Stephex-team,” commented Guerdat.

“We have been very lucky to see some beautiful sport all week, it has really been a show for the public,” said event director Stephan Conter. “In the jump-off today, all the riders went for it and Niels Bruynseels pulled off a spectacular round.”

“We cannot organise a show like this without sponsors like Rolex and Audi, as well as my whole Stephex-team,” Conter continued. “We are also very lucky as well to have Uliano Vezzani as a course designer, and the tracks have been great all week.”

“As a sponsor, it is really a pleasure to support someone like Stephan Conter who has such an enthusiasm and passion for the sport and for the quality of the infrastructure. For us as a sponsor, it is easy to support an event like this, as we know it will be organized to the top level,” said Joel Aeschlimann, international sponsorship manager at Rolex.

Daniel Deusser leading rider of the CSI5* competitions at the Brussels Stephex Masters   With a total of 229 points, Daniel Deusser (GER) was crowned leading rider of the CSI5* competitions at the Brussels Stephex Masters as the event concluded on Sunday evening. For the title, Deusser won a one-year-lease of a STX two horse truck worth € 22 272.

“Being the leading rider means you have had a good show, so I can be very pleased with my weekend. Although I could not win a class, I was placed each time and it was very nice to compete here. Every day there were a lot of people and the crowd was really behind the riders. It was a really nice atmosphere,” commented Deusser.

Rank two was Laura Kraut (USA) with 217 points, and rank three Steve Guerdat (SUI) with 213 points.

For a full results, please click here.

For more information, please contact: press@stephex.com or Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 207 592 1207