Deja, Former Swedish Olympic Team Horse, Passed Away

Tue, 10/11/2022 - 09:39
Deja at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro :: Photo © Astrid Appels

Deja, Patrik Kittel's former Swedish Olympic team horse, has passed away. The mare was 18 years old.

She was a Swedish warmblood mare by Silvano out of Donellie (by Don Schufro x Amiral). Deja was bred and owned her entire life by Marie Haward. 

Anna Svanberg

Deja was first trained and competed by Anne Svanberg.

They won the 2009 Swedish Young Horse Championships in Flyinge and in 2010were selected on the Swedish team for the 2010 World Young Horse Championships in Verden, Germany, where they finished 10th in the 6-year old finals.

Sales Horse

Anna Svanberg and Deja in Verden
Haward decided to sell the mare and sent her to Germany to Patrik Kittel to be sold.  He first presented her in public at the 2012 Global Dressage Forum at Bartels' Academy in Hooge Mierde, The Netherlands. 

Although Deja could have made an excellent match for his wife Lyndal Oatley, Kittel arranged a deal with owner Haward to secure the mare for a three year period as his Olympic hopeful for Rio. 

The new duo made their international show debut at small tour level in 2013 and made a winning Grand Prix debut at the CDI Mechelen in December 2013..

Kittel and Deja became a fixture on the Swedish team as of 2015 as Scandic was still the number one in the barn between 2013 and 2015.

Swedish Team Horse

Deja made her Swedish Grand Prix team debut at the 2015 European Championships in Aachen. After a 14th place in the Grand Prix, their Grand prix Special ride did not go as planned. She had to be retired from the Special as she had threw her tongue over the bit and reared in two piaffes.

At the 2015 European Championships
In July 2016 Scandic was retired from competition sport and Deja moved into the number one spot. At the 2016 Rio Olympics she placed 16th in the Kur to Music.

In 2017 Kittel chose Delaunay as his 2017 European Championship team ride in Gothenburg.  He focused with Deja on the 2017-2018 World Cup circuit and went to the 2018 World Cup Finals in Paris, where they were fourth. 

Early End of Sport Career

Deja did one further outdoor show in 2018 and it turned out to be her last competition in her sport career: the 2018 CDIO Falsterbo. 

Deja was short-listed for the Swedish team for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, but Kittel's new Grand Prix ride Well Done de la Roche was selected

At the 2018 World Cup Finals
Deja struggled with a niggling injury towards the end of her sport career, but in June 2019 Kittel told Tidningen Ridsport it was a field accident, in which she twisted a bone, that put an end to her sport career.  

In May 2020 the mare's official retirement from sport was announced. 

Two years later, in May 2022 Haward confirmed to Eurodressage that Deja was spending her retirement in The Netherlands with Wendy Warner.


Deja produced four known offspring in her lifetime. 

As a 3-year old she delivered the 2008 born Swedish warmblood mare Diva (by Richfield), who competed at the 2013 World Young Horse Championships under Anne Svanberg and sold to Lyndal Oatley. She was trained to Grand Prix level and sold as a schoolmaster to Swedish young rider Hedda Thunberg a year ago.

Hedda Thunberg and Diva at the 2022
European Young Riders Championships
Haward tried flushing Deja for the first time in 2019, but the attempt was not successful. In July 2019 an embryo by Johnson was transferred from Deja, but it did not catch. In the spring of 2022 the first ET foal out of Deja was born, a filly by Toto Jr

Haward had one more embryo (by Sandro Hit) in the freezer and sold it at auction in July for 22,000 euro. A bidder based in Germany bought the embryo.

Photos © Astrid Appels

Related Links
Eurodressage Photo Database: Deja
Swedish Team Horse Deja Officially Retired from Sport
Patrik Kittel's Deja Injured and on Baby Break
Patrik Kittel Chooses Delaunay over Deja for the 2017 European Championships
Patrik Kittel and Deja Ace 2015 CDI Compiegne 4* Big Tour
Dressage Deja Vu for Patrik Kittel and Deja at 2015 CDI Hagen
Patrik Kittel and Deja Dominate Despite Some Detours at 2013 CDI Hagen
Deja Secured for Patrik Kittel as 2016 Rio Hopeful
Bellagio, Deja, Belamour and Paridon Magi Win 2009 Swedish Young Horse Championships