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The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2017/2018 – Paris
The FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2017/2018 will be taking place in Paris, France, from 10 to 15 April 2018. The City of Light will welcome the best riders from the various leagues around the world for the season’s final showdown.
Founded in 1979, the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping undoubtedly represents the greatest of triumphs as it is contested across all continents and over the course of an entire season. The true culmination of several months of competitions, the final of this prestigious event takes place over several days, with a new winner being crowned at the end of the third trial: a Grand Prix in two rounds open to the 30 best-ranked riders. This major international event will take place in the heart of Paris at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, now completely refurbished and renamed the AccorHotels Arena. This is one of the French capital’s flagship events venues, having successfully held a host of major arts and sporting events, and will provide the perfect setting for this prestigious and popular sporting occasion. The most recent Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final took place in Omaha in April 2017. Stefanie Graf, the iconic women’s tennis star and Longines Ambassador of Elegance, was delighted to attend the fiercely contested competition, which was won magnificently by the American rider McLain Ward on HH Azur.
­Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping
Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League
The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League is a range of indoor competitions which has taken place every year since 1978. The trial heats take place in several European countries, providing the qualifying route to the grand final which brings together riders from the different leagues all over the world. Intense excitement is guaranteed from the start of the different qualifying stages, with the best riders competing for a strictly limited number of places in the final.
Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League
The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League was reformatted for the 2015/2016 season. Seven events are held on the East Coast, and seven on the West Coast — a total of fourteen competitions in North America (USA, Canada and Mexico). Each of these stages serves as an elimination event for the final of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping, in which the best riders from the various international leagues compete.
Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping China League
The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping China League takes place in three distinct stages. Sport and elegance are the highlights of this prestigious competition which reunites the best riders and horses in China, as well as some of the greatest names on the world stage, the climax being the qualifying round for the final of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping.
Longines signs long-term title partnership of FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping and extends global agreement as FEI Top Partner
Longines becomes Title Partner of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping series as part of a long-term agreement with the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI), with the new partnership celebrated at September’s Final in Barcelona. Longines, which became the FEI’s first Top Partner in 2013, has also extended its global partnership with the FEI in a historic agreement signed in Gothenburg (SWE) last August.
The landmark agreement, which was brokered by FEI President Ingmar de Vos and Longines Vice President and Head of International Marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli, is the most significant in the history of the FEI. The initial long-term partnership between the global governing body of equestrian sport and the Swiss watch brand has another five years to run, but under the terms of the new agreement, the global partnership has now been extended. Longines was also the Title Partner of the 2017 FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona (ESP), the iconic venue for the Olympic equestrian events at the Barcelona Games 25 years ago. This Final has been renamed the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final and the series, starting from 2018, will be known as the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping.

Also included in the extended global agreement are Longines’ continued role as FEI Top Partner, and title partnership of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League, North American League and China League. Longines also remains Official Timekeeper and Official Watch of the FEI and Official Timekeeper of the FEI World Equestrian Games™. Additionally, Longines will continue to invest in the development of cutting-edge time-keeping and data-handling services and related technology, together with the FEI, specifically for equestrian sport.

“ This new and extended agreement with Longines is the most significant in the history of the FEI and possibly even in the history of equestrian sport ”, FEI President Ingmar de Vos said. “ It doesn’t just secure the long-term future of our flagship team series, the FEI Nations Cup, it provides the whole industry with a previously unseen level of support. We are so grateful for what Longines does for the equestrian world and the trust that they place in the FEI as a partner. It’s a logical extension of the existing very successful partnership and I know I speak for the entire equestrian community when I express my gratitude to Longines, and particularly to Mrs. Nayla Hayek, Mr. Walter von Känel and Mr. Juan-Carlos Capelli, for their unwavering support of our sport. ”

Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing said : “ We are really proud of the strong partnership we have established with the FEI since 2013, which has made Longines a major player in this field. Since then the brand has further reinforced its association with this prestigious institution through events and series taking place all across the globe, and today, in becoming the Title Partner of the Longines FEI Nations CupTM Jumping. We would like to thank the President of the FEI, Mr. Ingmar de Vos, as well as his team for having made this new agreement possible. ”
Interview with Sylvie Robert GL Events
Present on five continents with operations in more than 20 countries, in 2016 GL events had 3,934 employees and revenue of 953 million. The company’s expertise in organisation, management and services is what has driven its success. Director of Equestrian Events, Sylvie Robert, talks about her experiences within the horse world, and looks forward to hosting the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping and FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals in Paris, France next year.
Sylvie, tell us about your connection with the horse world and about GL events involvement with show organisation.
Sylvie Robert
Horses have always been a passion. My mother rode and passed on her passion to several of her children and grand-children. I’ve been riding since I was 10 years old, my brother Olivier Ginon, Founder and President of the GL events Group, used to ride, and my twin daughters too. Today I’m very lucky to have a dozen horses, including some that are retired. I regularly participate at CSI-2* shows and am also a breeder. The GL events Group took ownership of Equita Lyon Exhibition in 1995. Initially I looked after the sport and the equestrian end of things, and then in 2003, I became director of both the exhibition and the show. We staged our first CSI-4* in 2005.
How would you describe your style of management, and what exactly does GL events do ?
S. R.
My office door is always open so every member of the team can always come and ask for advice. We share a lot and the team know they can always call me, send me an email, an SMS, night or day. My team is composed of twenty people full time, and all of them are passionate. Most of them are riders as well, and we regularly take part in the same shows during the weekend. I really think Team Equita is like a family! GL events is based in Lyon, France, and is a world-class provider of integrated solutions and services, operating across the three main market segments - Live, Exhibitions and Venues. The GL events Group was and is involved in many events throughout the world, including the Olympic Games, continuously since 1992. It is a real advantage to have this knowledge and experience within our network.
Tell us about your connection with the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifiers and the 2014 Final at Lyon ?
S. R.
Lyon has been hosting a FEI World Cup Jumping qualifier since 2009, and we staged the first Longines Final in 2014. That was an extraordinary adventure for both horses and humans! I’m totally immersed in equestrian sport and I can remember each World Cup leg held in Lyon. Even though I am quite busy during the show, I enjoy every minute of it and we have been very lucky with so many charismatic riders competing at our events including Switzerland’s Beat Mändli, Roger-Yves Bost and Pénélope Leprévost from France. The 2014 Final was a great challenge as we really wanted to satisfy Longines, a company that has been a huge supporter of our sport.
What are you expectations for the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Paris ?
S. R.
I have great memories of the last Jumping and Dressage World Cup Finals held in Paris in 1987 and 1991, and I will be pleased to present the new generation of sportsmen, sportswomen and equestrian fans with a fantastic experience in this magical venue. After Euro 2016 and looking forward to the 2024 Olympics, an incredible sporting spirit now exists in Paris which we are proud to support by associating the highest level of equestrian sport with it. We are delighted to contribute to the return of top-class equestrian sport to Paris, as we did in 2010 when horses returned to jump under the glass roof of the Grand Palais. In fact I am very sure that AccorHotels Arena venue will be the playground of major equestrian fixtures in the coming years, like the famous Bercy Arena was in recent decades.
You received the prestigious Légion d’Honneur in 2015 - please tell us about the background to that.
S. R.
That was a huge honour. It was presented by the Sport Minister Thierry Braillard and it was motivated by the contribution I have made to sport and equestrianism in France. I really consider it a team award. The team around me plays a major role as well.
You were presented with a Longines Ladies Award in 2014 - was that a special moment for you ?
S. R.
I was really proud and honoured to receive it. I really consider myself and my team as partners of Longines. We work hand by hand together with a high level of cooperation, we think together, we decide together and we look forward together, and receiving the award meant that the way we collaborate lived up to Longines expectations. The main objective of my career is to satisfy the public and the partners who make such a major contribution to our sport.
Tell us about your heroes, in both your working and private life. The people who have most influenced your life-path and career.
S. R.
When I was a teenager, I particularly admired Janou Lefèbvre, who was the national champion and twice medallist at the Olympic Games. Today, I am still fascinated by Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, first lady to be world #1, three times winner of the FEI World Cup Final and definitely a legend among riders. I also admire another great lady and Olympic champion from France, Pénélope Leprévost, German rider Marcus Ehning and our local hero Michel Robert who is involved in all the equestrian events we organise. Since my youth I’ve been in touch with riders who are now part of the elite, like Philippe Rozier and Roger-Yves Bost who are good friends of mine.On the business side, I must say that my brother Olivier Ginon really influenced the way I’ve been working. He is a self-made man, very instinctive and intuitive. We are very close to each other since we were kids. In everyday business life it is great to have a man such as Olivier who gives you time even though he is very busy.
Describe the crowning moment of your career so far.
S. R.
I wouldn’t say that the crowning moment of my career has already come! When the first horse entered the Grand Palais arena 2010 - that is one of the beautiful moments I have in mind. What a thrill to see horses back to this fantastic venue in Paris ! The great French rider, Pierre Jonquères d’Oriola, used to say that riding in the Grand Palais was like riding in paradise - he was right ! I also have great memories of 1987 and 1991 Jumping and Dressage FEI World Cup Finals in Paris. We are delighted to contribute to their return to la Ville Lumière (city of lights) ! Other special moments include the 2005 edition of Equita Lyon, when I became director of the event and the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in 2014. Thanks to Longines I have enjoyed many unforgettable experiences at Royal Ascot, Prix de Diane Longines, the Longines Ladies Awards, the prestigious Dubai World Cup and more …
What advice do you have for young people setting out on a career in any sphere today ?
S. R.
LI feel very lucky because I work in a field about which I am passionate. It is easier to wake up in the morning when you love your work. Loving your work gives you motivation and it is easier to work hard in these conditions. The advice I would give is a mother’s advice, who has to be caring for the future of her kids: live your passion but put all the chances on your side: study, work hard, don’t think the chance will come by itself, you have to look for this chance. Live your dreams and face reality. This is the advice I gave to my twin daughters : one studies laws, and the second one medicine. Once they have their diploma, they will give their passion a chance, I hope.
What qualities do you most admire in others, and why ?
S. R.
I am a rider myself, and I would say that the qualities I most admire are those of the best riders. Respect, patience, humility, never being afraid to begin again and again, from the start. Horses remind you to stay humble.
You have been involved in equestrian sport for many years - do you have a vision for the future ?
S. R.
From a global and international point of view, I would say that the involvement of great luxury brands, such as Longines for equestrianism, really contributes to the development of the sport. Everyone involved in equestrianism and business has experienced the rapid expansion, and it comes about through exposure. In 2016 for instance, Equita Lyon was broadcast in 90 countries, with more than 180 hours of TV or web TV streaming. I hope that it will grow even more in the years to come. [Daphne Deschamps]
The Longines Masters of New York
When the lights in the arena go down, the beautiful and powerful relationship between a horse and rider captures the spotlight. Fittingly partnered by Longines, the company behind the sparkle on wrists around the world, the Longines Masters Series, the Grand Slam Indoor of Show Jumping, is bringing equestrian sports to the forefront. Originally captivating audiences in Paris, the show jumping competition has expanded its international footprint to Hong Kong and North America. The glamor of Paris and unequivocal beauty of Hong Kong will set the stage for the series’ culmination in the third and final leg making its debut in New York, in April 2018. The ultimate in luxury and culture, New York is the ideal new setting for the American leg of the grand slam of the Longines Masters Series. Taking place at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, April 26-29, 2018, the Longines Masters of New York will be the first indoor equestrian competition in Long Island, appealing to fans and riders throughout the East Coast, Canada, and Mexico.

EEM, founder and creator of the prestigious indoor series, will transform the arena, highlighting the power, speed, and agility of equestrian sports while delighting fans with a weekend of activities and excitement. Housed in the heart of New York horse country, the Longines Masters of New York will be the must-attend event of spring 2018, attracting the world’s top-ranked equestrian athletes as well as the New York socialite scene. In the world of equestrian sports, the Longines Masters Series offers an unparalleled cultural experience. Dazzling spectators in three of the most iconic cultural capitals - Paris, Hong Kong, and now New York ‒ the Longines Masters Series mirrors the art, music, and gastronomic creativity of these cities. Fast-paced, heart-pounding equestrian sport throughout each four-day event in classes such as the one-of-a-kind Longines Speed Challenge and the Longines Grand Prix - is complemented by live musical performances, luxury shopping, refined dining, and more. The Prestige Village will allow guests to indulge in luxury of all kinds and have a sneak peak of the riders as they warm up for the ring. As spectators pass through the Prestige Village, they will enter the iconic coliseum where Bruce Springsteen rocked the stage so many times and have the opportunity to witness his daughter, Jessica Springsteen, jump to new heights in the arena. The Longines Masters of New York will highlight the incredible international talent of the best riders in the world as well as some of the most watched emerging East Coast talent. Hosting such a special event in the United States at the Coliseum allows riders from all over North America to have the chance to compete on an annual basis under the lights of a professional arena that once housed Stanley Cup champions. New York promises to be an action-packed crowd with the goal of continuing the Longines Masters traditions but also serving to grow the sport in the greatest city in the world.

New Yorkers will have an additional element of excitement for the event as they cheer for New York’s strong group of local riders. Show jumping legends like McLain Ward, Georgina Bloomberg, and Amateur Ariana Rockefeller will have the unique opportunity to showcase their talent in the city they love and call home. New York horse enthusiasts of all ages have been eagerly awaiting an indoor stadium show jumping event as iconic as past National Horse Shows at Madison Square Garden. For the new generation of equestrians, this will be the first time seeing a show jumping competition in an indoor arena in New York.

The annual Longines Masters Series kicks off the 2017/2018 season in Paris in December 2017, taking center ring in Hong Kong in February 2018, and now - for the first time - culminate in New York in April 2018. The Coliseum has housed some of the most legendary events and amazing accomplishments. It is home to the ice rink where the legendary New York Islanders brought home four Stanley Cup Trophy's and the stage where Billy Joel performed 32 times to sell out crowds. Clearly, under these lights, this is where champions compete and legends rise.
Longines Global Champions Tour
WA World Wide Phenomenon
Known as one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions, the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) is famous not just for delivering guaranteed top-level sport for fans, but for holding events set against many of the most unique and iconic backdrops in the world. From the sands of Miami Beach, to the harbours of Monaco, under the Eiffel Tower to the bright lights of Shanghai, the Tour's circuit includes breathtaking locations and pioneering show jumping events across three different continents.
In 2017 the prestigious circuit totalled 15 events. A strategic expansion to new territories in recent years has seen the championship series take place in China and the Americas stretching its global footprint further.

The LGCT organisation is highly specialised at organising these world class events in thrilling but logistically challenging locations, always ensuring the horses’ welfare and comfort are top priority. Take Miami Beach as an example : 200 sport horses arrive each April to delight tourists, residents and guests in this sensational event. The European horses fly from Belgium to the USA on special cargo planes with spacious air-conditioned stalls – the equivalent of flying ‘business class’. They head straight from Miami International Airport to their stables and some early exercise next to the Ocean.

Every year the show takes to the road from April to November heading to the Americas, to Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Other destinations include Mexico City, London’s Royal Hospital Chelsea, the state-of-the-art Tops International Arena in Valkenswaard, Rome’s Stadio dei Marmi and Berlin’s Sommergarten.

Around the world VIPs witness top sport in luxurious surroundings, experiencing local delicacies and gastronomical delights while enjoying breathtaking views of the action.

In its debut year, the LGCT of Miami Beach was celebrated not only for its top level sporting action, but also for the impact it had on the City. Michael Bloomberg, who attended the show, commented : “ I think this is a wonderful thing for Miami and for the economy of Miami. This could become like the Formula 1 is to Monaco and places like that not just the people who come to watch the show, the people who support it, the people who work in the hotels where we all stay, the restaurants. It is amazing the hard work that goes into this. ”

Top Italian rider Lorenzo de Luca believes the brilliance of having events in the city centres is paramount to broadening the sport, and feels the prestige of having an event in his own Capital city : “ To have an event like this, right in a city such as Rome, is really unique, and with free access to the public it is a fantastic opportunity to bring show jumping to new fans. The LGCT goes to incredible places around the world - next to the ocean in Miami Beach, to Shanghai, under the Eiffel Tower in Paris ... so it is with great pride we have an event in Italy’s capital. ”

LGCT made history with an important ruling allowing international sport horses into China for the first time ever. Even during the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, the equestrian competitions were held in Hong Kong not on mainland China. But after years of patient work with the European Commission and the Chinese Government, Longines Global Champions Tour won permission for special quarantine arrangements and a new event in Shanghai’s Pudong District joined the circuit. The Longines Global Champions Tour of Shanghai has quickly evolved as a popular event both for sport and the social scene, with spectators and guests dressed as if for Royal Ascot. A popular Longines boutique attracts fans in the luxurious shopping village, with local spectators excitedly taking selfies, meeting the Longines Ambassadors of Elegance and trying to win the award of “ best dressed ” at the show. Indeed, the event has bred a new army of fans who are enjoying show jumping as an aspirational past-time and more and more equestrian clubs are springing up across China.

At the heart of this international show jumping circuit are horses. LGCT attracts the superstars of the sport. These uber equine athletes, worth millions of euros, deliver ever greater levels of competition each season. And, needless to say, horse welfare is at the heart of everything with the best facilities in the sport to ensure top-level care. And now the sport is booming around the world with record-breaking prize money, a growing fan following, more media attention and more countries competing on the LGCT circuit.

The Tour, established in 2006 by Dutch Olympic gold medallist Jan Tops, features individual competition at the highest level. All season the very best rider and horse combinations jump in a variety of small and large arenas on sand and on grass surfaces by day and by night. The coveted crown can only be won by true all-rounders who perform with consistency through the season.

LGCT President and Founder Jan Tops said : “ When I launched the Tour back in 2006 I had been in show jumping as a rider for many years and I knew the sport had to change and come into the modern era. I wanted to raise standards across the board so that all stakeholders benefitted. We raised the bar across all areas from better facilities for riders and horses, including very important investment in the best possible welfare at the events for the horses. We worked hard to increase TV and media coverage of the sport and improved hospitality for guests to enjoy the experience of a show jumping event. We have been pioneering and introduced a lot of change to show jumping. One of the key steps was to take our sport to city centres and to bring show jumping to more people to make it more accessible, to grow our fan base. At the heart of what we do will always be top sport, but we also deliver a superb experience for fans and guests who are new to show jumping and want to enjoy a great day out. ”

And the current top riders who star in the spotlight agree. Scott Brash, Olympic Gold Medallist and two time LGCT Champion of Champions spoke of the evolution of the sport : “ I think what LGCT has done over the years has always been at the forefront of developing our sport. ”

Fellow rider, top German hero Marcus Ehning echoed Brash’s sentiments, praising the hard work and passion put into making the Championship series so universally successful : “ It is one of the biggest improvements in the sport in the last twenty years for all of show jumping worldwide. I think over the years you could see how the sport improved, and what kind of countries we have now with all the stages. It’s amazing what Jan did. ”

There have been a variety of Champions throughout the twelve year history of the Tour. As well as double champions Brash and Edwina Tops-Alexander, past winners include Rolf-Göran Bengtsson with his much loved stallion, the now retired Casall ASK, Luciana Diniz, German hero Marcus Ehning and recent Rio Olympic Gold Medallist Nick Skelton. This year, Dutchman Harrie Smolders made history by becoming the first rider to win the Tour before the season has finished, adding his name to the illustrious list of stars to claim the prestigious title.

The new season will kick off in 2018 with the spectacular Mexico City raising the curtain to the Championship bid, and while it is anyone's guess which athlete will shine brightest of all in the thirteenth season of thrilling sporting action, one thing is for sure - 2018 promises to be a breathtaking showcase of world class talent and opportunity, but most of all, an exciting year for further pushing the boundaries of innovation and evolution within the sporting world.
Sport and glamour in the heart of the City of Light
The Longines Paris Eiffel Jumping, which was the 8th leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour, gathered some of the world’s best riders and horses of the world at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. As Title Partner and Official Timekeeper of the event, Longines is proud to have timed the victory of Julien Epaillard on Usual Suspect D’auge during the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Paris.
Longines is delighted to have presented the 2017 Longines Paris Eiffel Jumping from 30 June to 2 July. After its move to the Plaine de Jeux de Bagatelle, on the banks of the River Seine, last year, the event returned to its exclusive location on the Champ de Mars, in the very heart of Paris. This event, which combines top level show-jumping and glamour atmosphere, saw the victory of Julien Epaillard riding Usual Suspect D’auge during the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Paris. Every year, the Longines Paris Eiffel Jumping attracts thousands of equestrian sports fans to the City of Light, one of the world’s most visited capitals thanks to its host of tourist attractions and picturesque locations. For the fourth edition of this unique event, Longines invited visitors to take a ride on the beautiful Longines Carousel, which proved a big hit with children and adults alike.
The show jumping conductor
Likening a show jumping course builder to a conductor might seem farfetched, but both need to have an acute sense of tempo and rhythm, and both need to connect and make an impact with the audience. So, while a conductor guides the orchestra by controlling the pace and seduces the audience by bringing a musical score to life, the course builder designs a course that can be completed in a set time, that brings out the best in riders and horses and that keeps the spectators in its thrall throughout the competition.
In the world of show jumping and especially in the Longines Global Champions Tour, one of the world’s premier five-star show jumping event that takes competitors around the world to places like Monaco, London, Miami Beach, Mexico City and Shanghai, a well-designed course goes hand in hand with a successful competition. As these events attract the world’s best riders, the course builder has to find the perfect balance between creating a true test, whilst at the same time keeping it fair to rider and horse.

Longines Ambassador of Elegance Jane Richard, who regularly competes in the Longines Global Champions Tour explains : “ There are many aspects that can make a course difficult. The height of the jumps is probably the least of it at this level of the competition. Technical aspects, like the sequence of fences, are much more important. Jumping a vertical after an oxer or an oxer after a vertical will require different techniques, while jumping a fence that is near to the exit door of the arena or is lined by spectators, can also be tricky, especially for the younger, more inexperienced horses. If the sequence is tough and your horse starts to struggle, it can have a knock-on effect as you lose your rhythm. And then there is the issue of staying within the given time. When you are running out of time you create more opportunities for mistakes, as you are rushing your horse into the jumps. For me, a good course is one that is fair to rider and horse. I don’t want my horse to become anxious or discouraged. If it does make a mistake I still want it to go back into the arena and try again. That for me is the essence of a well-designed course. ”

A man who has plenty of experience in building state of the art courses for the Longines Global Champions Tour is Italian Uliano Vezzano. A proper horseman, who used to ride the horses of Maestro Luciano Pavarotti, he has been creating, building and designing courses far longer than he cares to remember and today is one of the most respected course builders in the industry. He loves the challenge of designing new courses in new locations, but is above all passionate about the welfare of the horses and riders.

“ Competitions today need to be spectacular, ” he says. “ You have to entertain both the audience and the riders. But above everything else, you must respect the horse. You don’t want to create a stage where the actors harm themselves, you want to prepare a stage where they can excel themselves. Each event is different, in each place you can work with different structures and different surfaces. You want to make sure that there are enough technical difficulties throughout the course that the riders have to be concentrated from the beginning to the end, that there is suspense at each jump. And then in the jump-off, which is always the highlight for the audience, as the field has preferably dwindled down to 25 %, it is all about speed and quick turns. Here, I like to give riders the options to choose their own way to approach the jump, the one they deem best for their horse. You mustn’t forget that each rider has a different type of horse and that their strides are all different. When I design a course I always bear in mind the medium stride of a horse, but it is the rider who must decide if he wants to give the horse another stride when he approaches the obstacle or if he wants to remove one. ”

Giving the rider different options on how to approach the jump is the true art in the world of the professional show jumping course builder. It is a real skill to design a course that will eliminate 75 % of the competitors without causing a major accident, leaving 25 % of top riders qualified for the jump off. Indeed, if too many riders go clear in the first round, the competition loses its momentum and if too few get through to the jump off, it creates an anti-climax.

To build a course that suits everyone, Uliano Vezzano will spend a lot of his time speaking to the competitors. “ Before each competition, I speak to the riders, ” he confirms. “ It is an extremely important moment for me. Their point of view allows me to grow in my work, as it is a competition and not a battle between course designer and riders. Our collaboration ensures that we can all enjoy some of the most unforgettable moments in our sport. ”

Just like an orchestra that comes to life with the help of its conductor, the show jumping world relies on its course builder to produce those exhilarating jump-offs that make this sport so exciting to watch. [Liz Price]
Longines Deauville Classic
Glamour and top sport were the order of the day in the delightful setting of Normandy’s Côte Fleurie at the inaugural edition of the Longines Deauville Classic.
The first edition of the Longines Deauville Classic, a competition combining sport and lifestyle, took place from 4 to 6 August 2017 at Deauville’s International Equestrian Complex. The Swiss watch brand Longines is proud to support this competition in its capacity as Title Partner and Official Timekeeper. By partnering this new event, Longines has stepped up its involvement in French showjumping. The brand is also associated with the Longines Race, an interdisciplinary meeting combining flat racing, showjumping and polo. This rather original sporting event, which proved a big hit with the large Deauville crowd it drew, was won by the team comprising Adeline Hécart, Jacques Ricou and the Argentine polo player Jorge Pepa. Longines also supported one of the competition’s flagship events, the Grand Prix Longines Région Normandie, which was won by Alexandra Paillot on her gelding Polias de Blondel. The French showjumper was presented with an elegant Longines timepiece by Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President and Head of International Marketing for the brand. Lastly, the Swiss watchmaker made use of the Deauville event to reaffirm its commitment to the charitable organisation JustWorld International as part of the Longines “ Clear the Jump ” initiative, presenting the charity with a cheque for the equivalent of 5,000 meals. In only its first year, the Longines Deauville Classic has proved a resounding success, promising a bright future for this new equestrian event.