Tag Archives: Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

Interview with Niels Bruynseels, Current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender

Niels Bruynseels riding Gancia de Muze (Photo: Kit Houghton)

What have you been up to since winning the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters?

“Straight after winning the Rolex Grand Prix I celebrated with my team; we were all so excited! It was a late finish that evening, but because I only live an hour away from the show we went back to my house and continued the celebrations there.

“We went to Paris a week later and came second in the big competition there, but since then my horse has had a bit of a rest. This week she will start competing again as we start our preparations for CHIO Aachen and the next stage of the Rolex Grand Slam.”

Can you tell us a bit about your horse?

“Gancia de Muze is a very special horse; she is a 12-year-old Belgian-bred mare and has a very unique character! She is very stubborn sometimes, and I have to do everything for her otherwise she gets in a bad mood! She receives a lot of special treatment; she has lots of time in the field and because she doesn’t like flat work, so she is lunged and jumped more frequently. She is very set in her ways! But she really loves her job and enjoys herself so much at the events. Every time we compete together, she really fights for me; she has a competitive nature and wants to win!”

Are you planning on attending CHIO Aachen? If so, how are you preparing for the next part of your Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey?

“Of course, I plan to ride in the Rolex Grand Prix at Aachen; it is one of my goals to win there. This week I plan go to Madrid and will see how my horse is performing on grass. I have scheduled some competitions on grass, specifically to prepare for the Rolex Grand Prix, with the hope to continue my Rolex Grand Slam journey.”

Do you have any superstitions?

“You could say I do have one superstition… When I arrive at the hotel, I always layout my riding clothes in the same order, separating them out into ‘Day one’, ‘Day two’, and so on. It is a routine that I always go through. Aside from that I don’t have any other superstitions, just hope that my training pays off and I can perform to the best of my ability.”

Can you talk us through your daily routine when training?

“The grooms start at 6.30am; they do the morning feeds and prepare the horses. I arrive at 7.30am to begin riding the horses. Each morning, before I arrive at the stables, I make a plan for the whole day which outlines the team’s responsibilities. We have a total of 25 horses, so it is important that I stay really organized to make sure everything at the yard runs smoothly. I will then spend the day riding seven to eight horses, so I am very busy, but I love it! I concentrate fully on the training of the horses, so the days when I am not competing are completely focused on that.”

How did it feel to win a Major? What was going through your mind?

“Winning a Grand Prix is always nice, but to win a Rolex Major is very unique and so special, the feeling was unreal. The media hype is on a whole different level, and the attention I have received since then is greater than ever. Everybody is focused on the Rolex Grand Slam as it is one of the biggest parts of our sport, so everyone is talking about it which adds to the excitement. It was a magical moment and one of the best in my career so far. I hope there will be more occasions like this!”

If you weren’t a rider, what would you be?

“I have always loved horses; they are my absolute world. So, if I wasn’t a rider I would have to be something that is still horse orientated, therefore I think I would be a horse dealer.”

Do you have any hobbies?

“No hobbies, only horses! If I am at a show and have some free time I enjoy sightseeing and trying the food of the local area, but other than that it’s all about the horses.”

What is your advice for young riders?

“My advice to young riders would be: you can always keep learning from other people. Make sure when you are at events, you are watching the other competitors and seeing how they ride. If you want to improve and progress you shouldn’t rush or be frustrated when you don’t reach the top straight away; it is a step-by-step process and you can never stop learning.”

Do you feel that there is added pressure as the current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender?

“I don’t feel too stressed right now, but there is certainly a different sort of pressure that comes with being the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender. You are aware of more people talking about it and I have had a lot of people ask me if I am going for the Rolex Grand Slam. It is a different feeling right now, but I am sure at Aachen I will feel the extra pressure as I don’t want to give up my position of live contender!”

What do you want to achieve in your career; what is your dream?

“Aside from winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, I want an Olympic gold medal, whether it is with the team or as an individual – that is a big goal for me. I also hope to compete at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon this September and a medal there would be nice too!”

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Highlights News Film from the Rolex Grand Prix at the Dutch Masters

12 March 2018, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands – The Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters is one of the four equestrian Majors that form the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, and is one of the most prestigious Grand Prix on the international circuit.

Re-live the excitement from the four-day competition at one of the world’s leading indoor venues, as the finest riders compete for the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix.

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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.

1st Place: NIELS BRUYNSEELS (BEL)

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

2nd Place: MARCUS EHNING (GER)

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

3rd Place: HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED)

  • 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

Inside the Dutch Masters: Saturday 10th March

Lorenzo De Luca (picture: Ashley Neuhof).

Behind the Scenes with Lorenzo De Luca, Number One Italian Rider

Who do you think is your biggest competitor on Sunday?

“There were some great performances yesterday. I think Philipp Weishaupt is looking very good, of course Daniel Deusser was on top form last night and Luciana Diniz has been riding really well so far this year.”

“It is going to be a very tough competition as there are a lot of good riders in the line-up!”

Do you have any superstitions before you compete?

“Not really. I just stay relaxed and keep my horse nice and quiet; he is very sensitive, so I need to be calm for him. I just focus on my horse, myself and that’s it!”

What advice can you give to young riders who aspire to be in your position one day?

“My best advice would be ‘to not go too quick!’ That can cause all sorts of problems. My second piece of advice is to keep learning and growing. The Show Jumping world is such a magical place, every horse and every rider is different, so you can always expand your knowledge of the sport.”

Thoughts on the course Sunday?

“It is going to be hard! Last year I remember the course was very difficult, and now the prize money has been increased and it is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping; the competition is going to be tougher than ever. I think the crowds are in for a treat!”

Behind the Stable Door with Sean Lynch, Daniel Deusser’s Groom

Who is Daniel riding in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday?

“He is riding Cornet D’Amour on Sunday, a really special horse with a very big character. He is very sensitive to noise and when there’s lots of it; he’s not the easiest to control but he is one of the nicest horses to be around. All my horses are nice and normal though, so I never have a problem with them.”

What is the horse’s routine immediately after a big competition like the Rolex Grand Prix at a Major?

“We wash them down and give them some hay, so they can relax and cool down. We put the ice boots on and then follow up with the spa boots and as soon as they are dry we put a massage blanket on for 45 minutes! The massage blanket is amazing and has different programmes, so we usually put it on the programme designed for back treatment relief if they have jumped a big class. Cornet gets more spa treatments than any of us do!”

Are you and Daniel thinking about the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

“I am hoping that Sunday goes well and then we can really start to focus on the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.”

“It has made show jumping more interesting for the riders and the public, and it is certainly the thing that riders talk about wanting to win the most.”

“So, if we have success in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday we will be planning our schedule around the next Majors for sure.”

How do you cope with the pressure of a Rolex Grand Prix? Does Daniel feel the pressure? 

“I do feel the pressure a bit! I have to do my job well enough to make sure Daniel has the best chance on Sunday. We have to work together to make sure the horse is fit and is in peak condition. With Cornet D’Amour I always get quite nervous, especially when he has won a class already like he did in the Grand Prix qualifier last night. Sometimes I just stay quiet for the whole day and don’t talk to anyone!”

“Daniel is Mr. Cool! He doesn’t let the pressure get to him; he knows what he needs to do and does the job. For me he is one of the best riders around, very relaxed and very calm.”

The Audi Prize, and second qualifier of the Rolex Grand Prix, provided an evening of world-class entertainment in the Brabanthal arena, with only five of the 41 starters jumping clear in the first round. Maikel Van Der Vleuten was third to go in the jump-off, navigating the course in a nimble fashion to produce the winning round of the night.

1st Place: MAIKEL VAN DER VLEUTEN (NED)

  • World number 11
  • Horse: Arera C, a 13-year-old bay mare

2nd Place: JOHNNY PALS (NED)

  • One of the top Dutch riders
  • Horse: Chat Botte Du Ruisseau Z, a 10-year-old chestnut stallion

3rd Place: PEDER FREDRICSON (SWE)

  • European Champion
  • Horse: Hansson WL, A 10-year-old bay stallion

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

Inside the Dutch Masters: Friday 9th March

Kevin Staut, Anky van Grunsven (show president) and Jeroen Dubbeldam (picture: Kit Houghton).

Behind the Scenes with World Champion Jeroen Dubbeldam and Team Olympic Gold Medalist Kevin Staut

What does it mean to you as a rider to come back and try and win this Rolex Grand Prix, which is now part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

Kevin Staut: “It is very emotional. I am very motivated, as is everyone else, especially Jeroen who is on his home ground. I appreciate this show for all of the different atmospheres in the ring – It is amazing. It is difficult for indoor shows to have comfortable areas for the horses and now the stables are really quiet and peaceful; we have enough time and space during the day to ride our horses. Sometimes we don’t mention this enough, but for the top sport we need this kind of comfort. Back to the sport – I am motivated; I have my most experienced horse here, so I hope I can get a good result on Sunday.”

Jeroen Dubbeldam: “This show was already one of the best indoor shows in the world, but this year in particular the progress has been incredible. They have done a fantastic job; you can almost ride everywhere and the setup is very chic. It is the first time here for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping which is something new and special; it brings something extra to the show for us. In terms of my success, this has not been one of my favourite shows. I haven’t been successful at this show yet, but things can change. Expectations are very dangerous; you can only try to prepare yourself as much as you can and hope for the best.”

What attracts you to the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

“The first thing that attracts me is the sport itself. And then at a show like this, with such a high level of riders, a great atmosphere and with this beautiful brand Rolex as the main sponsor – if that doesn’t attract you as a rider then you had better stop riding.”

Anky van Grunsven – Show President and Dressage Legend

What does it mean for The Dutch Masters to be hosting the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping for the first time?

“It makes me happy and very proud, and now we have tried to make it look even better than before. We are very happy to be in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping with the other big names, Geneva, Calgary and Aachen. We are very honoured and very proud.”

What was your reaction when you were told that The Dutch Masters would be part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

“Yes! I think it works out well for both sides; we are happy with Rolex and we hope that they are happy with us, not just now but also in ten years’ time. The pressure is very good – if you think you’re done, well that is the beginning of the end. After Sunday we can start to think what ‘what can we do better next year. That is the only way to stay at the top.”

Behind the Stable Door with David Honnet, Groom to Scott Brash, the Only Rider to Have Won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

How do you prepare the horses for a Show like The Dutch Masters, and especially looking ahead to the Rolex Grand Prix?

“We have to make a detailed plan three to four months in advance. A Rolex Grand Slam show is very important to Scott, and the team, so we know we have to prepare really well. It is not just me; there is a really big team behind Scott so we all work together. Ursula is pretty easy to prepare because she’s naturally good for the show, she has a lot of experience, is a very calm horse, and loves to compete at the Majors especially CHIO Aachen, CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva. She is older now, so needs extra work ahead of the events to make her fit and lean because she likes her food and can get a bit fat! She also needs to be lean because the jumps are big and it’s easier for her to jump if she is lighter.”

And Hello Shelby?

“Shelby has been with us for six months now so he is still a bit green. He is the opposite of Ursula; he is fresher, so we have to keep him under control. He needs to be worked hard so that when he gets to the show he doesn’t go crazy. But he is good; he is pretty easy and straightforward.”

What are your thoughts on the Majors that make up the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

“For me, even before I worked for Scott or before Scott became a Rolex Testimonee, they have been the best shows.”

“When you go to any of the four Majors you feel history, even if you are just a groom you get a feeling that you don’t get at the other shows. I like that they are tough courses.”

“You can’t have these shows every week because it is too hard on the horses but three or four times a year, when you know it is going to be hard for the rider and the horses, but the prize is big, it is great. For me the Rolex Grand Slam is the pinnacle of the sport and is almost untouchable which makes it so exciting. Knowing how hard it is to even win one Rolex Grand Prix, to win the Rolex Grand Slam will really stay in people’s heads and is recognised and respected by everyone.”

The 5* jumping action kicked off in style at The Dutch Masters with Germany’s Daniel Deusser proving to be on top form to take the VDL Groep Prize, a qualifier for the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix taking place on Sunday 11 March.

With only three horse and rider combinations competing in the jump off, they are the ones to watch as the journey towards the Rolex Grand Slam edges a step closer:

1st Place: DANIEL DEUSSER (GER)

  • Olympic Team Bronze Medallist in 2016
  • Horse: Cornet D’Amour, a 15-year-old grey gelding

2nd Place: PHILIPP WEISHAUPT (GER)

  • Winner of two Majors, the Rolex Grand Prix in CHIO Aachen in 2016 and the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in 2017
  • Horse: LB Convall, an 11-year-old grey stallion

3rd Place: HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED)

  • World Number Two
  • Was honoured as the ‘2017 Rider of the Year’ in the Netherlands
  • Horse: Emerald, a 14-year-old chestnut stallion

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

Dutch Masters Set to Make Sensational Debut as Part of Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

Photo: Leopold van Asten, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix in March 2017 ©The Dutch Masters – Indoor Brabant.

The world’s top riders will converge in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands from 8-11 March for The Dutch Masters, the newest addition to the world’s ultimate prize in show jumping – the Rolex Grand Slam.

Eight of the world’s top 10 riders are expected to contest the highly anticipated Rolex Grand Prix, the first Major of 2018, as they seek to kick off the year in style and be in with a chance of winning the most sought-after prize in the sport: the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.  A prize of €1 million, on top of the prize money from each of the four shows, is on offer to any rider who wins three of the four Majors consecutively, with a further €1 million prize if that same rider continues his or her victory by winning a fourth Major in succession.

Anky van Grunsven, President of The Dutch Masters: “We are thrilled to become part of the prestigious Rolex Grand Slam alongside CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva – it is a real honour and we are looking forward to an exciting Grand Prix on Sunday.”

World number two ranked rider, Harrie Smolders: “What a great opportunity to have the chance to compete for one of the Majors in my own country. I am delighted that The Dutch Masters has become part of the Rolex Grand Slam and will be giving it everything I have got to try and win it.”

Founded over 50 years ago, The Dutch Masters, previously known as Indoor Brabant, has long been a highlight of the global equestrian calendar. However, the announcement in 2017 that the show would become the fourth Major within the coveted Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has elevated its status to one of the most prestigious events of the year, alongside CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva.

Over 60,000 spectators are expected to attend across the four days of competition, which also features FEI World Cup Dressage as well as the CSI5* Show Jumping, the pinnacle of which is the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday 11 March.

GRAND SLAM CHALLENGER

Sadly, American rider Kent Farrington was forced to officially withdraw from The Dutch Masters due to injury. Farrington won the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva last year and with this victory he started his challenge for the Rolex Grand Slam. Unfortunately, his chance to win the Rolex Grand Slam title is now gone for now.

Local riders Harrie Smolders and Maikel van der Vleuten, currently ranked second and eleventh in the world, respectively, will be looking to give the home crowd something to cheer about, following in the footsteps of compatriot Leopold van Asten, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix in 2017.

A strong contingent of Rolex Testimonees will be attempting to emulate the achievement of fellow Testimonee Scott Brash, who remains the only rider so far to have won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, following his emphatic victories in 2015.  Kevin Staut (FRA), a winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in 2014, heads the challenge, with Canada’s Eric Lamaze, currently ranked world No. 12, making the trip from his winter base in Florida, USA for the competition. World No. 8 Steve Guerdat (SUI) will be making his 16th appearance in a Major, the only rider to have competed in all Majors since they began in 2013, with Britain’s Scott Brash also competing as he seeks to repeat his remarkable Rolex Grand Slam feat.

Reigning European Champion and Olympic silver medalist Peder Fredricson (SWE), world No. 7 Lorenzo de Luca (ITA), and the in-form Henrik Von Eckermann, fresh from victory in FEI World Cup Qualifier in Gothenburg, will add to the stellar line-up of riders taking part.

For further information on The Dutch Masters or the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, please visit www.rolexgrandslam.com.

Riders from around the World Target Dutch Masters in Pursuit of Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

02 March 2018, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands – After a thrilling end to the 2017 international equestrian season at the CHI Geneva, with Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington securing the Rolex Grand Prix at the event for the first time, all eyes now turn to The Netherlands where many of the world’s best riders will congregate on 08-11 March, for the new first Major of the year.

Since its founding more than 50 years ago, The Dutch Masters has focused on delivering elite-level sport alongside a rich tradition and love of horses. In 2017, The Dutch Masters (formerly Indoor Brabant) welcomed 60,000 spectators across four days of competition, as the sports elite riders contested the Rolex Grand Prix, the competition highlight. Such commitment to outstanding equestrian sport and a passion for excellence reflect Rolex values, and in 2014 the leading Swiss watch brand extended its long-term partnership with the event, enhancing its position as one of the most esteemed indoor shows on the calendar.

This shared approach to the pursuit of perfection has been globally recognized, and in 2017 it was announced that The Dutch Masters would join equestrian sport’s most coveted competition, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, as the fourth Major in the cyclical calendar. It now sits beside CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva. As such, the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in 2018 will draw the world’s best riders attempting to emulate the achievement of Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash, who in 2015 became the only rider to have won this most sought-after prize to date.

THE ROLEX GRAND PRIX

A demanding course is expected at the sport’s toughest Majors, and The Dutch Masters will be no exception. Having co-designed with Gérard Lachat (SUI) the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, Louis Konickx (NED) is welcomed back for Sunday’s highlight competition. “I have designed a technically exacting course with the intention of testing these riders within one of the best indoor arenas around the globe,” Konickx said.

After his victory at the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final at CHI Geneva, Rolex Testimonee Kevin Staut is well placed to contest for the Rolex Grand Prix. “It’s always a difficult course when designed by Louis, but I look forward to taking the challenge on and will do my best to repeat my winning success here in 2014.”

Along with the roster of elite show jumpers contesting the Rolex Grand Prix, The Dutch Masters will also host the world’s top dressage riders as they compete for title places in the World Cup and World Cup freestyle competitions. Numbered among these outstanding athletes is Rolex Testimonee Isabell Werth. With a trophy cabinet overflowing with Olympic, World and European Championship medals, the knowledgeable Dutch crowd is always excited to see the German maestro in action.

ROLEX TESTIMONEES SET TO COMPETE AT ‘S-HERTOGENBOSCH

The Rolex family of Testimonees has been victorious in the Grand Prix four times since 2003, the most recent being French rider and world number four Kevin Staut, who claimed the Rolex Grand Prix in 2014 riding Silvana*HDC.

Canada’s Eric Lamaze will travel from his winter base in Florida, USA for the competition. With a string of successes already at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington (Florida), it would appear Lamaze is in prime form to take up the challenge.

The crowd will welcome the return also of homegrown hero Jeroen Dubbeldam. As reigning World Champion and a former European Champion, Dubbeldam and SFN Zenith are a formidable partnership.

Rolex’s newest Equestrian Testimonee, Martin Fuchs, and youngest, Bertram Allen, will also be entering their top mounts for the competition. Fuchs will be one of two Swiss riders from the Rolex family of Testimonees, with Steve Guerdat journeying to the Dutch show with his mare Bianca XXXIV. Guerdat was recently voted Rider of the Year 2017 and Bianca XXXIV Horse of the Year 2017 in Switzerland.

British show jumper Brash will head to The Dutch Masters looking to further enhance his revered status in the sport.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
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Merrick Haydon
merrick@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 (0)7748 186 833

A Thrilling Jump Off Saw Gregory Wathelet Claim Victory in Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen

23 July 2017, Aachen, Germany – The first equestrian Major of the year has been won by Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet riding Coree, thrilling the 40,000 capacity crowds in the main arena at CHIO Aachen in a dramatic jump off. Portugal’s Luciana Diniz riding Fit for Fun 13 was second and The Netherlands’ Marc Houtzager riding Sterrehof’s Calimero took third place.

A cool, overcast day welcomed the 40 horse and rider combinations who had qualified for the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday 23 July, the finale and highlight of the nine-day World Equestrian Festival in West Germany. As one of the four Majors which make up the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, every rider had travelled here with one aim: to win in one of the sport’s greatest outdoor arenas.

The Rolex Grand Prix course, designed by the notoriously demanding Frank Rothenberger asked these world class pairings continuous questions over the first round, with 16 jumping efforts to tackle. Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash was third to go and despite a seemingly faultless start, the penultimate triple combination saw Brash take an unlucky four faults.

Testament to the difficulty of the course, only seven clear rounds were produced within the time, including a foot perfect round from Canadian Olympic 2016 bronze medallist and Rolex Testimonee, Eric Lamaze. Two seconds faster than the rest of the field; he had set the bar high for the second round.

18 riders progressed through to round two, with Scott Brash and Eric Lamaze joined by fellow Rolex Testimonees Kent Farrington and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, both of whom carried four faults from the first round.

The course was altered for the second stage of the competition: a revised track of 15 jumping efforts tested each horse and rider combination, requiring utmost accuracy and precision to leave the poles standing. Clear rounds were easier to come by and after Luciana Diniz of Portugal followed Marc Houtzager by posting the second double clear, the crowd knew it was going to be treated to a jump-off. Gregory Wathelet of Belgium and Laura Kraut of the USA followed suit, taking the final round to four competitors. Despite recording the fastest first round ride, Rolex Testimonee Eric Lamaze had an unlucky four faults, taking him out of contention of winning the Rolex Grand Prix.

First to go in the jump off was Marc Houtzager, posting a clear round with a time of 53.66 seconds, but this was quickly beaten as Luciana Diniz raced around the course in 47.40 seconds. With two riders left to go, a hushed silence descended over the crowd as Wathelet entered the arena aboard his mare Coree. The pair turned up the pressure and took another second off the fastest recorded time, finishing on 46.60. The cheering crowd once again quietened as the last rider to go, Laura Kraut, entered the arena. Unfortunately, luck is not always on your side in this sport and Kraut knocked the last rail, dropping her into fourth place, giving Wathelet the title spot.

Speaking about his first Rolex Grand Prix win at CHIO Aachen, Wathelet remarked, “Rolex has the best Shows to form the Rolex Grand Slam with Aachen, Calgary, Geneva and Den Bosch and every rider wants to win. For me it is a dream come to true to win the Rolex Grand Prix at Aachen and have my name on the wall and Calgary would be the same, so I hope to get a good result there also.”

Show Director Frank Kemperman spoke after the Rolex Grand Prix: “First of all I would like to congratulate the winners; you presented some fantastic sport today; a special thank you to your horses. A big thank you to Rolex because without Rolex it would not be possible to have this Grand Prix today. This is the start of a new Rolex Grand Slam for Gregory; our friends in Calgary and Geneva are waiting for you.”

Along with the prestigious Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping trophy, Wathelet also received an engraved Oyster Perpetual Datejust II. All eyes will now be looking ahead to the next equestrian Major at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in September, where Wathelet will be attempting to continue his reign as the live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0)22 302 2619

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Rod Kohler
rod@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 (0)7770 647 662

CHIO Aachen Welcomes the World’s Best to Contend for the First Equestrian Major of 2017

05 July 2017, Aachen, Germany – Elite competitors and world-class show jumping will be on display at CHIO Aachen this July, as the sport’s leading riders compete in the first equestrian Major of the year.

Each summer over 360,000 spectators travel to the iconic equestrian venue in West Germany to watch five disciplines of equestrian sport over 10 days; this includes dressage, eventing, driving, vaulting and show jumping. Hailed as the world’s greatest equine sporting exhibition, the historic CHIO Aachen is one of the calendar year’s most highly anticipated events.

The competition will culminate on Sunday 23 July with the highlight of the show, the Rolex Grand Prix. As part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping the pinnacle of CHIO Aachen will be played out in front of a full house in the main jumping arena, a spectator setting which accommodates over 40,000 fans. Part of the magic of the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen can be attributed to the notorious difficulty of the jumping efforts, designed by world-famous Frank Rothenberger. Generally considered the most demanding course for show jumping athletes, the competing horse and rider combinations will strive to be crowned the coveted champion by producing a faultless performance over the 1.60m 5* track.

Having taken the top spot in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in December last year, Brazil’s Pedro Veniss will be seeking his second consecutive Major to keep his Grand Slam dream alive.

ROLEX AND CHIO AACHEN

Rolex prides itself on its long standing partnerships at the pinnacle of the sport. 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of Pat Smythe becoming Rolex’s first equestrian Testimonee, an example of an exceptional athlete who laid the foundations for the enduring relationship between Rolex and the world’s finest competitions and Testimonees that is thriving today.

CHIO Aachen is a shining example of that flourishing relationship. The affiliation between Rolex and Aachen has continued to go from strength-to-strength since ties were first made in 1999.

Rolex Director of Communication & Image, Arnaud Boetsch, said: “As Rolex celebrates 60 years in equestrianism we remain dedicated to one of the greatest equestrian shows of the calendar year. Like Rolex, Aachen is an iconic institution symbolising both heritage and world class performance.”

SHOW JUMPING’S SUPREME COMPETITION

Established collectively in 2013 by CHIO Aachen, CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has been extended to four Majors with the inclusion of The Dutch Masters in 2018. Riders will now have the chance to win the coveted title at four events across the show jumping year while keeping the same format of needing to win three consecutive Majors to claim the Grand Slam title.

In 2017 the world’s best will be hoping to replicate the achievement of Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash, the British rider who made history in 2015 by winning every consecutive Grand Slam Event, the first ever rider to do so.

Brash remarked: “Every rider wants to be part of the Rolex Grand Slam and have the opportunity to try and win the most coveted prize in our sport. Aachen is a highlight of the year and everyone will be heading to the first equestrian Major with one aim: to win.”

ROLEX EQUESTRIAN TESTIMONEES AT CHIO AACHEN – PAST AND PRESENT

Rolex understands that to produce one’s very best, precision is of the utmost importance. This attention to detail that can be found in abundance amongst its sporting affiliates, not least its equestrian Testimonees.

The equestrian athletes who perform at the highest level must hone their craft so that they can execute to such a finely tuned detail under immense pressure and when the stakes are at their highest.

The Grand Prix (named Rolex Grand Prix since 1999) at CHIO Aachen has an illustrious list of previous winners not least the legendary father and son duo of Nelson and Rodrigo Pessoa, Rolex’s longest serving equestrian Testimonee. Alongside Rodrigo, Canada’s two-time Individual gold medal winner, Eric Lamaze, the ‘first lady’ of German show jumping, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, and Dutch hero Jeroen Dubbeldam have all taken the title spot here.

American Olympian and current World Number One Kent Farrington will be looking to continue his fine form at Aachen after being crowned champion at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in the Rolex Grand Prix, for the second year running.

With recent victory in the CSIO 5* FEI Nations cup in La Baule, Kevin Staut will be a keen contender for the title prize. Swiss rider Steve Guerdat and Rolex’s youngest Testimonee Bertram Allen will both be travelling to Germany to challenge their international rivals.

Rolex’s most decorated dressage Testimonee, World and Olympic gold medalist Isabell Werth has won Aachen’s dressage Grand Prix an outstanding 10 times. As runner-up in last year’s event expect her to be at her best as she attempts to claim a coveted 11th title in the breathtaking 6,300 seater Deutsche Bank Stadium.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0)22 302 2619

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Rod Kohler
rod@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 (0)7770 647 662

The Second Equestrian Major of the Year Welcomes the World’s Best to Canada

05 September 2016, Spruce Meadows, Canada – The world’s best horse and rider combinations will gather in Calgary from 7-11 September as Spruce Meadows plays host to the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the second equestrian Major of the year.

The 41st edition of this world-renowned event will culminate on Sunday 11 September with the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex, the focal point of the Masters and one of the world’s most demanding Grand Prix competitions on the equestrian circuit. As part of the three Majors that link the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, it is fitting that this prestigious trophy will be contended by Rolex Testimonees and the only Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping winner Scott Brash, alongside current Olympic Individual bronze medallist and Rolex Testimonee, Eric Lamaze.

“Winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping at Spruce Meadows in 2015 was a dream come true for me so it holds great memories, I’d love to go back there and try and earn the title again,” says Scott Brash ahead of his return to the iconic venue where he became the first ever victor of the Rolex Grand Slam by virtue of winning his third consecutive major.

All eyes will be focused on the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Philipp Weishaupt, winner of the first Equestrian Major, the Rolex Grand Prix, at CHIO Aachen in July, aboard LB Convall.

Weishaupt will be looking to continue his path towards greatness and produce a performance akin to that in Aachen, one of precision and perfection, which will be required in order to reign supreme against the world’s greatest.

THE ROLEX GRAND SLAM OF SHOW JUMPING
Launched in 2013, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is the only global initiative to reward the outstanding rider who wins the three Majors consecutively – CHIO Aachen in Germany, the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in Canada and CHI Geneva in Switzerland.

Only a great horseman or woman could win show jumping’s most prestigious challenge. In September 2015, the British competitor, Scott Brash made history and became the first ever to succeed.

SPRUCE MEADOWS MASTERS
Spruce Meadows is regarded as the most versatile event location in the world. It was the founding family’s vision to create a unique friendly atmosphere where trade and world class sport could thrive. The Masters tournament is the climax of four months of world class equine competition, everything show jumping has to offer is at home in Spruce Meadows, ranging from youth and amateur through to the pinnacle of professional sport.

The seven outdoor arenas and two indoor arenas are spread out over grounds measuring 553 acres, making it an ideal venue to stable 1,000 horses and host approximately 500,000 spectators every year. Set among rolling green pastures with the beautiful backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, Spruce Meadows is a unique and world-renowned venue.

ROLEX TESTIMONEES
A fascination with equestrian sport comes from the fact that however talented and consistent riders may be, they must possess an exceptional range of abilities to form winning partnerships with their horses. They must be patient, sportsmanlike and courageous. Rolex has developed particularly close partnerships with a handful of the very best riders in the world – its equestrian Testimonees, all of whom reflect these qualities.

Many of Rolex’s Testimonees are returning with their leading horses this year. U.S. Olympic silver medal winning team member Kent Farrington will be there to contend for this trophy alongside 2012 Olympic Champion and Rolex Grand Prix winner at CHI Geneva in 2015, Steve Guerdat.

The Canadian sporting hero Eric Lamaze will also compete this year. He took home Individual gold at the 2008 Olympics and Individual bronze at this year’s Olympics in Rio, and his many Spruce Meadows victories include two at The International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex (the predecessor to the now CP ‘International’).

The 2015 winner and Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping champion Scott Brash will be returning to defend his title, alongside the ‘first lady’ of German show jumping Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, fresh from claiming Team bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. French rider Kevin Staut will also travel to Canada after a successful Olympics winning Team gold in the show jumping competition.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0)22 302 2619

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Rod Kohler
rod@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 (0)7770 647 662