World of Showjumping

Inside CSIO Spruce Meadows 'Masters' 2019: Riders to watch at this year’s CP 'International', presented by Rolex

Monday, 02 September 2019
CSIO5* Spruce Meadows 'Masters' 2019

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch

Photo © Rolex / Ashley Neuhof Steve Guerdat at CHIO Aachen 2019 Photo © Rolex / Ashley Neuhof.


Press release from the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping



This September, international show jumping fans from around the world will turn their attention to the third Major in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’. Taking place between 4–8 September 2019, the Rocky Mountains of Calgaryonce again play host to the world’s leading riders and horses for five days of intense competition and equestrian mastery. The event, which attracts 100,000 spectators to its grounds, has been regarded as one of the leading equestrian events in North America. Rolex has proudly been a supporter of the show since 1989. 

The CP ‘International’ presented by Rolex will welcome the most established equestrian athletes from around the globe to compete for the sport’s most coveted prize. Looking ahead to the third Major of the year, there are some competitors who have consistently performed to the highest level and look to be strong contenders heading into the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’.  

Rolex Grand Slam live contender and Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington, claimed the top prize at CHIO Aachen this summer, beating seven horse-and-rider combinations in the final round aboard the supreme mare, Gazelle. 40,000 spectators filled CHIO Aachen’s main stadium to watch the unstoppable pair as they flew through the jump-off, producing a clear round in 43.98 seconds. Frequently named one of the fastest riders in the world, the US show jumper has proved time and time again that he is more than capable of taking home the top prize at the next Major.

Great Britain’s star show jumper and Rolex Testimonee, Scott Brash has also been on form this season. Great Britain was the winning team at the Nations Cup­­­ in Dublin, Ireland in August, which saw Brash achieve a foot-perfect double clear with Lady Harris’s and Lady Kirkham’s Hello Jefferson. As the only person to have ever won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the Scottish-born rider has his eyes firmly set on another victory this year in Calgary

Rolex Testimonee and Swiss legend, Steve Guerdat has once aagain held his position as the World number one-ranked show jumper for the eighth consecutive month. Guerdat, aboard Venard de Cerisy, narrowly missed out on victory in the Grand Prix at the Nations Cup­­­ in Dublin, Ireland, finishing in sixth place. Having also finished in the top 10 in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen with Albfuehren's Bianca, the Swiss rider will be in a good position to secure his first Major title of 2019. 

Another rider who has performed consistently this season is Rolex Testimonee Martin Fuchs, who was crowned European Champion in Rotterdam last week aboard Clooney 51. The talented 27-year-old Swiss rider currently sits at number four in the World Rankings and will be vying for his first Rolex Major win.


Rolex Grand Slam live contender interview: Kent Farrington

Photo © Rolex / Ashley Neuhof Kent Farrington at CHIO Aachen. Photo © Rolex / Ashley Neuhof.

Can you talk through your emotions from CHIO Aachen and what has happened since you won? 

Of course, The Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen is the biggest Grand Prix in our sport and a competition every rider dreams about winning at some point in their career. To come back and win the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen after recovering from an injury last year has been a big confidence boost. I really feel like I am now back at my best and I think it’s been an emotional victory for me for a lot of reasons. 

You’ve now won two Rolex Grand Slam Majors at CHI Geneva and CHIO Aachen. Do you think you can ultimately win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping? 

Of course, I think I can. Whether or not it happens, who knows? But I am going to try my best and that’s where my focus is now. My mentality is very much to always focus on the next thing and the next task. When I finish something, my focus quickly moves to the next job at hand and right now that is the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’. I am putting all my energy there and hopefully we can be on form and pull this off.  

As you say, you’ve had Gazelle since she was a seven-year-old. When she was so young did you think she could win such prestigious events like the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen?  

When I get these young horses, I always try to choose ones that I think can be competitive. If you believe in a horse and you are confident around them, they feed off that belief and confidence and amazing things can happen. Only time will tell,and I think that’s the beauty of the sport and the fun of the whole process.

Behind the stable door with: Robin Parsky, co-owner of Gazelle

Photo © Isabel J. Kurek Robin Parsky. Photo © Isabel J. Kurek.

How did you get into equestrian sport? 

I was born and raised in California and I started riding when I was only about six years old. My father was involved with race horses and I wanted to be an equestrian. I was one of four children, but I was the only one who wanted to ride horses. There was a famous Oscar-winning Walt Disney documentary called The Horse with the Flying Tail, which was a story about a Palomino horse named Nautical, who won the team gold medal at the 1959 Pan American Games. It was an incredible story of how a horse from the American West became a United States Equestrian Team (USET) show jumping superstar. After watching that film, I told my parents that I would one day own a famous show jumping horse. I was so inspired by that story and from then on I just loved the sport. 

The first rider who I supported on the US Team was Anne Kursinski who grew up in the same town as me, Pasadena in California. I was very inspired by Anne.

Obviously, Gazelle is amazing in the arena but what is she like out of the ring and behind-the scenes?  

Gazelle is very attuned to the people around her. We don’t expose her to many other horses, she can be quite a mare in that way! But she loves being around people and the attention she receives from everyone. Gazelle has such large ears and she’s so attentive, so she can usually hear me coming from a mile away and is always so excited to see me. 

She’s so easy to work with and because she’s been with us for such a long time, she knows everyone at Kent’s yard really well. She’s a little bit spoilt and knows she has the best stable in the yard!



About the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

The Rolex Grand Slam is considered by the sport to be the ultimate equestrian challenge, primarily due to the sporting prowess required to achieve this feat. It is a quest taken on by the world’s top riders, vying to secure the legendary status associated with winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

The format of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is simple: anyone who wins three Majors in a row receives the Rolex Grand Slam trophy and a €1 million bonus on top of the class’s prize-money. If that same rider then continues their success by winning a fourth Major in succession, they will be rewarded with an additional €1million bonus. If two shows are won in succession, the bonus is €500,000 or if an athlete wins only 2 majors in a period of four successive shows, the bonus is € 250,000.



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