World of Showjumping
World of ShowjumpingWorld of Showjumping

Inside CSIO Spruce Meadows 'Masters' 2023: With Richard Vogel, Linda Southern-Heathcott and Kerry Finch

Friday, 08 September 2023
CSIO5* Spruce Meadows 'Masters' 2023

Vogel untouchable in the Cana Cup

Photo © Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof. Photo © Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof.


Press release from Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping



On the second day of the 2023 edition of the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament, 42 of the world’s best horse and rider combinations took on Leopoldo Palacios’ stunningly designed course in the hopes of securing their place in the pinnacle class of the show, the CPKC ‘International’ Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. 

The iconic International Arena, which has played host to numerous historic moments in the sport, including Scott Brash’s incredible Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping victory in 2015, was beautifully bathed in the late summer sun. First to enter the arena, Ireland’s Conor Swail, who claimed this class last year, set the standard for the remaining combinations with a perfectly judged clear round. It was only five horses later that the newly crowned FEI European Champion and Rolex Testimonee, Steve Guerdat, ensured that there would be a jump-off as he mastered the technical course aboard the impressive gelding Albfuehren’s Maddox. 

The world-class field truly impressed the knowledgeable Canadian crowd with a total of 15 riders clearing the 1.55m, 12 combination course faultlessly. The elite list of riders included the winner of the ATCO Cup earlier in the day, Martin Fuchs, and Britain's Matthew Sampson, a regular winner at the venue. The crowd also were thrilled to see Canadian riders Mario Deslauriers and Erynn Ballard finish the first-round fault-free...



Interview: Linda Southern-Heathcott

Photo © Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof. Photo © Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof.

How has planning been going for this year’s event?

The planning for the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament has been going extremely well. We have had several capital projects that we undertook and these are now all completed. The place looks beautiful and we are ready for the world to join us.

Is there anything new that the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament has introduced this year? Will you be doing anything special to mark the 10th anniversary of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

We have introduced new seating for our guests, with new seats on the East Side. We are currently building a restaurant that will not be ready until 2025 as it is still under construction. We have put in tables and seats in the West Grandstand, have been working on the footing, and have introduced new footing in the warm-up ring for the international horses. We also have a new tunnel, and have put in drainage for the warm-up footing. There has been lots of things happening and changing! 

The main business for Spruce Meadows is the horse, and our show jumping events, but our venues are built to be versatile. We host business meetings along with business council meetings, tours and a large Christmas market. We were ranked fourth in the world for our international Christmas market. We have indoor tournaments as well as a big dog show in the summer where 3,000 dogs compete. At Christmas time we have a beautiful drive-through light program, so people can drive the venue and enjoy the beautiful holiday lights.  

On Sunday during the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament, we'll be doing a tribute to the horse and to the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping as well as launching the CPKC ‘International’, presented by Rolex...



Interview: Kerry Finch

Photo © Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof. Photo © Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof.

Can you introduce yourself, tell us who you work for, and what your role is?

My name is Kerry Finch, and I have been working with John Whitaker for five years as his travelling groom.

Tell us a little a bit about your journey to the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament

We flew over to Calgary after competing at the Brussels Stephex Masters in Belgium. We stayed at Helena Stormann’s in Eschweiler for five days after Stephex, before travelling onto Canada. My journey to the airport only took an hour which was great – I arrived there at 3.00am to check on the horses before they flew. After that, I travelled from Brussels to Paris to catch our flight to Calgary, and we arrived two-and-a-half hours before the horses landed to ensure that everything was okay. 

How important is the whole team – vets, farriers etc. – in ensuring the success of the team?

It is extremely important – there is definitely a strong team aspect, as without everybody pulling together and doing their job, we would not be successful. It is vital for every team member to constantly coordinate with one another to ensure that everyone is kept in the loop. Everyone plays a crucial role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of these horses; it is not just the people who attend the shows, it’s also everyone that remains at home. 

Can you tell us about the horses that you have brought with you and what their characters are like? 

We have brought three horses with us to the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament, and they are Equine America Unick du Francport, Sharid, and Green Grass...



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 €1 million bonus.



Previous winners of the Rolex Grand Slam Majors

This photo has been added to your cart !

Your shopping cart »
This website is using cookies for statistics, site optimization and retargeting purposes. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website. Read more here.