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Inside The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping: Breeders uncovered, meet the next generation & more!

Wednesday, 18 August 2021
Inside The Rolex Grand Slam

Breeders uncovered with: Olympic medalist Grégory Wathelet

Photo © Sébastien Boulanger. Photo © Sébastien Boulanger.

How did you get into the breeding side of the sport? 

My father was a great inspiration, he was involved in the breeding side before me. I started four years ago when I bought my parents’ farm. I then had the facilities, with 70 acres of fields, 60 stables, and indoor and outdoor training facilities. As well as having excellent mares and stallions, I just thought I should try it, I then quickly I fell in love with it. 

Can you summarise what the main elements of breeding of top show jumping horse are?

Breeding sport horses versus dealing is very different. For show jumping, we need quick, clever and careful horses. For example, at the Olympic Games, the top horses were able to rise to the challenge and succeed. For the dealing side, which makes up about 95 per cent of the horses each year, you need an easy and brave horse, that has good confirmation and is “flashy”, so they are easier to sell. I am just at the beginning of the process, so I am still learning. 

I have competed most of the mares at a high level and at Grands Prix, so I know them very well. I have also ridden the majority of the stallions. This allows me to match them based on their attributes. Some breeders like to look at the history of the bloodlines, but I like to look at the present and the individual talent that they have. 

Is the partnership between a horse and rider very important for when you sell a horse? 

Yes, it’s extremely important. I really try to match the right horse with the right rider. Sometimes people ask me to try a specific horse, but I am very honest and say: “I don’t think that this is the horse for you”. I am not a dealing stable, and I really care for the happiness of the horse and rider. On top of that, if you want to build a business and ensure people trust you, this process is very important.

Meet the next generation with: Jack Ryan

Photo © Sportfot. Photo © Sportfot.

Which horses are you most excited to be competing with this year?

My main horse is BBS McGregor, who my mother and I bred – he is actually named after the mixed martial arts fighter, Conor McGregor. There was a very worrying period when he was two years old. Everything he ate, he spat back out, and when we put him in his stable, he couldn’t get up. We didn’t know what was wrong, and a week later a lump appeared on the front of his face. My mother thought it might be cancer, so we called the vet and got him x-rayed. Thankfully, it turned out he had been kicked by another horse and it had split one of his teeth, which had gone into the roof of his mouth. The pain is what caused all his problems, which an operations was able to fix. So, we called him BBS McGregor because he is a fighter, and his stable name is Lucky because he is lucky to be alive! He is currently competing in 1.50m classes, and he has done a 3* Grand Prix before, and I’m hopeful he’ll move up to 5* level next.

The Rolex Grand Slam set to expand its reach in China

Photo © Rolex Grand Slam. Photo © Rolex Grand Slam.

As show jumping is gaining traction in Asia, thanks to the Olympic push, the Rolex Grand Slam has decided to increase and develop its connection with the Chinese community. As a result, from today, the official website of the renowned concept is translated into Chinese.

Chinese fans will be able to check out all of the different sections on the website thanks to this brand new Mandarin version, get information on the four Majors (The Dutch Masters; CHIO Aachen; CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva), check out who is the actual live contender, and much more.

And that’s not it! Eager to engage with fans all around the world, the Rolex Grand Slam has decided to launch accounts on two new social media platforms: Sina-Weibo and Douyin.

Exclusive content will be distributed to these new communities, in order to allow an insightful and  experience on these platforms, while getting all the information about the Rolex Grand Slam Majors.

The Chinese version of the website is available here

The Weibo account is available here

The Douyin account is available here

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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