World of Showjumping

Inside The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping: Interview with Olivier Philippaerts, Breeders Uncovered and more...

Wednesday, 17 March 2021
Inside The Rolex Grand Slam

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – Confirmed dates for the Majors in 2021

CHIO Aachen:

CHIO Aachen 2021 has been rescheduled and will take place from Friday 10 until Sunday 19 September. For further information about the CHIO Aachen 2021, please visit 

Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’:

The dates for the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2021 remain unchanged and the show will take place from Wednesday 8 until Sunday 12 September. For further information about the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2021, please visit 

CHI Geneva:  

The dates for CHI Geneva 2021 also remain unchanged and the show will take place from Thursday 9 until Sunday 12 December. For further information about CHI Geneva 2021, please visit

Exclusive interview with Belgian rider Olivier Philippaerts

Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Services. Olivier Philippaerts, winner of the Spruce Meadows 'Masters' Major in 2012. Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

What are your plans for the rest of 2021 and what would you ultimately like to achieve? 

I would like to win another 5* with Legend [H&M Legend of Love]. She’s a great horse, and I’ve had her for a long time. She’s been unbelievable for me, the amount of success and the number of good rounds we’ve had has been really incredible. Even last week – she’s 15 now – she still tries to give her best each week at every show. So, at some point throughout 2021, I’d love to achieve another 5* Grand Prix with her, so hopefully that is something we’ll be able to do. 

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

I’m very lucky at the moment, I’ve got a couple of very nice horses. I have some experienced horses like Legend of Love, and Extra [H&M Extra], who I’ve had for a couple of years. I’ve also got a new horse, called Blue Diamond [Le Blue Diamond V't Ruytershof], who jumped his first 5* Grand Prix last week in Doha, which I was very happy about. I really believe that this could be a horse that can compete consistently at 5* level, I’m really looking forward to this year, and to trying to get him to compete atthe top of the sport. 

Do you have a favourite out of the Majors, is there one that stands out as the competition that you really want to win? 

Of course, everyone has their favourites. Spruce Meadows is always going to be very special to me, as when I won there, it was a truly unique moment. On the other hand, Aachen is incredible, it’s close to my home, I’ve been going there for a long time, my father competed there so many times and I’ve also competed there, so those two shows are the most important of the year to me.

Breeders Uncovered with the Noël-family of Élevage du Thot

Photo © Elevage du Thot. Margrith and Florian Noël. Photo © Elevage du Thot.

In this edition of Breeders Uncovered, we speak to Margrith and Florian Noël from Elevage du Thot which is located in Normandy, France.

What is your earliest equestrian memory? 

Margrith Noël:  My father was part of the Swiss Cavalry, and each member had their own saddle and horse at home. I was young, and when his horse had gone, he used to hang his saddle at the bottom of the stairs. Me, being the young child I was, at around four or five, I used to spend a lot of time climbing up on this saddle and pretending to go horse riding. 

Florian Noël:  I was born around horses and having two older sisters, who were passionate about horse riding, my parents always wanted me to follow in their footsteps. On Wednesdays or Saturdays, my parents would force me to prepare a horse or a pony, by brushing them, but I really didn’t like doing it. I learnt to ride when I was young, as this was the ‘normal’ thing to do when you’re young in our family. I always went with my sisters to camps during the summer, where we did a lot of riding, and other activities. Each time we went, I’d bring my bicycle, so I’d actually end up spending more time cycling around the equestrian centre than horse riding. I also had a friend that owned a pony, and we used to race each other in fields and on the beach. So, we spent more time racing than doing equestrian. 

What is the proudest moment of your career so far? 

Margrith Noël: For us as a family, it was Ideo du Thot, a horse who won the World Cup in Las Vegas in 2007. To have a horse of his level, that was truly exceptional, a true one-of-a-kind horse. This was an incredibly proud moment for us. As a mother, it has made me very proud to have three children who are passionate about riding, and when they compete on our own horses that we’ve raised, that makes me especially proud.

The Vet' Check with Randy de Greef, veterinary for The Dutch Masters

Photo © Rolex Grand Slam / Kit Houghton. Photo © Rolex Grand Slam / Kit Houghton.

What is EHV-1 and how is the FEI helping to manage it? 

EHV-1 is an equine virus, which can cause neurological problems in some of the affected horses. I understand the FEI is helping with the organisation of veterinarians in Valencia, Spain to take care of the affected horses. And more generally, the FEI has cancelled international competitions in a number of European countries to help minimise the risk of the virus spreading.

Has show jumping ever had to cope with a virus like this before? 

I don’t believe the sport has ever had to cope with a virus on such a large scale as this outbreak of EHV-1. 





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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