Kyle King and Capone: ones to watch. -Photo by Keara

Okay show jumping fans, I hope you’re ready! I know, it’s been a busy season with the Olympics and all, but really, one of the most exciting tournaments in the sport (if not the most exciting) is about to begin.

The Spruce Meadows Masters: September 5-9, 2012.

5 days of competition.

$2,000,000 in prize money up for grabs.

Prestige. Fame. National Pride.

Redemption. Victory. Heartbreak. Defeat.

Oooh yes, it is going to be good folks. There is not one other place on the planet that I would rather be over Spruce Meadows during the Masters. The biggest names in the sport will be bring their top horse power to duke it out in some of the toughest classes in the world. Will the big names take it all, or will an underdog attack from below and leave us all gasping in surprise? In the sport of show jumping, you never know.

So, who should we be watching for?

Well, my favourite pair at the moment is Kyle King and Capone I. I don’t think anyone can argue that this horse, and this partnership, has faced adversity x 100. After a convincing win at RMSJ in the $100,000 Oil Patch Grand Prix, I don’t think anything will be able to stop them. I’m expecting some fantastic rounds out of this duo, they are going to put it all on the table.

Reed Kessler – after a very successful summer series at Spruce Meadows and a good showing at the Olympics, I’m expecting her to roll in and take control. We all know this girl can ride and that she has some amazing horses. Now, with even more international competition under her belt, she will be quite the force.

Of course there are many others. I believe Rich Fellers is coming (still on FIRE), Eric will be there (always a power), and the list goes on. It is going to be 5 days of insane competition!

Rich Fellers and Flexible. -Photo by Keara

Here are some classes to watch for:

Telus Battle of the Breeds: one of the best competitions in my books, the breeds are pitted up against each other in a test of diversity. Events range from jeopardy jumping all the way to trail riding. Which breed will come out on top?

The battle is brewing! -Photo by Keara

ATCO Electric 6-bar: Under the lights on Friday, during the Mercedes Benz Evening of the Horse, this is always a crowd favourite. Those jumps get HUGE, 2.0m+….I would faint and then throw-up, followed by more fainting.

How high can you go? -Photo by Keara

The BMO Nations Cup: On Saturday, there is a lot on the line – $350,000, National pride, bragging rights….think of it as a mini Olympics team competition, but just not that mini.

The victorious 3-man French team in the 2011 BMO Nations Cup. -Photo by Keara

And finally, ahem, a tiny little class called the CN International: Umm, ya, $1 000 000 on the line in, arguably, the world’s toughest Grand Prix. If the Nations Cup is like the team competition in the Olympics, this is the individual. I have watched this class for many years, and the courses never cease to amaze me. The jumps are HUGE and, holy cow, it is TECHNICAL.

Eric Lamaze and Hickstead. -Photo by Keara

On that note, I should mention that there will be a tribute to the great Hickstead on Sunday, September 9th, at 11:00am in the International Ring. I’ll do my best to capture it for you.

Anyways, that’s all for now. If you are able to come at all, I highly encourage it. It is very affordable, only $5/person to get in (rush seating), and there is something for everyone. Fantastic shopping, great competition, food, green space, entertainment….it’s all there. Of course, Spruce Meadows is gorgeous in general (exceptionally gorgeous, I have been told), so I even recommend just taking a stroll!

Keep your eyes peeled on the HJU Facebook page for photos- I’ll try to post them as the tournament progresses!

Keara