by Victoria Angus

The ring view at GCT - photo by Victoria

The ring view at GCT

Hi Horse Junkies! My name is Victoria and I am a fellow equestrian from Ottawa, Canada. I often travel to London, UK to visit family and friends, and so when the dates worked in my favour to be in the city during the Longines Global Champions Tour of London, I was overjoyed! As a long time viewer of their live feed, and a huge fan of international show jumping, I was excited to attend this fancy venue and get to watch some of the best of the best compete during August 14th- 16th.

Walking in to the scene at the eleventh leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour was probably one of the most exciting things I have ever attended in London. The large stands and tents stood out quite obviously as I made my way up to the event, which was held at the Horse Guard’s Parade Ground right in the city of London. The back drop for the ring was without a doubt the best I have ever seen, being overlooked by both the Horse Guards building, and behind it the London Eye.

Moving in to the show venue from security and ticketing, I went right into the vendor and food area which was directly in front and to the left of viewers entering the event. Vendors included Massimo Dutti, the Longines clothing shop, Ruco Line shoes, The Flying Fox (which was english country-style household decor), a shop that had no name but primarily sold Cavalleria Toscana, an Equipe and Amerigo saddle retailer, and a few more. Food choices were Fine Burger Co., German Sausages, Pommery Champagne (which had the classiest set up), Rico’s Pizza Shack, and, Lick Fat Free Yogurt. In the middle of the area was lots of couches and places to sit, and I noticed lots of Longines sponsor signs in every direction I looked.

Vendor and food area

Vendor and food area

After perusing the shops and food choices, I made my way up to the stands. There was the north stand which was the longest and took up the length of the whole ring, and was where the majority of the seating was. The north stand was also half covered (which was of course necessary since this is England!). Beside the north stand and directly facing the Horse Guards building was the west stand which is where I got to sit with some press and some riders. In my opinion it provided the best views of the ring. Then on the south side was the VIP tables and seating, which looked full the entire time I spent at the show. The chute into the ring was located between the west and south stands and had a path back to the covered warm up ring.

I was lucky enough to witness some absolute top competition while at the event. On Thursday the 14th I watched the CSI5* Maybourne Cup 1.50m class, sadly it started raining part way and I retreated into the press area which was nice and dry, but it was a great class including amazing riders and horses, such as Edwina Tops- Alexander (AUS) with Old Chap Tame, Laura Kraut (USA) with Andretti S, Denis Lynch (IRE) with All Star 5, Marcus Ehning (GER) with Cornado NRW, Steve Guerdat (SWI) and Albfuehren’s Paille, and of course I had to cheer on riders from my country of Canada, Yann Candele with Showgirl, Eric Lamaze and Zigali P S, and Tiffany Foster and Victor. In the end, it was Beat Mandli and Antares F from Switzerland who took the class, followed by Jane Richard Philips and Quister de Guldenboom also from Switzerland in second, and Britain’s Robert Whitaker and Catwalk IV in Third, Britain’s Michael Whitaker in Fourth with Elie van de Kolman, and Canada’s Yann Candele with Showgirl in Fifth. After the class concluded, the entertainment which was arena polo started. I stayed to watch Wales and Ireland but by that time dinner was absolutely needed!

Marcus Ehning (GER) with Cornado NRW

Marcus Ehning (GER) with Cornado NRW

Tiffany Foster and Victor

Tiffany Foster and Victor

On Friday the 15th I headed back to the show in time to catch the CSI5* Sapinda Prix 1.50/1.55m class. All three of the Canadian riders were competing, along with more best-of-the-best riders from around the world. Tiffany Foster and Victor produced the first clear of the class, shortly followed by 14 others to make it a 15 horse jump off. Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands aboard Regina Z were victorious in the class with a seriously quick jump-off. Second went to McLain Ward (USA) with Rothchild, and third to France’s Penelope Leprevost aboard Vegabond de la Pomme. Laura Kraut (USA) and Andretti S came in fourth, and fifth was Brazil’s Doda de Miranda and AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno.

Saturday the 16th was the final day at the Longines Global Champions Tour of London and with it brought the CSI5* 1.60m Grand Prix presented by Qatar. Fifty of the top riders in the world conquered two rounds plus a jump off. In the end it was Britain’s Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos who took the win, followed by Ludger Beerbaum from Germany and Zinedine, and Maikel van der Vleuten of the Netherlands and Vdl Groep Verdi Tn N.O.P. in third. Fourth went to Katie Dinan (USA) who sadly took a dismount at the 6th fence in her jump off, with Nougat du Vallett, and fifth went to Laura Kraut (USA) and Nouvelle who retired.

I loved attending the Global Champions Tour of London mostly because I am a fan of show jumping and have also enjoyed watching their live feed of events since they started broadcasting them. I think the turnout to the show was decent, I think that Thursday and Friday the amount of viewers definitely could have been higher, but again it was during the week for people who work, and not to mention a lot of Londoners take their holidays over these August weeks. I also think possibly the price of tickets were a bit high for the average person who may want to watch show jumping, but doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with horses and just wants to see great sport. The venue was stunning with the background including the Horse Guards building and the Eye, it was absolutely picture perfect. The ring itself looked like it had excellent footing, was a good size, and all the jumps were in pristine condition and decorated perfectly. I especially liked the red Post boxes jump. I had such a great time and hope to attend another Global Champions Tour event in the future!

Victoria