Must-See Classes At Famed Show Jumping Competition

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LongAndy Kocher and Artemise du Houssoit (Photos by Christophe Taniere for EEM)

With the Longines Masters of New York riding into New York at the end of the month, you’re guaranteed four days of nonstop, heart-pounding action and the best of luxury lifestyle. Here’s your guide to the must-attend, Olympic-level show jumping competitions throughout the event.

Longines Speed Challenge

Friday, April 27, 8:30 p.m.

The Longines Speed Challenge—the fastest class in the world—is synonymous with emotion, suspense, and thrilling competition. With prize money of $100,000, the Longines Speed Challenge takes place over the same 1.45 meter course on all three continents and has become one of the most-anticipated highlights in each leg of the Longines Masters Series.

Created in Paris in 2010 by EEM, this class requires perfect timing and infinite precision, two values which are dear to the Longines brand, a passionate supporter of equestrian sports. It differs slightly from traditional speed classes because a fault (a knocked over rail) only leads to a two-second penalty, instead of the usual four. A fallen rail needn’t be crippling, therefore, and riders can still hope to make up these two penalty seconds by going just that little bit faster. This modification has given this high-flying sporting class an even more spectacular dimension as riders work to close the gap by speeding up and cutting corners.

A full-fledged world speed championship run across three continents, the competition has fans on the edge of their seats as the power and agility of show jumping is on full display.

Masters Power

Saturday, April 28, 1:20 p.m.

New this year for Season III of the Longines Masters Series, the peerless six-bar power contest, “Masters Power,” will be making its debut on Saturday. The concept is straightforward: riders each make their way through a line of six obstacles, the last of which—as long as no rider knocks the bar off—is continually raised. Show-stopping thrills are guaranteed, and when combined with the high stakes, the audience experiences a unique event, marveling at each run and being swept away to another dimension, as the riders push their limits to jump obstacles often exceeding a remarkable 2 meters.

Masters Cup

Saturday, April 28, at 8:35 p.m.

Witness history at the second and final stage of the brand-new Riders Masters Cup. An all-new team-based competition, the Riders Masters Cup was created by EEM in conjunction with the EEF (European Equestrian Foundation) and Longines as Founding Partner. The Riders Masters Cup pits against each other the two greatest show jumping powers in the world—the United States and Europe—in a never-before-seen head-to-head duel-style competition. The first round of the competition premiered in December at the Longines Masters of Paris, when Riders Europe barely edged out Riders USA. Now, as they vie for the title, Riders USA will fight to earn the victory on their home soil.

This first-time competition is destined to take the sport to ever greater heights, inviting fans to show their patriotism and share in show jumping’s intrinsic values: discipline, excellence, prestige and teamwork.

Longines Grand Prix

Sunday, April 29, 3 p.m.

The Longines Grand Prix is the grand finale of each leg of the Longines Masters Series, the pinnacle competition in the Grand Slam Indoor of Show Jumping.

A highly technical, Olympic-level course, with approximately 12 obstacles and 15 demanding jumps—up to 1.60 meter in height—with tough sequences and double and triple combinations, the Longines Grand Prix requires horses that are perfectly trained and focused and experienced riders who must not make even the slightest error of judgment if they want to win.

To determine the winner, riders who jump clear (or have the same number of penalties), take part in a jump-off, a shorter version of the initial course where time is of the essence.
The $350,000 prize money is just the beginning. Any rider winning three victories “straddling” two seasons is entitled to a $1 million bonus, while an unprecedented $2.25 million super bonus is granted to any rider able to sweep all three Longines Grand Prix in a single Longines Masters season, starting in Paris, then heading to Hong Kong, then finishing in New York. As victor of the Longines Grand Prix in Hong Kong, all eyes will be on Patrice Delaveau of France to see if he can win in New York and also in Paris in December to claim the one million-euro bonus.

In addition to the Olympic-level competitions, amateur riders, including local New Yorkers Ariana Rockefeller and Clementine Goutal, will have the opportunity to rub elbows with the best of their sport and compete in the same cutting-edge arena.

Which competition will be the most nail-biting, the most suspenseful? You’ll have to catch them all to decide.

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