Eyes flashing with determination and grit, a young woman holds on tightly to the reigns of a chestnut stallion named Troy. The crowd holds its collective breath as she and her steed leap high over a fence as tall as a person. After a few, eternal, breath-taking seconds, the rider’s uncle, Albert, cheers on as Troy’s hooves finally land on solid ground. Cameras flash and the press rush to speak to the 28 year-old rider.
“My vision is clear. Only the best for the best,” says Founder and President of the Longines Global Champions Tour.
The Monte-Carlo International Jumping gathers the best riders in the world for a grand equestrian event where emotions, and horses, run high. Five weeks after the Formula 1 Grand Prix and a few days before the first summer concerts, Monaco moves to the rhythm of galloping horses.
Nestled under the ramparts of the Princely Palace, the Monegasque leg of the prestigious Longines Global Champions Tour is one of the most difficult in the world. With jumps covering the entire arena, its condensed layout is known to be extremely narrow and full of turns. The tightness of the course means that riders must have a highly advanced and controlled technique.
“The competition has become the Principality’s third most important sporting event alongside motor racing’s Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Tennis,” says the Monte-Carlo International Jumping Competition.
Transforming the Port Hercules into horse’s stables!
Since its creation in 2006, the showjumping competition has proven to be completely different from all others. Setting up an equestrian stadium in the heart of the Port Hercules is no easy feat. Tons of sand has to be brought in, stables have to be set up (because the horses must be housed on the port). Watching champion steeds relaxing between the most expensive yachts in the world is an amusing and endearing sight to behold.
The sought-after ‘Grand Prix du Prince de Monaco’
At the end of June, the Monte-Carlo Jumping celebrated its 17th year. The three-day event includes both amateur and professional competitions. The most sought-after prize is the Grand Prix du Prince de Monaco, which will take place on 1 July. Every year, French riders try to reach Kevin Staut’s status. He was the only Frenchman to be crowned in Monaco in 2012, with his steed Rêveur de Hurtebise HDC.
“Pro Am Cup” charity race, sponsored by Charlotte Casiraghi
Another big highlight that always manages to attract a crowd is the Pro-Am-Cup, a friendly competition where big names in the equestrian world team up with young talent. Conceived in 2010 and sponsored by Charlotte Casiraghi, the Longine’s Pro Am Cup is a relay race for a good cause.
The course is specially designed to allow riders to express themselves, creating a beautiful show for spectators. The amateur rider starts with a course of seven obstacles at 1.10 metres tall, then passes the baton to their Pro teammate who must leap over obstacles that are 1.30 metres in height. This year’s Pro Am Cup celebrated the 60th anniversary of Amade, the World Association of Children’s Friends, which is chaired by HRH the Princess of Hanover and founded in 1963 by Princess Grace.
At the end of last year’s event, a donation of €25,000 was presented to the Princess of Hanover by Diane Fissore, President of the Jumping International de Monte-Carlo and of the Equestrian Federation of Monaco.
A Princely Passion
Princess Grace once described her daughters, Caroline and Stephanie, as “warm, bright, amusing, intelligent and capable girls.”
“Besides being good students, they are good athletes: excellent skiers and swimmers. Both can cook and sew and play the piano and ride a horse. But, above all, my children are good sports, conscious of their position and considerate of others. They are sympathetic to the problems and concerns in the world today,” said Princess Grace in an interview with People Magazine in 1982.
Princess Caroline passed on her love of horseback riding to her daughter, who has ridden since the age of four. In June 2009, Charlotte Casiraghi, accompanied by Prince Albert II, appeared on French television to speak about her recent enrolment in the Global Champions Tour, marking beginning of her professional showjumping career. One year later, she succeeded her mother in becoming the honorary president of the Monte-Carlo Jumping. One month before her first competition as honorary president, Gucci announced that it would be sponsoring Charlotte Casiraghi.
Charlotte Casiraghi falls off her horse in Paris, and saddles up again…
In July 2014, one short month after her big win during the Longines Pro-Am Cup in Monaco, Charlotte Casiraghi’s horse, Tintero, stumbled and she was thrown off during the Paris Eiffel Jumping competition. After the painful-looking tumble, she was helped off the course by officials. But the accident didn’t discourage her and she continued competing in multiple Longine’s Champions Tour events for two more years. In 2016, after participating in over two-hundred competitions, she reduced her participation to the Monaco phase only.
Last year, the accomplished equestrian made a spectacular entrance during the Chanel fashion show at the Grand Palais Éphémère when she confidently trotted across the runway on horseback, wearing glittering Chanel tweed jacket.
Rules and Prize Money…
First place jumpers win about €100,000 at each competition Global Champions Tour. Prize money for overall classification is also offered to the top 18 athletes in the Global Champions Tour. This year’s overall first place winner will be receiving about €300,000 after the tour is complete.
For 17 years, the Monte-Carlo International Jumping has become a hallmark of equestrian excellence for both riders and spectators. The highly celebrated competition never fails to feature suspense and top level sport in a dream-like setting.