Travels: The Longines Global Champions Tour 2013: Monaco. Part 1

by Sasha Wilkins on July 5, 2013 · 6 comments

Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

I have travelled to some extraordinary places, and done some wonderful things, but watching international standard show jumping in an arena carved out of the car park in Monte Carlo’s port, surrounded by towering apartment blocks and a marina stuffed with plutocrat’s gin palaces was on quite another league.
Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

Thanks to Longines, my friend Susanne Madsen, of The Horse Rider’s Journal, the photographer Michael Hemy, and myself spent the weekend watching the Monaco leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour 2013. (Previously I was at the London leg, which took place in the Olympic Park.) We flew out from Gatwick on Friday afternoon and, within a few hours of landing at Nice, were standing by the swimming pool of the Le Meridien Beach Plaza in Monte Carlo, pinching ourselves.

Le Meridien Beach Plaza Monaco

At 1830hrs we headed to the venue, where riders, stables, practice ring and show jumping arena had all been temporarily constructed hard by the marina. It was a quite extraordinary site but, after a few minutes, it seemed entirely normal that a rider should be checking their girths in a car park.

Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

Or that a Pomeranian had come to check out the action too.

pomeranian

We had arrived in time to see the riders circle the practice ring, and take a few jumps, whilst we also admired the view over the water.

Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

monaco monte carlo harbour port marina

Here’s rider Jane Richards, who is sponsored by Longines.

Jane Richards Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

monaco monte carlo harbour port marina

Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

After watching the riders warming up, we were ushered towards the VIP loge overlooking the main arena, for dinner whilst we watched the Pro Am Competition.

Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

This involves one amateur rider, and one professional from the Tour. The amateur sets off first across the clock, and must jump clear to be in with a chance. The moment he or she finished, the professional takes off on wings, also jumping against the course. Both riders stay on the course whilst their partner jumps.

Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

It’s nerve wracking to watch, and extremely exciting. (The amateurs wear white, the pros red.)

Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

Here’s French actor Guillaume Canet, who has decided to make a career in show jumping. (His sponsorship by Gucci has just been announced: spot the logo on his saddle cloth.)

Guillaume Canet gucci Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

Here’s Gucci-sponsored Edwina Tops-Alexander.

Jane Richards Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

It was a stupendous evening, with more to come on the Saturday, with the Grand Prix taking place in the evening

Longines Global Champions Tour 2013 Monaco

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Blonde July 5, 2013 at 12:25

You’re so lucky! Gosh, what an arena. Takes some real horsemanship to get round it with all those distractions outside…

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Rosie July 10, 2013 at 10:27

Wow I am so envious! I am a keen amateur showjumper, and have followed your blog for the past two years, this is just about the perfect post for me! I was lucky enough to be given free tickets for the London leg of the tour, which I really enjoyed. Are you attending any more of the GCT? Would you say you are now a show jumping convert?
Rosie x

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