The Paris Finals
Of the Longines FEI World Cup
Intense sporting moments are on the cards, in a place where some of the most beautiful pages in the history of equestrian sports have been written. Plus an inaugural ceremony during which, for the first time, Longines and the FEI* will present the Longines FEI World's Best Jumping Horse and Rider Awards.
From 11 to 15 April, this legendary venue will make a glorious comeback: on the occasion of the 2018 Finals of the Longines FEI Jumping and Dressage World Cups, the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, renovated in 2015, will once again resonate with the sound of the hooves of the year's top horses. The story picks up and continues on, for these legendary double finals. "It is a huge challenge, but the celebration will be all the better for it," said Sylvie Robert, President of GL Events Equestrian Sport - at the helm of this event that brings together the best riders on the planet every year. Paris has not been the scene for such a world equestrian event for more than 25 years, while a new sporting wind blows through the city with the forthcoming 2024 Olympic Games.
One of most prestigious circuits
The Longines FEI Show Jumping World Cup was started in 1978, and the first final of these "Indoor World Championships" was held in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1979. It was a Swiss journalist, so-called Max Ammann, who founded them at the request of Prince Philip of Edinburgh. The latter, at the time president of the Fédération Equestre Internationale, wanted to establish an international competition, gathering the finest riders in the world, who had to first qualify in their continents through various regional leagues. Based on the model of the Ski World Cup, it aimed, through this initiative, to obtain better media coverage for horse riding.
For the third time, France will host the double jumping and dressage finals.
Bordering between sport and art
Dressage, which involves priming horses to show the elegance of their movements, is a discipline that requires concentration and complicity - in order to achieve moments of grace, when the horse seems to dance to the rhythm of the music at invisible commands. This year marks the 33rd edition of this second FEI World Cup, which was first held in 1986. The first circuit was created in 1985 in the shadow of the Show Jumping World Cup . Freestyle to Music - also called Kür - was then institutionalised and introduced into the other major leagues as well as the Olympic Games.
Honouring the superb
And this year, for the first time, Longines and the FEI will present the Longines FEI World's Best Jumping Horse and Rider Awards, which will respectively reward the best rider and the best horse of 2017 - namely the highest ranked. A true cause to celebrate equestrian excellence and the exceptional performance of the show jumping elite. The ceremony, a first of its kind, will be held at the Mairie de Paris (City Hall) on 11 April, as part of the draw for the FEI Jumping and Dressage World Cups. "This ceremony will enable us to once again celebrate the common passion for equestrian sports we share with our Top Partner the FEI," said Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing. "The creation of these awards adds value to the Longines Rankings and a new source of inspiration for all equestrian fans around the world," said FEI President Ingmar de Vos. The principle? The winner of the Longines FEI World's Best Jumping Horse is determined based on the top ten results of each horse during the year in the Longines Rankings. As for the Longines FEI World's Best Jumping Rider, it is the rider who makes it to the top of the Longines Rankings at the end of the year.
The premises of tradition
This event is undoubtedly an opportunity to bring the French tradition of horsemanship, listed as World Heritage, to centre stage: all those who hold the values recognised by UNESCO, the Republican Guard, the Cadre Noir de Saumur as well as surprise guests, will punctuate the Longines FEI Jumping and FEI Dressage Finals. The bond between rider and horse, sensitivity and lightness will be the focus at the rendezvous, enough to delight the expected 40,000 spectators.
*Fédération Equestre Internationale (International Equestrian Federation)
In the lead-up to these finals and the launch of the FEI Longines World's Best Jumping Horse and Rider Awards, H Equestrian Passion met with Mr. Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing. It reports on these two new and particularly emblematic awards.
-H Equestrian Passion: Mr. Capelli, this ceremony is a first of its kind. What does this prestigious event mean for Longines?
-Juan-Carlos Capelli: We are extremely proud today to distinguish excellence at the highest sporting level by presenting, in collaboration with the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the Longines FEI World's Best Jumping Horse and Rider Awards to the best horse and the best rider of 2017. This ceremony is an opportunity for us to celebrate the common passion for the equestrian world we share with our partner, the FEI. These awards also reflect Longines' long-standing commitment and are naturally in addition to the awards and distinctions that our brand presents to players in the equestrian world who, through their commitment and dedication, contribute to the remarkable development of these sports.
-What is the impact of these rewards for the equestrian world?
- Through these new awards, we aim to highlight the outstanding performance of the show jumping elite and, thus, increase the visibility of this discipline around the world. We are convinced that these awards will allow jumping, and equestrian sports in general, to expand their reach and attract new fans around the world.
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