When the traditional and prestigious Spruce Meadows "Masters" begins today, it is also the countdown for the biggest international equestrian sport challenge, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. This initiative of the three Major Shows, the Spruce Meadows "Masters", CHI Geneva and CHIO Aachen, marks the start of a new era of equestrian sport. In order to succeed here, both the horse and rider have to achieve exceptional performances.
In the "CP International presented by Rolex" this Sunday, which is endowed with prize-money to the value of one million Euros, two riders have the opportunity to go down in the history of the equestrian sport. Christian Ahlmann from Germany won the "Rolex Grand Prix" at the CHIO Aachen in July. The experienced show-jumper from Marl, Westphalia finds it extraordinary that he now has the chance to win the Rolex Grand Slam: "It is something very special and has an extremely high standing in the sports world.“ He definitely thinks he has a chance of riding to victory in the "Masters", even if he knows that it is "without doubt very hard to win the Rolex Grand Slam. The competition has become very tough, there are a lot more top riders today and of course, luck also has to be on your side. But every rider would love to succeed just once!"
The same also applies for the Swiss Olympic gold medallist, Steve Guerdat. After coming a close second in Canada last year, he succeeded in claiming the victory in the "Rolex Grand Prix" at his home match in Geneva at the end of 2013. After things didn't go well for him in Aachen in the summer, he still has the opportunity to win a bonus totalling 250,000 Euros in Spruce Meadows. However, the fact that he could be the first bonus winner in the yet short history of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, only plays a secondary role for Guerdat, because: "It is a traditional show that enjoys a high level of significance, the best riders have already won here." For him the sporting success is of utmost priority, not the prize money.
In addition to the above two riders, the Canadian organisers are looking forward to the participation of top riders such as Beezie Madden (USA), Kevin Staut (FRA), Daniel Deußer (GER), Eric Lamaze (CAN) and last year's winner Pieter Devos from Belgium. “It is fantastic to be able to greet these top riders at this year's 'Masters'," commented Spruce Meadows President Linda Southern-Heathcott.