30 November 2017, Geneva, Switzerland – The 2017 global equestrian season will culminate with the CHI Geneva, the final Major of the year featuring an exhilarating display of show jumping from the world’s most prestigious riders.
From the hallowed turf of Spruce Meadows, the most distinguished horse and rider combinations will travel to Geneva, a city with a strong equestrian heritage and the home of Rolex. The 57th edition of this show takes place in the largest indoor show jumping arena in the world, the perfect stage for the final Major of the year, the Rolex Grand Prix.
Show jumping is a discipline that requires elegance and precision; qualities reflected by both Rolex and the CHI Geneva. Rolex has been the presenting partner of the CHI Geneva since 1996, a natural pairing considering the Swiss watch brand and the historic show share the same ethos of excellence. Situated near Lake Geneva and in the valley of the Mont Blanc, the Palexpo stadium, where the event is held, never ceases to impress thanks to its spaciousness and state-of-the-art facilities.
The CHI Geneva is an example of the enduring relationship Rolex has developed with equestrianism. This year celebrates Rolex’s 60-year anniversary as the crown in equestrian sport, a unique partnership that has seen the brand become a major force in supporting the world’s most talented riders and iconic competitions. The CHI Geneva has been elected best show in the world for the ninth time and voted ‘Best Competition of the Year’ by the prestigious Horse International Yearbook and International Jumping Riders Club.
ROLEX GRAND PRIX
The Concour’s greatly anticipated Rolex Grand Prix will take place on Sunday 10 December, featuring a typically challenging course laid out by renowned designers Gérard Lachat (SUI) and Louis Konickx (NED). Athletes will need to perform at their best in order to succeed. Only the very best horse and rider partnerships will be successful in such a competition, with the chance of contending for the most prestigious prize in the sport, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is a contest comprised by the Rolex Grand Prix Majors. In addition to the grandeur of Geneva, this global quest takes the world’s elite riders to the historic city of Aachen, the green fields of Spruce Meadows, and starting in 2018, it will include a stopover in ‘s-Hertogenbosch for The Dutch Masters, hosted in the Netherland’s largest indoor equestrian arena.
ROLEX TESTIMONEES SET TO GRACE THE STAGE FOR THE ROLEX GRAND PRIX
Many of Rolex’s equestrian Testimonees will contend for the final Major of the show jumping calendar.
The national favourite, Steve Guerdat, will be returning to Geneva to continue his triumphant success at this venue, where he will hope to secure his fourth Rolex Grand Prix title at this event.
The only rider to have won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Scott Brash is aiming for a second victory at CHI Geneva, after winning in 2014 and finishing second in 2013 and 2016. Brash will be joined by the 2008 Champion and defender of the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final title, Eric Lamaze, and America’s Kent Farrington, who will be eager to add to his multiple Grand Prix wins this year. Olympic Team gold medallist Kevin Staut who won the Rolex Grand Prix in 2010, and Dutch hero Jeroen Dubbeldam, are also set to compete in this 2017 challenge.
Bertram Allen, the youngest rider among the family of Rolex Testimonees, will travel to Geneva to challenge his international rivals in the hope of achieving his first Rolex Grand Prix title.
World dressage champion and owner of the most Olympic medals won by any equestrian, Isabell Werth, completes the Rolex family of Testimonees at this year’s CHI Geneva competition, which is proud to host the 5* Dressage Grand Prix. With such an array of elite riders, an abundance of excitement and riding of the highest quality can be expected at this show.
ROLEX IJRC TOP 10 FINAL
As well as the highly anticipated Rolex Grand Prix, Geneva is also set to stage the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. This event invites the world’s top 10 riders to a competition that will determine the best show jumper among them. Rolex has been presenting sponsor from the first edition in 2001, and the CHI Geneva will welcome the class back for the 13th time in what will be the 17th edition of the show.
On Saturday 9 December the select riders will congregate at Palexpo where the crowds will witness a final unrivalled in world equestrian sport. Rolex Testimonee and last year’s champion, Eric Lamaze, will return to defend his title but will face fierce competition from his fellow riders. Lamaze commented on his 2016 victory, “Winning the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final for the first time was a very special experience for me. Beating the best riders in the world on their best horses at the end of the season, there isn’t a better way to finish the year. I’m looking forward to challenging for the title again in 2017.”
World number one Kent Farrington will be eager to continue his success after a magnificent victory at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show in September 2017 and is hoping to regain the title that he won two years ago.
Alongside Eric Lamaze and Kent Farrington, Rolex Testimonees Steve Guerdat, Kevin Staut and Scott Brash have also qualified to compete in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final.
ENSURING A LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE
The CHI Geneva has introduced a new team competition to this year’s programme: The Youth Challenge gives four juniors and four young riders, aboard four young Swiss-bred horses, the opportunity to compete against four of the world’s top riders. This pioneering innovation encourages young riders to learn from the world’s most renowned show jumpers, who willingly pass on their wisdom and skills to the next generation.Rolex also shares this vision of nurturing talented riders, continuing to support the future of the sport through the Young Rider’s Academy. The Academy offers a select group of young riders training at some of Europe’s most renowned stables under the tuition of some of the world’s iconic riders.Allen expressed how the programme helped make it possible for him to train with riders who had been his childhood idols, “I grew up watching and wanting to emulate riders such as Eric Lamaze and Rodrigo Pessoa, both of whom are Testimonees, and to now be part of the Rolex family with them, at the top of the sport, is a dream come true.”
To watch ‘A Portrait of the CHI Geneva’ by Steve Guerdat, click here.