By Mavis Spencer
What can one say about the Global Champions Tour in Miami other than, WOW! To have a horse show 10 feet from the ocean on Miami Beach is nearly unthinkable but Jan Tops is a visionary and his crew pulled it off for the second year in a row!
I was asked to ride a few horses for friends, so after finishing up in Wellington I drove down Sunday night and stayed with my friend Sean Lynch, Daniel Deusser’s groom, and Caroline Martin, Christian Ahlmann’s groom. We went for dinner with a few other of the European grooms and it was nice catching up with friends as I haven’t seen them in a few months and probably won’t again since I’m staying in the States this year.
The next morning we all had a quick breakfast in the hotel before heading to the stables to ride! I rode Daniel’s horse Clintop 12 and Christian’s horse Epleasure. It was a little bit of an experience considering neither horse had been sat on in a few days because of the travel over and were quite fresh! The crews were flat out getting everything ready for the show so there were some slightly tense moments when drills were going off and beams were being hoisted into place! I was also a bit of a new experience for even these seasoned show jumpers having to contend with the ocean being so close… Especially seeing as Clintop is not a fan of water!!!
Needless to say they were both fairly well behaved, but my arms did feel a few inches longer when I got off! I spent the early part of the week back in Wellington before driving back down to watch the American Invitational on Friday. It was an amazing class made even better by the fact that Daniel won aboard Clintop!
I had to drive back to Wellington the next morning so we all decided to save the celebrations till Saturday night which was a good plan because Christian and Epleasure finished 3rd in the GCT Grand Prix the next day!! Go team Germany!
Sunday was the debut of the Global Champions League and the atmosphere around the show and in the stables was incredible! Everyone had on their team polos to show their support, and the stands and side of the ring were packed! Bertram Allen and John Whitaker came away with the victory which was amazing to watch because Bertram is a rising star in the sport, and John is a living legend! Overall this show really does a lot to promote the sport as so many beach goers are able to walk up to the side of the ring in their bikinis and watch the jumping. It is also nice having so many big name European riders come over for the week and compete! Looking forward to next year, but happy to be back to reality in Wellington!