BY ERIN GILMORE
The final fence in a jumpoff is always an interesting obstacle to examine. The higher the stakes in the class, the more dramatic that fence becomes, as riders race to get up and over it in the fastest time. Last Sunday in Paris, France, a whopping 400,000 was on the line as prize money for the Grand Prix Saut Hermès CSI5* in the incredible Grand Palais venue.
These five riders were among 13 in the jumpoff, and they included some serious heavy hitters. The Longines World Ranked Number 1, last year’s winner of this same grand prix, etc. So let me just head you off at the pass and tell you to throw your American equitation standards out the window. These guys are the best at what they do, and they don’t always (often?) feel the need to keep their heels down.
This fence rode on a long galloping line across the arena and right towards the ingate, encouraging speed. Eventual winner Simon Delestre kind of threw style out the window in his run up and over this 1.60m vertical – his horse Hermès Ryan flat-flew over it with limbs flailing. But hey, it worked and he won.
So what do you think? Who jumped it best?
Erin Gilmore is a freelance journalist and international equestrian photographer who lives in Leesburg, Virginia.