The Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament concluded it’s 2021 run today with the biggest show jumping grand prix in the world: The CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex. This competition, part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, historically draws crowds of over 50,000 fans from around the world to Spruce Meadows. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, attendance this year was restricted to only 2,000 people. Those in attendance were treated to an absolutely thrilling and historic competition, with Steve Guerdat of Switzerland posting the only double-clear round.
The course for the first round of this competition, designed by FEI course designer Leopoldo Palacios (VEN), was incredibly challenging. After the course walk, 3 riders withdrew from the competition before it even began. The round one course featured maximum heights of 1.7m in height, was 575m long, and had a time allowed of 87 seconds. It proved to be a very challenging ride, with 6 out of the 28 horse/rider being eliminated or retiring without finishing the course. Only 4 made it clear, with the rest of the top 12 being made up by the 4 faulters.
The top 12 riders after the first round:
1. Rowan Willis (AUS)
2. Mario Deslauriers (CAN)
3. Steve Guerdat (SUI)
4. Hilary Scott (AUS)
5. Will Simpson (USA)
6. Natalie Dean (USA)
7. Kent Farrington (USA)
8. Scott Brash (GBR)
9. Carlos Hank Guerreiro (MEX)
10. Nayel Nassar (EGY)
11.McLain Ward (USA)
12. Erynn Ballard (CAN)
The riders returned for round two in reverse order of score, with Ballard going first. The second round course was 450m in length and had a time allowed of 68 seconds. Palencios once again designed an incredibly challenging course, testing the strength, endurance, and courage, of both horses and riders alike. Farrington was able to post a clear round to add to his 4 faults from round one, and the only other rider to go clear was Guerdat. Aboard Venard de Cerisy, Guerdat posted the only double-clear score of the entire competition.
It was a well-fought and hard won battle, one that Guerdat told reporters he’d been dreaming of since he was a kid. “I’ve walked, I don’t know, every year, a hundred times in front of the wall with the winner(‘s) names on, and I always thought that I’m not going to quit riding until my name is up there,” Guerdat said, referring to the wall in the Spruce Meadows plaza that lists the names of every champion of this competition since it’s inception. “I’m so delighted with my horse, and with the whole team that’s been working so hard. We didn’t have the easiest (of years), but they’ve been sticking (with) me… and it’s amazing to come out today, the winner of that class.”
With his win, Guerdat commences his journey in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
© Spruce Meadows Media/Mike Sturk