Updated: Jul 10
Could you imagine that the heart of the urban space can be transformed into a large equestrian arena, just where race cars roared with their engines during the most popular Formula 1 Grand Prix? All this happens once a year on the occasion of the International Jumping Monte-Carlo, milestone of the Longines Global Champions Tour. The most prestigious show-jumper tour for high-ranked athletes and the most performing breed horses gathered under the Rock, in the middle of a tour that touches main European and international capitals. From the 30th June until the 2nd July a series of top-class sport challenges paraded on the sand floor for the delight of amateurs, horse lovers and distinguished guests. On Saturday evening the 2nd July, the final performance crowned the best three athletes and horses in the presence of the Sovereign Prince, H.R.H. Princess Caroline of Hanover, Charlotte Casiraghi, Honorary President of the challenge and major promoter, horse lover and equestrian athlete, and Diane Fissore, President of the Monaco's Equestrian Federation.
The Pro-AM Cup Monaco and the final Grand Prix du Prince de Monaco, together with the Global Champion League, the first race where members of different nationalities can play in the same team, have imposed the rules for an efficient organisation based on the wellness of horses even more than the athletes themselves. This goes through a special focus on reducing urban noise in the equestrian area as well as relaxation and exercise spaces (notably the paddocks) isolated busy streets. The presence of the Monaco's yachting harbour (and therefore of the Mediterranean sea) on one side of the racetrack facilitates this even if the horses are equally subjected to the sight of thousands of spectators watching their performances from the stands. A test to be passed for one of the most sensitive animals in nature.
From a more sustainable perspective, the management of the event requires the care of every detail and a precise timing. Marco Danese, Sports Director of the International Jumping Monte-Carlo, pointed out exclusively to MONACŒCOART®: "Before arriving here, all the horses attending the race are conveyed to a well-equipped collection halfway point at the Equestrian Centre of Nice to reduce stress and then brought here in small groups in comfortable convoys adequately ventilated". Also artificial lighting required for the main races in the arena are intended to be energy-efficient while reducing shadows of all artefacts, to make the horses feel at ease and allow them to correctly view the obstacles, as Mr. Danese highlighted.
We must in fact consider that the eye of the horse has its own peculiarities. The structure of the retina allows every horse to see better than the man in low-light conditions but horses do not perceive all the range of colours we, humans, can detect. On the basis of scientific testing, they can see the yellow, the green and the blue better; far less the range of the red. Diffused and not too blinding light is therefore provided within the International Jumping Monte-Carlo. The music soundtrack to accompany the challenge is harmonious, regularly rhythmic and not by chance. The melody, in fact, helps horses to relax, a bit like it happens for us humans.
Horses have always fascinated humans. Equestrian sport has been a great passion of Longines (Swiss watchmaking company since 1832) for more than a century, what feeling to perpetuate this heritage with this world circuit of show jumping competitions labeled 5 stars?
MONACŒCOART® asked Xavier Ligero (X.L.), vice-president of the International Sales at Longines.
X.L.: Longines' passion for the equestrian world goes back to 1869, the date of the oldest timepiece of the brand decorated with horse motifs. This original link between the winged hourglass brand and the horses naturally led the Saint-Imier watchmakers to develop the sporting timing of equestrian competitions, where the measurement of time is absolutely vital. In 1878, Longines put on the market his legendary first chronograph, the 20H, quickly recognized as a must on the racetracks and acclaimed for its precision. It was then natural that Longines became, in 1912, the partner of the first show jumping competition. It was in Lisbon, Portugal. Since then, the commitment of the Saint-Imier watchmaking company alongside the biggest equestrian meetings has never wavered and Longines has, over the decades, endeavoured to enrich this attachment, from which many partnerships have been born. With the Longines Global Champions Tour, where the brand is both Official Timekeeper, Official Partner and Official Watch, and which aims to present to a wide audience the jumping competitions. Longines is now inseparable from the equestrian world.
The International Jumping Monte-Carlo represents therefore a well-balanced symbiosis between human sport and the natural world where humans take into consideration the respect of animals, trying to understand their needs out of mere competitive purpose. ***
FINAL RESULTS Grand Prix du Prince de Monaco, 2022 edition:
🥇: Max Kühner (Austria) - 🐎: EIC Corioli des Isles
🥈: Darragh Kenny (Ireland) - 🐎: Volnay du Boisdeville
🥉: Olivier Philippaerts (Belgium) - 🐎: H&M Miro
To know more about the International Jumping Monte-Carlo please visit: https://www.jumping-monaco.com
By Maurice Abbati