Top class showjumping in the superb setting of Port Hercule in Monaco with an international line-up — what better way to spend an afternoon?
I like horses and I like horsey competitions, you know that from the polo. Here you have superbly cared-for horses ridden by superbly capable riders. They work as one to produce some great action. Sure they can be in the world top ten or twenty – there is always that little mistake that gets them. I guess it is like tennis except the opponent is the fence, an awesome 1.5 metres high in some cases – wow! Think about it – horse and rider zipping over 1.5 metres!
The riders come from simply everywhere on the planet, totally international. Saudi, Portugal, Sweden, USA …. everywhere, maybe not Monaco, though I wouldn’t be too certain about that. What makes the perfect rider? Any size will do, there are big strong women and diminutive men – and vice-versa.
What they share is absolute determination, an understanding and love of their steed, a huge competitive spirit and stamina. What is exceptional is when they have too many faults, errors, they capitulate in a serene peaceful way – they retire.
What about the Monaco event, terribly chi chi? Yes and no. Of course, it is Monaco, it is in the port and yes people moor up just to come to the event! Really they do. On the other hand it is accessible for the public albeit behind a wide gauge fence, not like the total blackout to non-paying customers during the GP. So you can roll by and watch some of the action then move to one of the nearby eateries that are good and not expensive – that is a fact.
Is it worth going and watching, maybe buying a grandstand seat? Yes. Do it at least once. Choose any day. You will not regret it from any standpoint. It is an exceptional event. Like all horse based events it always has a feeling of being real – that could be just me, then again I know people who do the sport, and they are for sure real.
Treat yourself – go!
All photos © Mike Colquhoun