The most important equestrian event in Poland – the International Showjumping Competition LOTTO CSIO 5* Sopot 2019 Longines FEI Jumping Nations CupTM – came to an end.
Few people know it is one of the most prestigious equestrian events, which includes the Nations Cup entered by teams from a number of countries, fighting for victory, ranking points, and Olympic qualification. Apart from the one in Sopot, there are only seven other such events in Europe.
CSIO is sport at the highest level. It is attended by undisputed showjumping champions and worldfamous riders, such as John and Michael Whitaker from Great Britain. These two brothers, the founders of a real horse-riding clan, are living legends, whose performances at the Olympics we followed for a few decades. Today, the Whitaker clan also comprises their children and grandchildren. The Whitaker brothers have appeared in Sopot several times within the last years, causing tremendous excitement among the audience. John Whitaker, a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, eight-times European Champion and four-times World Champion, attracts crowds of equestrian fans to Sopot.
Another popular figure was Beezie Madden from the US, who came to Sopot a few years ago. That famous horsewoman was on the 4th position in the world ranking, which means she was the fourth best rider in the world.
Other famous participants include Kevin Staut, France, who created a great sensation at the Sopot Hippodrome last year. What is interesting, since this year, this prominent rider, several-times World and Europe Champion, has been riding Calevo 2 gelding owned by Dariusz Słupczyński from Gdańsk. The horse was living at the Sopot Hippodrome for some time and he is now making a sports career under one of the best riders in the world. It is a great joy not only for the horse owner, but also for all those who know Calevo and remember him from the Hippodrome.
Not so long ago, Calevo 2 and Kevin Staut appeared at Longines Global Champions Tour in Paris, where they took one of top three positions.
That is what CSIO Sopot is like. It is entered by the best riders in the world, and it seems that horses are flying, not jumping. An untrained eye might not spot a technical difference between the jumps of good horses and the best horses in the world, but the prices of these horses speak for themselves. Just like in the case of racehorses, what counts here is predisposition; the prices can be up to EUR several million.
This year, the maximum allowable number of riders took part in the competition – 65 top riders, including representatives from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, and Poland.
For Polish riders, an opportunity to take part in such high-score event is a great chance to win big awards and, what is important, get points in the world ranking. We can already see the results – our riders are taking good positions in the ranking and fighting for Olympic qualification. Polish horseriding is slowly restored to its former glory.
Even if you are not a keen fan of horse-riding, such events as the one in Sopot are a marvellous opportunity to attend a sports event at the Olympic advancement level.