Bring on the clowns! And the horses too!
Every Friday Counter-Canter Culture features the important US and International Horse Shows
Olympia, The London International Horse Show
This weekend get ready for the world’s best equestrian Christmas party. That’s right! It’s Olympia time again. The London International Horseshow, on from December 16 to the 22nd, is the only event in the UK where you can see the FEI World Cup ™ Legs for three discipline – show jumping, dressage and now driving – whilst also partaking in equestrian displays and a Christmas Finale sure to put you in the holiday mood.
This one-of-a-kind horse show kicked off on Tuesday with a premiere of each of the equestrian displays and a visit from Santa himself in the grand Christmas finale. On display this year, are the daring feats of The Ukrainian Cossacks, the adorably blistering pace of the Shetland Pony Grand National, and The Metropolitan Police Activity Ride complete with jumps through rings of fire. Catch all the highlights from this year’s displays here:
And if great riding is the kind of thing that fills your heart with Christmas cheer, then how about two more dressage freestyle world records for Charlotte Dujardin and the incomparable Valegro, and a leap over 7ft 3in puissance wall? Dujardin and Valegro are always stunning at Olympia, and this year once again their performance could not be touched by the likes of mere mortals. The mark of 87.46% in the Grand Prix phase beat the team’s previous record, set by the World, Olympic and European Champions at the World Cup Final in Lyons earlier in the year. And they were nearly flawless at the freestyle, receiving a standing ovation from a full house and a mark of 94.3% from the judges.
Yesterday, jumping was the order of the day. Young Irishman David Simpson won the Alltech Christmas Puissance at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, by clearing 7ft 3in (2.20m) in superlative style. He took over the ride on the 13-year-old grey gelding, Ricci Rich, from Britain’s Guy Williams, who the Olympia puissance on him in 2011. Achieving such heights for most horses is unbelievable, but apparently for Ricci Rich it’s just another day at the office!
If you sadly can’t be in London this holiday season, all the action of Olympia can be streamed worldwide on FEI TV. Want to know what your in for? Check out this montage of amazing performances from year’s past!