If there is a place to best discover the horse, it’s Chantilly. The city having more than 4.000 equestrian inhabitants horses for all purposes, from racing to polo: it can rightfully claim to be the “capital of the horse”.
And if one had to choose a specific time of the year for their discovery tour, it would be the weekend of July 23rd. During three days, the best representatives of international jumping will show the beauty of its sport in front of the magnificent Grand Stables, on a brand new fibred tract. The “GCT” is the most prestigious circuit there is: the series of Grand Prix that’s spread out all around the world, from Valence to Rio de Janeiro, is reserved for the Top 30 of the FEI world ranking list.
Thus, the greatest names of jumping will get together in the beautiful setting Chantilly has to offer. Currently on the very top of the world ranking list is the Swiss Pius Schwizer, who will be accompanied by the world’s n°2 and Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze (Québec), as well as by the “wizard” of riding German Marcus Ehning (n°3), not to mention young Kevin Staut (world n°4), currently holding the title of European Champion, and many, many more… And the best about the GCT stages is, that all these champions will offer the audience their blood, toil, tears and sweat, because let’s be honest: with a prize money of 285.000€ to be shared in this Grand Prix (95.000€ reserved for the winner) and 1.000.000€ (!) for the 18 finalists in Brazil at the end of August, the Global Champions Tour offers the best reward of the season. Why then, would one want to miss this spectacle?
Visitors coming to Chantilly for the GCT Grand Prix of France (Saturday, July 24th at 3.30pm) will be impressed by additional splendid attractions the beautiful town has to offer. One of them is an equestrian show in the Musée Vivant du Cheval (The Living Museum of the Horse). Definitely a must-see for all visitors of Chantilly: “A Russian Prince in Chantilly”. This one-hour-spectacle takes the audience on a journey through the Russian equestrian world. Colorful and authentic scenes introduce the spectator to “haute-école” riding, “jockey” vaulting as well as Cossack vaulting, and freedom dressage always leave the audience amazed. The show starts at 2.30 pm on both days of the weekend, so it’s a perfect time-filler just before the GCT Grand Prix or the Grand Prix Equidia (on Sunday), both starting at 3.30 pm.
In the evening, the very passionate can take a short rider to the Polo Club of Chantilly, where some matches of the French-Portuguese Cup will be played in Apremont (10 minutes by car, free entry), whereas early birds might rather watch the training of racing horses on the Lions track, just “next door” to the Jumping terrain.
Voilà an eventful “horsy” weekend make a note about in your agenda!