The beauty of the Spruce Meadows Masters going on now in Calgary, Canada is that it’s perfect for everyone. The VIP’s have plenty to keep them happy, while families can enjoy all this show has to offer for a fee of just $5 a person.
As a result you constantly see people from all walks of life walking side-by-side. It could be an Olympic veteran from here or abroad, or tiny children enjoying the competition with their parents.
While the competition is the nucleus of this event, especially the high performance classes in the International Arena, the show offers lots more to entertain and enjoy. A huge Equi-Fair has been a big hit, especially with the value of the Canadian dollar being a bonus for many.
There’s also a carriage ride around the grounds, fun fast food stands and places to hang and relax. The RE/MAX Family Centre is a place for adults and kids. It offers first-aid facilities, changing areas, a kitchen, a safe play area for kids and more.
There are also a host of statues all over the grounds designed by some incredible artists. One such statue depicting the earth is made out of horse shoes and shows how horses connect the world.
For the competition you’ll see families and friends come with their blankets to enjoy a fun day or night event. Often it’s the parents who are glued to the competition while the tots are making friends and finding ways to entertain themselves.
With this being Spruce Meadows 40th Anniversary there was a lot to celebrate. Over the years the show has grown from a small horse show founded by Ron and Marg Southern, to a world class event attracting the top riders in the world.
On Saturday night, the Sothern’s bring together officials, media, riders and more for a gala dinner. It’s a chance for them to thank those who have helped to make Spruce Meadows what it is today.
One tradition is to bring the teams from the BMO Nations’ Cup competition onto the stage. This year the Nations’ Cup was won by a very happy Brazilian team, followed by the French in the Silver Medal position and the Canadians with the Bronze Medal.
The Chef d’Equipe’s of these teams say a few words before offering a gift. The Swiss presented an ice breaker in memory of last year’s Spruce Meadows where the ponds were frozen after a huge snowstorm covered the grounds. Chef d’Equipe Stephane Montafon also presented Linda Southern, the CEO of Spruce Meadows, with his own personal dagger because of Swiss tradition that it is a symbol of trust, safety, and courage.
The Belgian Chef D’Equipe spoke words that were very heartwarming noting that they compete at a lot of places but there is not one place with so much heart as Spruce Meadows.
When it was the Canadians turn it was these words that echoed in the room. “Spruce Meadows is to Canada, what Aachen is to Germany and what Geneva is to Switzerland.” And then it was “Rolex forever,” since Rolex is one of the main sponsors of this event and a true friend of everyone in the room. They then presented Linda with a beautiful picture of their Gold Medal victory at the recent Pan Am Games.
A highlight of the evening was when The Band of The Scots Guards played. This band was founded by King Charles I in 1642 and each year they come to Spruce Meadows and perform during the awards presentations and at other times throughout the competition.
The night ended with a closing speech by Linda who began saying, “When I look around this room, Spruce Meadows is here because of you. Spruce Meadows is like a spider’s web because each person here has helped to spin that web. It has been a great journey!”
With just one day left to go (Sunday, September 13) for many of the riders and especially for Scott Brash, this is an important day because Scott and his horse Hello Sanctos have a chance to make history in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. So far this combination have won the CHIO Geneva and CHIO Aachen. If they win the CP International they would be the first to win this very prestigious event by virtue of a Triple Crown victory.
Should he win the 1.5 million dollar CP International, in addition to the $500,000 in prize money he would earn an additional 1 million dollar Euro bonus. While the other riders in the field are also hoping for a victory, if they don’t win they are hoping that Scott does. It would be one more legendary event to add to the history books.
With the culmination of that event the Spruce Meadows Masters will end for another year with fond memories of wonderful weather, great competition and a fun week. For more about the Spruce Meadows Masters check out the website at www.sprucemeadows.com.