November 2016 - Longines Masters of Los Angeles
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 01 November 2016 05:00
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Show jumping dominates the spotlight, while polo and dressage coattail on success of an event that’s building fan base for equestrian sport.

Daniel Deusser of Germany and Equita van’t Zorgvliet emerged as champions of the Longines Masters of Los Angeles’ main event, the Longines Grand Prix. The Oct. 2 class closed four days of top level, fan friendly show jumping held at the Long Beach Convention Center, Sept. 29-Oct. 2.

Daniel Deusser and Equita van’t Zorgvielt. Photo: RB Presse / J.Rodrigues

Scott Brash on Roch and Cassie Frost on Will Do enjoy a stroll on the Long Beach sand. Photo: RB Presse / J.Rodrigues

Duesser and his mare completed the course with an impressive time of 37.67 seconds, and were followed by Friday’s Longines Speed Challenge winner, Nayel Nassar and The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders, who took second and third place, respectively. Deusser, who in the last two months captured the Longines Masters Grand Prix title and an Olympic medal, now looks to make history by winning the Grand Prix in Paris and Hong Kong, and earning the brand new Super Grand Slam Bonus of 2.25 million Euros.

At a press conference following the prize giving ceremony, Deusser told reporters and fans what it took to win atop his 12-year-old mare. “I knew I had to try everything to beat [the time] and I took all the risks. She played the game today and she was amazing,” he said crediting his horse.

With the German’s Grand Prix win at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles, Duesser is now in the running for the Super Grand Slam Bonus, which he will achieve if he wins the Grand Prix in both Paris and Hong Kong this season. When asked about his plans for attending the Longines Masters of Paris, Duesser shared his vision. “That was the plan in the beginning. Paris and Hong Kong have two amazing shows there.”

Rider Nayel Nassar performs with Dunsoghly Junior during the Pro-Am for Charity Competition. Photo: Bernstein Associates/Getty Images

The final day of the Longines Masters of Los Angeles also featured the EEM Grand Prix, which was won by Guillaume Canet and SIEC Ciotto. Hilary McNerney, riding Z Acodate DDL, won the all-female Sam Edelman Grand Prix class as well as a bevy of high-fashion riding boots and ballerina flats.

Jumping was the main attraction all week, but fans also enjoyed exciting polo demonstration by La Martina, and a dressage exhibition by Olympian Jan Ebeling.

Daniel Deusser and Equita van’t Zorgvielt’s victory gallop. Photo: Bernstein Associates/Getty Images

Jan’s (and wife Amy’s) son Ben Ebeling, meanwhile, was getting his own thrills competing in the Master’s popular Pro-Am for Charity class, teamed up with his coach, show jumping Olympic gold medalist Will Simpson.

Nayel and teammate Sloan Elmassian were crowned the Pro-Am for Charity winners dressed as disco kings with afros and all to benefit Ride On, an organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of people with disabilities through equine-related therapy, recreation and fun.

Along with Ben and Will riding for Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases, the pairs were joined by Kristin Hardin and Nikki Hirt for Compton Jr. Posse Youth Equestrian Program; Francie Steinwedell-Carvin and Vani Khosla for Thrive Animal Rescue; Destry Spielberg and Jane Richards-Phillips for Just World International;Eduardo Menezes and Jean-Christophe Mely for Special Spirit and Joie Gatlin and Chandler Meadows for Semper Fi.

A French Sweep

Also on Saturday night, the Emirates Gold Cup showcased the power and agility of show jumping as the world’s best riders jumped the course designed by Uliano Vezzani. After a competitive first round, the top 10 and their horses took to the course again. The winning round came to an exciting finish as the French swept the podium. Kevin Staut and Elky van het Indihof HDC claimed the top prize with a time of 35.52 seconds, with Simon Delestre and Julien Epaillard coming in second and third, respectively.

The morning portion of the competition was highlighted with the City of Long Beach Trophy class, in which Steve Guerdat took home the top prize with a time of 33.83 seconds. Also in the morning session, the Terranea Resort Trophy was won by Estelle Navet, while Amelie Bittar claimed the Ecuries d’Ecaussinnes Trophy.

Sloan Elmassian performs with Centurion during the Pro-am for Charity. Photo: Bernstein Associates/Getty Images

Dressage Olympian Jan Ebeling. Photo: Bernstein Associates/Getty Images

Along with the equestrian action, the event presented masterfully created cuisine, special meet-and-greets with riders and horses, as well as an active kids corner for the full family experience. In a special session on Friday evening, Longines, the Title Partner and Official Timekeeper of the event, facilitated a conversation between elite equestrian and daughter of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Georgina Bloomberg and reigning Olympic slalom gold medal winner Mikaela Shiffrin. The two athletes discussed the importance of timekeeping and precision in show jumping and alpine skiing.

With the close of the 2016 Longines Masters of Los Angeles, the event and its participants now look to Paris where the Longines Masters will take place Dec. 1-4 of this year, before arriving in Hong Kong for the grand finale of the season Feb. 10-12, 2017.

“We are thrilled to say that season two of the Longines Masters Series has succeeded in making a mark in not just the equestrian community, but also in the world of sports,” said Christophe Ameeuw, CEO and Founder of EEM. “The past four days have exhibited the world’s top athletes vying for the winning title in what has become one of the largest competitions in the world. Thank you to all the riders, the horses, the team members, and most importantly to the fans for making this possible. We ride the world.”

Excerpted from press releases provided by the Longines Masters.