The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is set to return to Geneva, Switzerland, for the last Major of the year. The best show jumpers in the world will compete against one another from December 7-10, 2017, at the CHI Geneva.
An interview with current Grand Slam contender, Philipp Weishaupt, reveal’s his efforts to claim his second Major victory in succession.
Rolex Grand Slam: You won the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen in 2016, and jumped to victory in the Grand Prix at CSIO Spuce Meadows ‘Masters’ in September 2017. At only 32 years old, you’ve already notched up two Major victories – an impressive achievement.
Philipp Weishaupt: Definitely. Everyone, who starts show jumping dreams about two things: Championships and the legendary Grands Prix like Aachen and Calgary. I am extremely proud to have already won these two competitions at my age.
RGS: What does the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping represent in the jumping sport?
PW: The four Majors that the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping encompasses are indeed the four best shows on the show jumping circuit. Assessed individually, each of the shows [have] a special reputation, its own charm, and specific challenges.
Anyone who wants to win the Grand Slam has to prove himself under completely different conditions. That is what makes the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping so unique in the jumping sport and what makes it so very special for us riders.
RGS: You will be competing in Geneva as the current Grand Slam contender. What is different about the two indoor Majors compared to Aachen and Calgary?
PW: Aachen and Spruce Meadows probably have the largest grass arenas in the world. Due to this fact alone, completely different conditions prevail there compared to the indoor shows on sand in Geneva and ’s-Hertogenbosch.
In ’s-Hertogenbosch, for example, the arena is much, much smaller, so the agility of the horse and rider are much more decisive here. Geneva, on the other hand, has relatively little to do with the typical character of an indoor show in terms of the riding feeling. Due to the huge arena it is more like a roofed outdoor show. Just like in Aachen or Calgary there is plenty of space to canter forwards. That suits me and my horses very well.
RGS: How difficult will it be for you to assert yourself against your fellow riders in Geneva and win the second Major in succession?
PW: That is a huge task, but precisely because it is so difficult, is what makes taking on this challenge such particular fun. Qualifying for the Grand Prix is the first big obstacle you have to overcome, because you have to ride against the strongest pairs in the world and ultimately only the best 40 from the qualifiers can make it onto the starting list for the Rolex Grand Prix.
Once you have mastered this obstacle, you have to make sure that your horse has enough energy left for the actual highlight of the show and that it is top fit when you enter the ring for the Grand Prix. Only if this is the case, is it possible to ride flat out and with a little bit of luck leave the ring as the Major winner.