Wipe Off That Long Face, Horse Lovers: 2019 Beijing Masters Coming Oct 11-14
Ever since the proliferation of fences, there has been a need for horses that can jump them, which turned out to be such great fun that a sport was made of it. Now, that sport is coming to the Bird’s Nest Stadium, where some of the world’s best riders will show off their equestrian skills. And since horse racing is banned in China, this is the best chance for Beijingers to see truly talented horsemanship.
During the annual Longines Beijing Masters, the ground of the stadium will be covered in dirt with white tents to prepare for the 283 horses that will compete, making the 2019 competition the largest in Beijing’s nine years of hosting it. Last year, 235 horse and rider pairs participated.
Perhaps the biggest name on the roster is Ludger Beerbaum, a German equestrian and four-time Olympic gold medalist. He earned his last gold medal at the Sydney games in 2000, but proved that he’s still got it in him all these years later by taking the bronze in 2016 at Rio.
Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands, who currently tops the Longines rankings, will also be present, as will Henrick von Eckermann, who holds the number 4 position in the rankings.
Women and men compete side-by-side in jumping. American rider and three-time Pan-American Games bronzer Lauren Hough will be competing, as will Penelope Leprevost, who rode on the gold-winning French team at the 2016 Rio games.
Many Chinese riders will also show what they’ve got at the Masters, including former Jumping-China League World Cup champion Tongyan Liu and former Equestrian National Championship winner, Zhengqiang Li.
Foreign riders will not be on their own horses, unfortunately. Due to quarantine regulations, Longines has arranged to borrow horses for the competition, but they also hope that the more experienced global riders will be able to impart their knowledge upon their Chinese colleagues in order to continue the development of horsemanship in the country.
The 2019 Longines Beijing Masters will be held at the National Stadium (aka the Bird's Nest) from Oct 11 to 14. Tickets range from RMB 80 to 2400 and can be purchased at www.damai.cn.
Image courtesy of Longines