If you want to rub shoulders with celebrities, aristocrats and even royalty, there are a few events you must attend, but they’re not necessarily the parties you’re thinking of. You can skip the Oscars, miss Paris Fashion Week and spend the Cannes Film Festival on a yacht far from the madding crowds of La Croisette. Instead, get yourself a ticket to a major showjumping competition. Long a sport favoured by the global
elite, showjumping is now dominated by the sons and daughters of rock stars, actors, Silicon Valley tycoons and royalty. While these scions canter around the course, their parents sit in the stands, cheering between sips of champagne. Although many showjumpers come from money, their life in the saddle isn’t simply a
means to idle away their time or fritter away the family fortune. Showjumping is a demanding sport requiring hours of training every day, often with no breaks at the weekend. To make it professionally, equestrians have to commit to a series of competitions around the world, meaning they’re regularly away from family and friends. And if they’re successful, the prize money at leading showjumping events can run into the millions of US dollars. But most showjumpers, including the athletes listed below, aren’t in it for the money. These talented equestrians compete for the sheer love of it.
The oldest granddaughter of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and 16th in line to the throne, Zara Tindall is the daughter of Princess Anne. She began riding at the age of three and has never stopped. She currently competes in events around the UK and won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics in the equestrian team event.
Just as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates went head to head in Silicon Valley, their daughters Jennifer Gates and Eve Jobs are now facing off at equestrian events. But anyone expecting a vicious rivalry will be disappointed.
The pair are on friendlier terms than their fathers were. Jobs only recently graduated from high school but she’s already making waves. She was named Rider of the Month in March last year by the Kentucky-based Show Jumping Hall of Fame.
Olivier and Nicola Philippaerts
Showjumping runs in the Belgian twins’ blood. Their father, Ludo, is a four-time Olympian and their mother, Veronique, competed in high-level dressage competitions. In 2012, Olivier became the youngest rider ever to win the CN International Grand Prix at the CSIO Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament in Alberta, Canada, and in 2017 he won the Hong Kong Tatler Trophy at the Longines Hong Kong Masters. Despite his recent international successes, Nicola defeated him at the Belgian Championships last year to
claim the trophy. Although they normally compete against each other, the twins pair up to model for H&M’s equestrian portal, H&M We Love Horses.
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