Today at the Longines Masters of Paris opening gala, EEM and EEF announced a brand new American-European equestrian duel slated to premiere in 2017, The Masters Riders Cup presented by EEM and the European Equestrian Federation (EEF).
The United States and Europe have time and again proven their leadership on the international show jumping scene. Since the introduction of the World Team Championships in 1978, no nation other than these have been able to earn a place on the podium. In 37 World Cup finals, European and American riders have only failed to win the title six times. Team results in the Olympic Games are further proof of Europe and the United States’ domination: out of 72 team medals awarded since 1912, Europeans and Americans have only ceded 7 wins.
However, until now there has never been a direct, rules-based competition between Europe and the United States, an event like golf’s Ryder Cup in which equestrians compete individually against one another on behalf of their team. EEM and EEF are bringing this contest to life beginning with the inaugural Masters Riders Cup at the Longines Masters of Paris in December 2017. This unique event is set to be a spectacular clash between the best European and American riders, providing a ring for the two most dominant forces in the world of show jumping to battle it out in an innovative, exciting and strategic contest.
“Equestrianism is undergoing a revolution; it’s our duty to take part,” said Christophe Ameeuw, CEO and Founder of EEM which owns and operates the Longines Masters Series. “As an innovator in the sport, EEM is proud to work alongside EEF to bring this unique, thrilling, and entertaining competition to life at the Longines Masters Series events across both continents.”
Inspired by golf’s legendary Ryder Cup, created in 1927 in the United States by Samuel Ryder, this new show jumping competition will take place every year, alternating annually between Europe and the United States. Pitting a team of five European riders against a team of five American riders, the Masters Riders Cup will illustrate the stunning vitality of show jumping and inspire a patriotic spirit similar to that unleashed by sports fans for the Olympic Games and the World Championships.
“The European Equestrian Federation (EEF) is very fortunate to be able to partner up with EEM in bringing the Masters Riders Cup into the spotlight of equestrian sport. EEM is known all over the world for its highest degree of professionalism and courage for innovation, we are thrilled to go this exciting path together and benefit from each other’s expertise” said Dr. Hanfried Haring, President of the European Equestrian Federation.
For the competition’s first season, it will be the ultimate battle as the teams will be composed by Robert Ridland, the current coach of the United States national team that claimed silver at the Rio Olympics, and Philippe Guerdat, selector of the French national team that took gold. The two team captains will serve as chief strategists. The competition will take place in two stages. Riders will contend in a series of five duels in each stage, and each duel will award points to the winning rider’s team. Depending on the results of the first stage, the winning coach can designate which rider will match up with each opponent. Prior to the second stage, the team captains will determine the starting order of their riders, while indicating any possible substitutions of the horses and explaining their strategy choices.
The story will be continued in 2018 when teams will compete for the Masters Riders Cup at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles.
By creating what is certain to become one of the most iconic events on the international show jumping circuit, EEM confirms its determination to delight audiences who are passionate about equestrian sports, as well as the world’s best riders, with new challenges that enhance the sport’s image while adding a new level of popularity and prestige, as in other sports like tennis and golf.
It will be a prestigious title on par with any of the greatest trophies in all spheres of sport. Ninety years exactly after the birth of golf’s Ryder Cup, the Masters Riders Cup is set to become a legendary competition.