California Riding Magazine • November, 2014

Los Angeles Masters
Grand Slam
Big show in the big city is a big hit!

article and photos by Kim F. Miller

Compton Junior Posse's Mayisha Akbar, looking gorgeous on Saturday night.

Stilt walkers and sculpture were part of the scene at the Prestige Village.

Richard Spooner & Cristallo. Back home in California after several years based in France.

Big horse shows in big cities are not a new concept. But it still seemed weird and wonderful to see boots and britches-clad Olympic equestrians strolling through the airy, window-walled and marble-floored lobby of the Los Angeles Convention Center. And horses queuing for wash racks in a stabling area erected in the lower-level parking structure under the intersection of the 10 and 110 freeways. The route from the stables to the warm-up and show rings had zillion dollar show jumpers being led up what looked like a spiral freeway on-ramp. It was, in fact, a ramp within the Center, but the sight of the competition's nearly 200 horses, including 51 flown in from Europe, making their way up it, against the city skyline backdrop, was an eye-catcher.

Ireland's Cameron Hanley and Living the Dream do just that as they race to a clear first round in the Longines Grand Prix.

Saer Coulter & Springtime in front of sold-out crowd at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

18-year-old Belgian Jos Verlooy and Domino, on their way to winning
$175,000 in the Longines Grand Prix.

That was all part of the scene at the inaugural Longines Los Angeles Masters Grand Slam Sept. 25-28. On stage, it was top-flight show jumping in front of regular seating stands of 2,000 and a 500-seat VIP side occupied by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bill Gates, Angelica Huston and other celebs. The setting was intimate and the presentation slick and well suited to the near-Hollywood locale.
In short, it was a ton of fun! Organizers EEM, Inc., and show manager Dale Harvey and his team at West Palm Events, more than delivered on their promise of elite competition and elite lifestyle offerings.

Once through the lobby and into the exhibition hall, attendees entered Prestige Village. In the center of the giant hall sat the warm-up ring, surrounded by booths offering everything from the familiar horse and rider gear to highest-end art and furniture. We were happy to see that local businesses including Valencia Sport Saddlery and the Horse & Rider Boutique seemed especially busy throughout the four-day show.

Actress Angelica Huston was one of several celebs in the house Saturday night.

Entertainer Clemence Faivre

Katy Perry? Not quite. Olympian and 3-time World Cup champion Rodrigo Pessoa in the Charity Pro Am class.

The Village also included an open lounge area with live music and stilt-walkers roaming around, all while some of the worlds top riders – Meredith Michaels Beerbaum, McLain Ward, Richard Spooner, Kent Farrington, Georgina Bloomberg, French WEG silver medalist Patrice Delaveau, etc., etc., etc. – got their horses ready with fans either watching closely or milling about.

The competition, of course, was the main attraction. The Masters held three levels of show jumping: the national, the Two-Star and the Five-Star. Eighteen-year-old Belgian Jos Verlooy won the marquee event, the $475,000 Longines Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon, in a field of 42 that included six clear rounds. Swiss star Steve Guerdat raced to second and Georgina Bloomberg finished third, the highest placing American.

Karl Cook & Julie Hancock ready to ride for Thrive Animal Rescue.

Beezine Madden & Mitch Endicott led the audience in the chicken dance, then rode to rase funds for New Children Of Tomorrow.

Meadow Grove trainers Francie and Dick Carvin lead their team in a Greased Lightning skit during the Pro Am Charity class.

Fresh from her win of the previous week's Grand Prix win, at another inaugural show in another big city, the Central Park Horse Show, the native New Yorker led a parade of praise for the Los Angeles Masters Grand Slam. The excellent organization, presentation and high level of sport made it an event that Georgina said would help the sport throughout the States and especially on the West Coast.

The Los Angeles Masters Grand Slam is the latest edition to a show jumping series that includes regular stops in Paris and Hong Kong. Happily, EEM, Inc., has committed to bringing the show back to Los Angeles for at least the next five years.

Hannah Selleck

Paris Sellon

Jessica Springsteen as a flower child, racing along on behalf of Amade,
a children's organization founded by Princess Grace of Monaco.

Will Simpson & Hannah von Heidegger rode for the Compton Junior Posse.

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