Spruce Meadows “Masters” is one of those horse shows that when you mention the name to a journalist who has been there their ears perk up and a smile comes across their face. “It’s the best,” is what you hear echoed over and over again. This year’s event takes place September 4-8.
What makes a venue stand out among others and why do the media compliment this venue that now boasts five international shows annually and approximately eight local shows?
To begin with it’s clear they want the media there from the many social functions, to the easy to work in press setup, to the accommodating staff, to a venue that is by far one of the best in the world. It has been named the number one horse show in the world for the past three years by the North American Riders Group. NARG is made up of a lot of top riders and their coaches and they base their vote on such things as the sport, prize money, footing, tournament staff, accessibility, cleanliness and more. And for all of this Spruce Meadows is at the top.
It’s clear that accommodating the media is high on their list of priorities debuting with a media luncheon on the day before competition begins. Many of the officials and riders also attend this function, affording the media a chance to talk with them if that’s their choice. It helps to set the media up for the week and give ideas for articles.
“We’ve got the world’s best, including champions from every corner of the world,” commented Ian Allison who moderated the Media Luncheon.
“We really try to provide each and every one of you with a great venue and we always try to improve our sport,” added Linda Southern.
The unveiling of a new building called the Canada House was announced at the luncheon along with the new superb footing in the international arena, where officials were busily setting up the first course. The Canada House will be used for sponsors and to host special functions. The two story setup affords guests a perfect view of the international ring.
It is clear sponsors also place this horse show high on their list of venues to be seen at from the prominent signage of such companies as CN, Akita, Cana, Encana, Finning, Boeing, Telus, Rolex, BMO, Mercedes and others. In fact, both Telus and BMO were thanked during the luncheon for not only their support of the horse show but also for helping some of the companies who take part annually at Spruce Meadows that suffered in the major flooding of the surrounding towns earlier this year.
The money given out at this show is unmatched at any show in the world with over $2.5 million Canadian dollars (which when converted is even more U.S. dollars) dangling out there for these riders to chance winning.
The international events, a welcoming staff, and great prize money are what inspires the top riders to compete. The main event is the CN International, which takes place Sunday, September 8th. New this year will be the second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam. Seven of the ten leading riders in the FEI world rankings will take part.
Among these are 10-time Olympian Ian Millar, Olympic Gold Medalist and 2013 World Cup Champion Beezie Madden, London Olympic Gold Medalist Steve Guerdat, European Champion Roger Yves Bost, last year’s CN International winner Olivier Philippaerts, Kent Farrington who is up for the CN Precision Series. He’s won two competitions in this four part series. If he wins here he would win an additional $450,000 Canadian dollars.
It’s a week of great international competition. Wednesday, September 4th is when the competition begins and so it will be fun to see how this show unfolds when the best of the best come face to face.