Global Champions Tour Miami: The secrets behind show jumping's gem

The Longines Global Champions Tour came to Miami and built a stadium by the beach

Posted: Apr 26, 2019 11:00 AM
Updated: Apr 26, 2019 11:00 AM

Miami Beach is known for lots of things -- its turquoise ocean, its sun-soaked climate, its spectacular, beckoning sand.

But once a year it also hosts top-level showjumping when the Longines Global Champions Tour rides into town.

And right on the beach, yards from the lapping water, a temporary arena showcases the best riders and horses in the sport.

The unique stadium features 2,000 tons of bespoke sand, which is mixed with special fibers and laid about 12 centimeters (five inches) deep on a hard base to provide optimum conditions for the athletes to excel.

"It's one of the most difficult competitions in terms of organization and logistics because we have to build everything on top of the existing sand on the beach," said LGCT sports director Marco Danese.

READ: Devos triumphs in eight-rider jump-off in Miami

The unrivaled waterside backdrop brings in about 12,000 spectators over the course of three days of competition, featuring the Global Champions League team event and the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix stop.

In order to grow the popularity of show jumping, entry is free, both in the grandstand and for bikini-clad beachgoers to watch from the ocean side.

"It's nice to see people not familiar with our sport stopping here and being really surprised to see the best horses and best riders in the world. It is something special and unique," adds Danese.

READ: Global Champions 2019: Schedule and results

'Super feeling'

Setting up the event is a team effort involving 30 local businesses. The stadium takes about 10 days to build, while 3,500 bales of shavings, 10 tons of hay and 13 tons of horse feed are also required.

This year's GCT event was won by Pieter Devos -- his first victory since 2014 -- on 11-year-old Belgian horse Claire Z.

Belgium's Devos triumphed at the end of an eight-rider jump-off, finishing just 0.04 seconds quicker than former LGCT overall winner Harrie Smolders.

Among those in the star-studded crowd was rock icon Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patti and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, watching their daughters Jessica Springsteen and Jennifer Gates competing.

"It gives me a super feeling to enter the arena and see the sea," Devos told the Global Champions Tour website. "It's the best of the world here and that's why I am so happy with my mare. I am so lucky."

The Miami Celtics team of Irish duo Michael Duffy and Shane Breen produced a double clear on Saturday to win the GCL event.

Jan Tops, the founder and president of LGCT, said: "It is important for LGCT to be in the American market. America is a great horse nation.

"This is such a vibrant place. This is what the Tour is about, each week it is different. If you win the circuit you are an all round champion."

Visit CNN.com/Sport for more news, features and video

The Global Champions Tour, show jumping's richest circuit, consists of a record 20 stops in 2019, including new venues in New York, Montreal and Stockholm.

The season will finish with the GC Prague Playoffs November 21-24.

West Lafayette
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 75°
Kokomo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 73°
Rensselaer
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 75°
Fowler
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Williamsport
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 72°
Crawfordsville
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 67°
Frankfort
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Delphi
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 73°
Monticello
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 73°
Logansport
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 72°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 50300

Reported Deaths: 2748
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11920692
Lake5432248
Elkhart347058
Allen2902133
St. Joseph205169
Hamilton1665101
Cass16449
Hendricks1446100
Johnson1325118
Porter80238
Tippecanoe7599
Clark68144
Vanderburgh6816
Madison67264
LaPorte60527
Howard59458
Bartholomew59345
Kosciusko5704
Marshall5308
Noble50128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4783
Boone47444
Delaware46952
Hancock46036
Shelby43525
Floyd40444
Morgan33631
Monroe32928
Grant30926
Dubois2976
Henry29717
Montgomery29720
Clinton2893
White26810
Decatur25532
Dearborn25423
Lawrence25225
Vigo2478
Warrick24329
Harrison21722
Greene19332
Miami1922
Jennings17912
Putnam1728
DeKalb1674
Scott1639
Wayne1536
Daviess15017
Perry1459
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1332
Franklin1278
Ripley1277
Wabash1152
Carroll1132
Gibson1132
Fayette1057
Whitley1045
Newton10010
Starke983
Huntington932
Randolph794
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington681
Knox670
Clay665
Pulaski661
Rush613
Posey550
Owen521
Benton510
Spencer501
Adams491
Sullivan471
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Tipton321
Switzerland300
Martin240
Parke230
Ohio220
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events