Los Angeles—Sept. 28
What does it take to transform a parking garage for a giant convention center in the middle of downtown Los Angeles into a week-long stable for the world’s best show jumpers? A lot of planning and work—but only one day to set the whole thing up. See a fantastic photo gallery of all the behind-the-scenes of the show.
The Los Angeles Convention Center parking garage was carpeted so no horses would slip, and two stabling areas were set up: one for the 54 horses who traveled from Europe on the same flight and served out their quarantine at the venue, and one for the 132 horses based here in the States. That meant that some riders with horses based on both continents—like Lucy Davis—had horses in two different locations.
But the stabling areas were near each other, and shared a main entrance. Andy Gillissen oversaw the stables here and at the other two Grand Slam competitions in Hong Kong and Paris as well, and handled the logistics of getting horses from 16 different countries here. Each location has different restrictions as far as quarantine and transport, so he had three different challenges.
Unsurprisingly given the downtown set-up, warm-up space was at a premium at the show. There were designated times horses could school in the warm-up area near the competition ring. To get there, horses walked outside and up a twisting ramp to come in the service entrance to the ground floor. Outside there was a designated area where horses could handwalk on the pavement outside the parking garage, and there was a small lounging area inside near the washracks to get legs stretched quickly.
The Masters Grand Slam flew over the 54 European horses on the same plane, and each horse was only allocated 125 kilos of equipment. While Guillissen said he didn’t kick anyone off the plane for tipping the scales for an extra kilo or two, grooms still have to pack very, very light.
That said, barn areas weren’t nearly as decorated as at a national show (those curtains are probably first to go when trying to get under weight) but very horse-centric. Just after a 1.35-meter class ended the barns were quiet enough to wander through and take a look around.
If you haven’t seen the amazing photos from yesterday’s Charity Pro Am costume competition, check those out now. We've got coverage of yesterday's $475,000 Longines Grand Prix, and a report from the Longines Speed Challenge.