Every April, Miami Beach hosts two major events on the international equestrian circuit: the Longines Global Champions Tour and the Miami Beach World Polo Cup.
Two different sports, which, however, with their quality spectacles and competing athletes, attract crowds around the most noble conquest of man, the horse.
WORLD ELITE RIDERS IN JUMP COMPETITIONS
Under the blue Miami Beach sky, from April 14 to 16, 2022, Longines Global Champions Tour-LGCT returns with the international jumping competition CSI-5 * during one of its 17 world stages.
The idea is simple, the best riders compete with their best horses on the toughest tracks of the season.
Under the palm trees in 12 days, 12,000 spectators applaud the performances of the riders around the stadium built over 10 days with 2,000 tons of sand for a 12 cm thick equestrian course, the construction of a stable with 3,500 bales of shavings for more than 100 horses, which feeds 10 tons hay and 13 tons of feed for horses.
It takes years to train horses and riders for show jumping, trusting and understanding in the pair they form is essential.
The show jumping competition is also CSI (International Jumping Competition), it looks easy, it is a gallop in the measured time of various obstacles according to exact order, without knocking them down, refused, stole, to avoid any penalty.
Imagine that you are balancing on the back of a horse at full gallop, you are the master of your decisions and you measure between 1.60 and 1.80 meters at the withers at a weight of around 500 kg, and the perspective is different when facing an obstacle with a height of 1.60 meters. .
CSI 5 * is the most difficult level. The rider must control the impulse, speed, trajectory, number and length of steps to make each jump flawless. He communicates with his horse using aids (legs, reins, trim in the saddle, etc.), which are light and discreet, so as not to lose the horse’s balance, motor skills and concentration.
In the ranking of the 10 best CSI riders of the 20th century, there are 5 French alongside 2 Germans, 2 English and 1 Italian.
60 riders from 18 countries compete in Miami Beach, from the world’s most successful rider, Ludger Beerbaum, to world number two Daniel Deusser.
Also participating are drivers: Margie Goldstein-Engle (63 years old, world record in 2.36 meters jumps), Laura Kraut (silver medal in the Tokyo 2020 team, gold in Beijing 2008) and famous heirs: Jessica Springsteen (silver medal in the team Tokyo 2020) and the daughter of singer Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Gates, daughter of Bill Gates, Georgina Bloomberg, daughter of Michael Bloomberg and Athina Onassis, who have been riding horses since childhood.
If that’s not enough for horse riding enthusiasm, return to sand polo from April 29 to May 1, 2022.
WHEN POLO IS PLAYED AT THE OCEAN
Florida’s polo season ends at the end of April, and riders who have played in Wellington or Palm Beach all winter are preparing for the summer season in France (Chantilly, Deauville and Saint-Tropez).
Before this transatlantic crossing, a sand pole tournament was held Miami Beach Polo World Cupwhich began about fifteen years ago in Miami Beach, is beginning to be organized.
The pressure of the evaluated matches has subsided, the horses are in great shape, the riders want to have fun and the public is cheerful.
Polo is too intense a game, two teams of 4 riders compete for the field, who will score the most goals using a wooden mallet.
Each polo match is played in 4 to 8 seasons after 7 minutes of 30 “chukkers”, shortened by a 3-minute break to change horses.
Players take care of their horse, called a polo pony, to maintain the quality of speed, agility, control and reaction to the game, the pony changes during the match.
Requires 2-4 ponies per player, professional players can have up to 8 ponies in a high level match; There is no limit!
The rules of the game of polo created for playing on the grass have been adapted for polo on the sand: the size of the grass field 275 meters long and 145 meters wide (5 football fields!) Turns on the sand 91 to 46 meters, the sand polo ball is more flexible, made of colored inflatable plastic and 3.5 times wider than a classic white ball made of very hard material, finally there are only 3 players in a team with only 4 chukkers.
This year, almost 8 international teams representing 10 countries will play in the game, from April 29 to May 1.
If you discover a passion for polo, then you can visit the only Florida polo museum in the world in Wellington, the Polo Museum: www.polomuseum.com