Behind the scenes of the competition
Take a peek behind the scenes of the Jumping International de Bordeaux.
Since 1973, the competition has drawn elite-level riders who come here to take part in a rich selection of prestigious events.
But behind the spotlights, there is a sizeable team working tirelessly behind the scenes to provide the best possible conditions and ensure that the show goes off without a hitch. A bustling microcosm driven by joy, conviviality and, above all, passion.
From the competition arena to the practice arena and the stables, horses and riders come and go in a dizzying whirl throughout the weekend.
The organisers orchestrate a formidable array of human and material resources to ensure that each day runs to plan.
Our passionate, dedicated teams make sure that each and every event is a moment of shared joy.
The moment the riders step into the arena is actually the culmination of a long process of hard work. As soon as they arrive at Bordeaux Exhibition Centre, the horses are checked into a “5-star” stable where their grooms see to their every need for hours on end. Showers, grooming, massages… no effort is spared for these elite athletes. The horses then head to the practice arena to warm up ahead of their event, or to get going in the morning after a good night’s sleep. The practice arena also provides an opportunity for visitors of the Salon du Cheval de Bordeaux to meet champions from all over the world in the flesh.
As soon as the course has been finalised by the course designer, the riders explore it on foot and attempt to memorise the route and size up the major difficulties. After this all-important reconnaissance, it is time for the riders and their horses to make their final preparations in the practice arena. Then it’s action time: the first pair enters the arena as the audience holds its collective breath. Oxer, vertical, double, triple… rider and horse must clear all of the obstacles, set at a height of around 165cm for Grand Prix, against the clock. When they clear that last hurdle the crowd goes wild, regardless of their nationality – it’s the performance that counts.
A ranking is drawn up at the end of the event, and the pair which produced the most flawless performance (no penalties and in the fastest time) wins. Winning a contest is always an emotional moment in a rider’s career.
Behind the horse and the rider, this victory is a triumph for an entire team: the groom, the trainer, the owner of the horse, the family, but also the farrier, the vet, the dentist, the osteopath and the sponsors who back the rider’s travels around the world. The pair takes to the arena one more time, this time to deafening applause from the audience. Trophy in hand, smiling from ear to ear, the rider strokes his dearest partner before setting off for one last lap of the arena, soaking up the plaudits.
Relive some of the most memorable moments from past editions of the Jumping International de Bordeaux in our photo gallery. And whatever you do, don’t miss the 47th edition of the Jumping International de Bordeaux, from 2nd to 5th February 2023 at Bordeaux’s Exhibition Centre.