The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is the biggest challenge in the sport. Taking place on a global scale, to win the Grand Slam, a rider has to win three majors consecutively out of the possibility of four. It doesn’t have to be in the calendar year and it can be on different horses. These concessions do not make this quest any easier; since it’s inception in 2013 there has only been one Grand Slam winner.
The four majors are the Grand Prix competitions at the Dutch Masters in March, CHIO Aachen in July, Spruce Meadows in August and the CHI Geneva in December. The prize money is immense. At Aachen and the Dutch Masters it’s 1 million euros, at Geneva it’s 1.1 million Euros and at Spruce Meadows, which is known for having the biggest courses on the circuit it’s 2.1 million euros. For any rider who achieves the elusive three consecutive victories it’s an extra 1-million-euro bonus on top.
This feat seems impossible, it’s been achieved once by Scottish rider Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos. The fact that Brash clinched this incredible success on the same horse will hold his place in the history books, it’s a standout moment in the history of the sport. The pair won in Geneva in December 2014, then Aachen in July followed by Spruce Meadows in September.
Scott said, “The Rolex Grand Slam title is every riders dream. I didn’t think it could actually be done, this means everything.”
The Rolex Grand Slam has been described as elusive and rightly so, each of the four venues are very different. Geneva boasts the biggest equestrian indoor arena in the world, Spruce Meadows has the highest efforts at 1.70m. Aachen’s event attracts more than 350,000 visitors to watch five different equestrian disciplines and the Dutch Masters comes at the start of the season, as the largest indoor event in the Netherlands.
The winner’s stats don’t reveal a particular successful preference either, since the start of the Rolex Grand Slam several horses have won more than one major, that’s eight mares, six geldings and five stallions.
Martin Fuchs won at Geneva in 2019 with his stunning grey gelding Clooney 51. He said, “Geneva has always been a good show for me, I’ve never been close to winning the Rolex Grand Prix there though, so when I qualified for the jump-off, I was very excited. Clooney was in great shape and I knew the jump-off would suit us both, I kept focused and tried to go as fast as I could whilst sticking to my plan. It was then hard for me to watch the others go and I was quite sure that what I’d done wasn’t enough and one of the best riders would beat me. When Darragh Kenny, who was the last rider in the ring had a pole down, I realized I’d won. It was an incredible moment; made even more special winning in front of my home crowd, my family and my friends.”
Fuchs and Clooney 51 are just one of many elite partnerships raring to get out and compete again for this most prestigious of titles.