Not many sports involve animals, but one that does is equestrian, or horse riding sports. Equestrian sports are believed to have originated in ancient Greece when horses competed in chariot racing and were part of the early Olympic games. Today, equestrian includes sports like horse jumping, horse racing, and polo.
The Longines Masters Series, which is one of the major international equestrian events, takes place in four cities across the world. This month, Paris hosted the prestigious event, with show jumping and racing playing central roles. This year though, there was an interesting twist to the competition: ponies! And who better to ride the ponies than aspiring children all under the age of sixteen.
But let’s back up for a minute … How does equestrian even work, and how do contestants get scored? Well, the showjumping arena looks like a hurdle path, with fences propped up for horses (or ponies!) to jump over. The higher the competition level, the more complex the hurdles are. Horses are rated for their quickness and general attitude towards jumping; riders are penalized if their horse stops or refuses to jump.
So who won the first-ever Longines Lami-Cell Pony Masters? France’s Jeanne Hirel! What did Hirel have to say about her experience at the event? “The Longines Masters of Paris was just… wow! I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of the very first Pony Masters and to compete in this arena!”
Interesting Fact: In the Longines Masters, both men and women compete together!