I turned up at the Longines Masters knowing very little about show jumping, but wow! My eyes have truly been opened to the artistry of this sport.
We began our evening with the HKJC Asian Junior Challenge, where five teen riders showed off their jumping skills. Getting to see young riding prodigies in action was one of the main reasons I was so excited to come to this event. Every one of them showed great talent and sportsmanship. They were also very gentle and loving towards their horses, giving them lots of pats after their performance.
Later in the night was the Longines Speed Challenge, the fastest event of the tournament. Twenty one riders took turns completing the course in a race against the clock. As the crowd clapped and cheered, the ring was filled with excitement. In the end, German rider Bertram Allen and his 10-year-old horse Christy Jnr took the top spot with a time of just 60.47 seconds.
Aside from the competitions, there was a stunning performance by Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado, whose graceful routine combined horse riding with dance and music. Hong Kong’s own Asian Games gold medallist Jacqueline Siu also treated the crowd to a dressage performance; she and her horse were a picture of strength and agility as they cantered around the ring.
As someone who was never really into horses, I left the Longines Masters with a new-found appreciation of them.
Eunice Yip, 18, Pooi To Middle School
As soon as we arrived at the Asia-World Expo, the strong smell of horses told us we were in the right place. Just a few paces more, and there were the riders and horses themselves, circling the arena in preparation for the first event.
As we took our seats and waited for the HKJC Asian Junior Challenge to start, a tense atmosphere fell over the arena. All eyes were on the riders. They were all so talented that it was impossible to know who would win. In the end, the title went to Indonesia’s Muhammad Akbar Kurniawan, who I was lucky enough to meet after the event. The Longines Masters was his first five-star competition, so it’s safe to say he was pleased with the result.
Next up was the spectacular equestrian show by Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado. I felt as if I was watching a ballet, but one in which horses are part of the cast. The way they were able to tell a story through music and movements was amazing. I was hooked.
As I sleepily made my way home at the end of the evening, I felt inspired by everything I had seen. The dedication displayed by the riders has taught me to never give up on my own goals.
Tifany Fan, 15, German Swiss International School