Paris, it's over!
In December 2009, the Belgians arrived in Paris. Building on their success at the Audi Masters in Brussels, EEM was committed to providing a five-star event alongside the Salon du cheval de Paris. Christophe Ameeuw brought with him his vision of show jumping along with two rising stars, Matthieu Gheyssen and Bastien Shnock, who were soon to be joined by Bram Vandewalle.
The Paris Villepinte hall was transformed down to the last tiny detail. The shoebox had been transformed like Cinderella's coach; and there’s a good reason why. Over the years, many organizers had come through the space and adorned it with many of their own ideas for their respective contests. From the very first day, the public were sure to appreciate the central arena in the middle of the stands, a real trademark of the Masters. France quickly discovered that the competition wasn’t going to end with the prize-giving ceremony for the last event of the day, with a large portion of the public often remaining until the end of the night to attend various concerts. The Masters have succeeded in bringing together sport, art and musical festivities in a very chic setting, with attention being paid to the smallest detail.
The Gucci Paris Masters were set to host the Rolex Top 10 Final at their very first edition... which allowed living legend Marcus Ehning to win the event for the first time in his career.
The climax on Sunday with the victory of World Champion Jos Lansink on Valentina van't Heike... the Belgians are definitely at home in Paris!
The second edition was marked by Roger-Yves Bost’s victory, when he won the Speed Challenge, then sponsored by Rolex, for the first time. Never before has a speed event been so well endowed and never before has the public supported the riders so much during an event where most of the time, the grandstand were being asked to remain silent. The foundations were laid, but the team never rested on its laurels with the creation of the Battle of the Sexes, which honors the only mixed gender discipline of the Olympic Games. A concept which then gave way to the Riders Masters Cup, a battle between Europe and the Americas, which Europe ended up dominating, not once ceding victory to the other team. During the final edition, ponies also made their debut at the Masters. Young riders have always been one of the organizers’ priorities, with them often allowing very young riders to make their debut at the Longines Masters and, in particular, with the setting up of the Riders Lab.
During all of these editions, the best riders in the world have rubbed shoulders with a host of stars who have succeeded one another over the years, both in the arena and in the stands, culminating in a charity event in disguise, which was sponsored for many years by Princess Caroline of Hanover. This event has even managed to become one of the main attractions of this five-star jumping event like no other, welcoming Mario Luraschi, the extras from the Puy du Fou, and many others.
Surprises were never lacking, such as when Selah Sue sang her greatest hit once the last rider of the final event rode out of the arena, before greeting the spectators at the end of the prize-giving ceremony, but this time they were far closer to the stands. Other acts that have performed throughout the years include Alice on the Roof, the LEJs, the Gipsy Kings and many others!
The best riders also crossed paths with the best equestrian artists for shows that were very highly regarded. All of these elements have enabled the Masters to receive extraordinary media coverage, going far beyond the equestrian sphere.
But EEM has always been able to renew their concept, especially in terms of the jumps that have evolved throughout the editions. How could we not remember the year of Gucci, with obstacles of only green and red, the stands decorated with photos of features marking the city of the Masters stage. A total success that went on to be copied around the world and that pushed its creator to once again innovate, where many would have rested on their laurels. In the following years, the obstacles took on the colors of the Longines Masters’ stages, with new posters and new obstacles that were designed by renowned painters every year.
In recent years, the Paris leg has had to deal with strikes, the yellow jackets and finally the Covid-19 health crisis. The French capital didn’t make it easy for the organizers, who never gave up, but a page is being turned after eleven editions, and so many stories and encounters... but unfortunately, we have to face the facts: Paris is over!
Top 10 Final
2009: Marcus Ehning - Plot Blue
2011: Billy Twomey - Tinka’s Serenade
2010: Roger-Yves Bost - Jovis de Ravel
2011: Philippe Rozier - Idéal de Roy
2012: Roger-Yves Bost - Cosma Shiva
2013: Scott Brash - Bon Ami
2014: Doda de Miranda - Nouvelle Europe Z
2015: Grégory Wathelet - Egano van’t Slogenhof
2016: Kevin Staut - Elky van’t Indihof
2017: Julien Epaillard - Cristallo A
2018: Kevin Staut - Ayade de Septon
2019: Emmanuele Gaudiano - Carlotta
2009: Jos Lansink - Valentina van’t Heike
2010: Marco Kutscher - Cash
2011: Pénélope Leprévost - Mylord Carthago
2012: Marc Houtzager - Tamino
2013: Kevin Staut - Silvana
2014: Martin Fuchs - Future
2015: Patrice Delaveau - Lacrimoso
2016: Grégory Wathelet - Eldorado vh Vijverhof
2017: Daniel Deusser - Cornet d’Amour
2018: Edwina Alexander - California
2019: Simon Delestre - Ryan des Hayettes