On November 19 – 22, the Del Mar Horse Park will host an unprecedented Show Jumping competition: Riders Cup. Hosted by West Palms Event Management in collaboration with Neil Jones Equestrian, Riders Cup will be a unique celebration of Show Jumping, elite competition, and Sport Horses. Neil Jones of Neil Jones Equestrian shares the details of this inaugural event with us.
Photo courtesy of West Palms Event Management
What is Riders Cup?
Riders Cup is an all-inclusive show jumping competition with over $200,000 of prize money to be awarded over numerous classes from 1.0 meter to 1.50 meters. The all-inclusive format entails three tiers of flat-rate entry fees based on horse’s designated competition height; this unique format differs from traditional hunter/jumper horse shows that bill based on each class entered and prize money offered.
The show schedule includes Child/Adult Jumper divisions, Junior/Amateur Jumper divisions, and numerous open classes with unprecedented prize money offerings. Riders Cup aims to celebrate competitive Show Jumping, which is reflected by the lack of traditional hunter and equitation divisions. But not to worry—the Hunters won’t be left behind. Riders Cup features a $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby and an Open Equitation Challenge that will award “quality exclusive prizes to the winners”. Most of the classes will be showcased across technical tracks on the picturesque Grand Prix Field designed by renowned course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil. With over 12 countries being represented at Riders Cup, prominent competitors will include riders like Will Simpson, Ashlee Bond, Rowan Willis, and Cassio Rivetti.
And to top it all off, the final class of the show, the $100,000 Riders Cup Grand Prix, is the second leg of a three-part series. West Palms Event Management (WPEM) and Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) have come together to create the West Coast Jumper Series which includes three Grand Prix classes that boast $500,000 of prize money. The three classes include DIHP’s $250,000 STX Grand Prix (November 7), WPEM's $100,000 Riders Cup Grand Prix (November 22), and DIHP’s $100,000 Voltaire Grand Prix (December 13). At the conclusion of this competitive series, the leading rider and horse combination will be awarded an additional $50,000.
Photo courtesy of West Palms Event Management
How Was Riders Cup Created?
As mentioned before, Riders Cup is unprecedented in competitive show jumping due to its all-inclusive format and sole focus on Show Jumping, so how did this show come to be? This unique event is the brainchild of WPEM's veteran show manager Dale Harvey, renowned horse dealer Neil Jones, and accomplished Grand Prix rider Cassio Rivetti. These three men hold very prominent and influential roles in the sport of Show Jumping on the West Coast and internationally. Their experiences at numerous horse shows reflected a gap in sport horse events: competitors often feel unnoticed or underappreciated by management. This realization led to the development of a Show Jumping event built around the celebration of elite riders and sport horses.
Photo by Julie Ahn
Riders Cup is from riders, for riders.
With the rider at the forefront of these long-time equestrian’s minds, they developed the unique format of Riders Cup where every class is important, not just the Grand Prix. With unprecedented prize money offered in nearly every class at the show, a primary focus on Show Jumping, plus sponsors new to horse sports, every exhibitor will feel like a competitor.
The distinctive show schedule and entry format are not the only features that make this inaugural event one you won’t want to miss—even during COVID-19, this will be a show atmosphere like no other. With an extravagant VIP tent, socially-distanced cabanas available for rent to exhibitors, and new and elaborate decorations and jumps, Riders Cup will be more than a horse show, it will be an experience.
Riders Cup’s unique design that celebrates the rider, coupled with the collaboration of West Palms Event Management and Desert International Horse Park on the West Coast Jumper Series, will raise the bar for horse shows on the West Coast and across the country. Harvey, Jones, and Rivetti did not set out on this adventure with an end point in mind, but rather hope to elevate competition standards across the board. The trio is already looking ahead to how Riders Cup can become a featured series all along the West Coast with their sights set on major Grand Prix’s in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego in seasons to come.
Photo by Julia Borysewicz
How Can You Be A Part of Riders Cup?
While Riders Cup is right around the corner, late entries are still being accepted on EquestrianConnect.com. Check out the prize list here.
Although spectators will not be allowed at the event as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, live streaming of Riders Cup will be available courtesy of ClipMyHorse.TV.
Neil Jones shares his great appreciation for Dale Harvey and West Palms Event Management’s efforts for making Riders Cup a reality, as well as Desert International Horse Park for their willingness to collaborate on the West Coast Jumper Series.
Equivont thanks Neil Jones for taking the time to provide us with insight on Riders Cup, check out Neil Jones Equestrian and their incredible sale horses now on Equivont.