Longines Global Champions Tour is synonymous with the finest showjumping in the world. Beginning with just six events in 2006, the Tour has now grown to 15 destinations across 13 countries and is regularly cited by five-star riders as one of the most prestigious competitions in the sport.
The Championship has always attracted the biggest and brightest names in show jumping. As we forge ahead into another feast of Championship drama in this, the 10th Anniversary Year of the Longines Global Champions Tour, it seems only fitting to celebrate the most successful athletes and horses of the last nine spectacular seasons.
The Tour began by staging Grand Prix in a strategic mix of destinations - Palm Beach, Cannes, Monaco, Cascais-Estoril, Lanaken and Valkenswaard - and inviting the top 30 riders in the world to battle it out for top honours and prizes.
A host of medal-winners and decorated stars entered the very first Longines Global Champions Tour Championship with the view to claiming this new and exciting series title. It was Belgian four-time Olympian Ludo Philippaerts, who dominated the very first Champion of Champions title in 2006.
After a fantastic opening season, the Tour expanded to eight venues in 2007, leaving Lanaken and taking in Arezzo, Sao Paulo and Athens. It was the unstoppable Nick Skelton (GBR) and Arko who took the crown after collecting a Gold and two Silver Grand Prix medals across the season.In 2008 and 2009, the Championship format was altered and the winner was determined in a separate final. The top 25 riders of the season's overall standings were invited to participate in the 2008 final hosted by Sao Paulo, Brazil. Jessica Kurten (IRE) with Castle Forbes Libertina went one better than the previous year to become the first lady winner of the Championship.
By 2009, the Tour consisted of nine stunning venues around the world - Arezzo, Valencia, Hamburg, Cannes, Monaco, Cascais-Estoril, Rio de Janeiro, Valkenswaard and Doha. French superstar and two-time Olympic Bronze medallist Michel Robert and Kellemoi de Pepita were victorious at the magnificent new Al Shaqab stadium in Doha.
From 2010 onward, the Championship was once again decided on overall Grand Prix points won through the season with the Tour touching down in Valencia, Hamburg, Turin, Cannes, Monaco, Cascais-Estoril, Chantilly, Valkenswaard and Rio de Janeiro. Germany came out in force in the Brazilian capital with three-time FEI World Cup Final winner Marcus Ehning taking the overall Championship after holding his nerve to win the final Grand Prix of the season with Noltes Kuschengirl.
After claiming 3rd in the overall ranking of 2010, Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) began her dominance of the Championship by winning the first of two back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012. Incredibly, Edwina finished out of the points just once in 2010, and claimed two Golds and one Silver Grand Prix medal in 2011 and one Gold and two Bronze medals in 2012 with Itot du Chateau. Edwina fought off hot competition both seasons.
By 2013 the Championship had expanded to 12 destinations across 10 countries, featuring Madrid, Hamburg, Wiesbaden, London, Cannes, Monaco, Cascais-Estoril, Chantilly, Valkenswaard, Lausanne, Vienna and Doha. World domination by Britain's Scott Brash began in 2013 when the 2012 Olympic Gold medallist produced a record-breaking performance with Hello Sanctos to win both the final Grand Prix of the season and the overall Championship - something never before achieved on the Tour.
Shortly after his 2013 win, Brash became World No1 for the first time in his career and he has held on to the position for over a year - the first rider to do so since Marcus Ehning in 2006. As the Tour expanded to include, Antwerp, Paris and Shanghai, Brash went on to become Champion of Champions again in 2014.
In 2015 the calendar of events is a spectacular line-up of 15 stunning destinations around the globe - Miami Beach, Antwerp, Madrid, Shanghai, Hamburg, Cannes, Monaco, Paris, Cascais-Estoril, Chantilly, London, Valkenswaard, Rome, Vienna and Doha. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and his phenomenal stallion of 17 years old, CasallASK won the Global Champions Tour circuit of 2016. A dream come true for the rider and his horse who form a couple outsized since 11 years!