By now you’ve seen the pictures, lost hours of your day watching the online livestream, and in general decided that you’d gladly sell your soul for the chance to compete on the beach at the Longines Global Champions Tour Miami Beach, currently underway until April 4th. If you’re wondering if the eye candy is as good as it looks in the pictures, rest assured, it’s all that and more. Presenting the 10 best things that you will ONLY see at the Global Champions Tour Miami Beach.
This one goes straight to the top of the list. On the first day of the horse show, it was impossible not to notice the wait staff. Not only were they impeccably dressed and super polite as they set out pastries and delivered cocktails to VIP tables, they were, just, a little. . . . too beautiful. What was this service company that managed to find over 50 exceptionally attractive gentlemen with aspirations in catering? Rumors flew and early this morning it was confirmed – to a one, the entire wait staff is made up of actual male models. They’re the #ShirazStuds, it turns out. That’s right, they have their own hashtag, most of them are signed with modeling agencies, and they’re employed by Shiraz Events, which produced the décor, catering and model staff for the VIP tent. Because the landscape wasn’t beautiful enough by itself . . . ?
Those Riders Though. . .
Perhaps the only thing that could top a coffee delivery by a male model are those male riders who are rarely seen in the United States. As confirmed by Instagram, the USA is very appreciative of the presence of these European riders. And not only for their talents in the saddle. They are intriguing in a forearm tattooed (Hello Denis Lynch), Steve Guerdat-smile, Scott Brash-walking-past-you kind of way.
Obviously, the beach is best here at GCT Miami. From the backdrop it creates to the toes in the sand, sunshine and warm ocean breeze atmosphere, the amazing location is making this a horse show of epic proportions. It’s safe to say that a show jumping competition has never been held directly on the beach, and certainly never one of this caliber. What a way to showcase the sport!
That Ocean Backdrop
There is the beach, and then there is the ocean. I know I know, Captain Obvious here, but it’s impossible to get over the sight of horses jumping with a background of pure ocean. Have you ever seen anything like this? Didn’t think so. The view is stunning, and it doesn’t get any better than this.
High Tech Footing to Match the Sand
If you look at the photographs taken from high above the horse show, it almost looks like the horses are jumping right on the beach sand. Not the case – after all, what rider would allow their multiple-figure show jumper to jump in deep sand?? Organizers of the horse show trucked in many, many tons of a high tech footing mix, the same kind that horses jump on at regular show venues. A base of wood and rubber matting was built over the sand, and the footing was carefully laid on top of that. Five-foot show jumps, here we come!
This young lady qualifies as “overdressed” on the beach in Miami
NSFW Bikini Moments
Or should we say, the lack thereof said bikinis. Top grand prix riders are truly having their concentration put to the test here on Miami Beach. Not only are bikini clad beachgoers crowding the outside rail to get a glimpse of the show jumping, on Thursday, H&S couldn’t help but notice a casual sunbather lying on her towel a few feet away from the arena – sans bikini top. Perhaps our European counterparts are used to such things, but for the American riders, all we can say is, keep your eyes firmly focused on the inside of the arena!
Rooftop Press Conference
On Wednesday, the Global Champions Tour welcomed the event to Miami with a opening press conference that will be hard to top, and that’s coming from a seasoned reporter with many press conferences under her belt. Where else can the press stroll by a rooftop pool (at the brand new 1 Hotel on the beach), lounge on white couches, and be treated with a bird’s eye view of the horse show venue? Announcer Steven Wilde led the announcements as we sipped on cool drinks and admired Jessica Springsteen’s flawless white Gucci getup. The Mayor of Miami Beach and Scott Brash were also in attendance. Win.
You’re a regular citizen of Miami, planning on heading to the beach for a day in the ocean. You grab your towels and walk over the berm and . . . wait a minute. . . what’s a horse doing there? Repeat. Anyone passing by, whether they planned it or not, is welcome to watch the horse show. One whole wall of the arena is open for one and all to rest their elbows upon and watch horses jumping right in front of their eyes. Spectator seats are free and open to all. Well played, GCT, well played.
A Five Star Double
History is being made in another way here at the Longines Global Champions Tour Miami Beach; last week marked the end of the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival, which hosted an FEI CSI5* rated week of competition from March 25 – 29th. CSI5* is the highest rating in the sport of show jumping, and just a few years ago, WEF was the only show in the USA to achieve such a rating.
But today, with the sport experiencing unprecedented growth, there are almost a dozen CSI5* competitions held in the States. The GCT, also an FEI CSI5* competition, marks the first time the United States has ever seen two back to back weeks of five star show jumping. Ever. How we’ve grown! And it’s fantastic to see.
Shameless plug time! The new issue of Horse & Style Magazine premiered yesterday, April 2nd, and you can find it right here at the Global Champions Tour Miami Beach. The magazine is available on the showgrounds and the VIP. It’s packed with great articles, most notably an exclusive Barn Envy showcase of GCT part-owner Frank McCourt’s private Wellington farm. Yeah, we planned it that way. Enjoy!