The first weekend in August, The Longines Global Champions Tour will be opening their doors to the world from a new, spectacular venue: The Royal Hospital Chelsea.
Founded by King Charles II more than three centuries ago, the hospital is home to hundreds of retired members of the British Army, known as Chelsea Pensioners. These brave veterans served in Korea, the Falkland Islands, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, and WWII. Someday it will house retired combatants from Iraq, Afghanistan, and wars yet to come.
Retired soldiers who would otherwise spend their final years alone instead get to age with dignity alongside the men and women who made the same sacrifices they did, and the hospital is subsidized by the British government. And they get to do it in a beautiful historic facility right in the heart of London – just steps from the Thames and mere blocks from Hyde Park.
In 2009, an infirmary was established by HRH The Prince of Wales in former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s name which houses those in need of more critical, hospice, or end-stage care.
So it will be quite a treat in August when the residents will have a front row seat to one of the greatest equestrian spectacles in the world.
This week, Gold Medal Olympian Scott Brash joined with the Chelsea Pensioners to kick off the LGCT stop there, welcoming the press and chatting with the residents about the forthcoming events. Many of the pensioners rode for hobby or in the cavalry, so it was a powerful experience for them to meet the decorated Olympian, and vice versa.
“It was an honor to meet some of the Chelsea Pensioners this week, and I can’t wait to compete here this August in front of our home fans,” said Scott. “I hope we get a great crowd to make a really fantastic atmosphere for this important event in our sport.”
Limited covered grand stand seats are still available priced at £20 (Friday and Sunday) or £40 (Saturday). There is also a £5 general admission ticket for access to shopping, kids club and an array of delicious food stalls within the event village. The main event on the Friday, the CS15* Global Champions League Round 1 kicks off at 16:30 with the GCL final taking place on Saturday at 14:15 before the much anticipated CS15* Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of London Presented by Sapinda at 17:45.
If you’re stateside, worry not: You can livestream the event on the LGCT website and get nearly as much of the experience in the ring as anyone with a ticket! We’ll be sure to provide livestream details as the event approaches.
Cavalry soldiers unequivocally defined the modern horsemanship era, to which every single competitor owes a great debt, and we’re thrilled to see the lives of British veterans of all kinds honored in this way.
Go LGCT, and go Jumping.