The Stephex Masters in Brussels, Belgium was this past weekend, and we kind of have a crush on it. It’s officially going on our must-experience list of shows in the world.
First off, Stephex Stables is home year-round to some of the best riders in the world: Daniel Duesser, Lorenzo de Luca, Emilie Conter, and Jonna Ekberg all ride out of Stephex. It was founded in 1986 by Stephan Conter and has become an institution for show jumping in Europe.
They’ve also produced some of the most amazing steeds this sport has ever known, perhaps most notably Hickstead, the legendary partner of Canadian Eric Lamaze.
But that’s not even why we’re here. Mostly, we’re here for this:
and most definitely, whatever this is:
This show is weird, man. On the one hand, I feel like they just ran out of ways to spend all the egregious money that floats around the FEI circuit, and on the other hand, I really want to be at this party.
We’re not even scratching the surface of what Stephex Masters is. There’s girls handing out lollipops …
… show jumping laser shows with singing butterflies …
and floating spinning dancing dress ladies. I’m standing by that description.
You might ask yourself, “what does any of this have to do with impeccable breeding, fundamentals of horsemanship, or letting the sport speak for itself?” and you’re not wrong. But, you know, I also don’t watch the Superbowl for the football, my friends.
Is a little wacky pomp and circumstance the sort of thing the sport needs to be relevant in an era of short attention spans, or are the fine folks at Stephex Masters completely off their rocker? I’m leaning toward both.