From September 25th until the 28th, a four-day equestrian extravaganza of the highest caliber, not seen since the 1984 Olympic Games, will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It will be the inaugural Longines Los Angeles Masters, a show-jumping event that will bring together the world’s 25 best riders and their horses for the chance to win $1 million in prize winnings.
The event, which will benefit several charities for children and world peace, will be broadcast on Fox Sports in the states, and be available to 550 million viewers worldwide. Celebrities such as Kevin Frazier of Entertainment Tonight and former Olympian Tara Lipinski will act as style judges, but the main attractions will still be the Speed Challenge and especially the Grand Prix.
Certainly, there is sufficient reason for the equestrians to be nervous. Yet the internationally successful Richard Spooner, also a Los Angeles native, and one of the participants, is as cool as can be. “I’m comfortable with the level of competition and excited to see a competition of such magnitude in our region,” he says matter-of-factly.
Spooner, who has accumulated over $2 million in prize earnings since 1986, has always prided himself on only diligent preparation before events, not empty superstitions. “I just ride my (male) horse, Cristallo, for an hour, give him a massage, and hope he’s relaxed and strong.”
Spooner likens Cristallo to an older veteran like “Nolan Ryan, who is willing to work harder than others for his success.” And most importantly, Spooner knows that to be victorious at the Convention Center, he must continue to nurture “the marriage and familarity” with Cristallo whom he’s known for 11 years and counting. “With horses, it’s all about the relationship—an intricate dance—and it helps to know your partner as much as possible,” Spooner concludes.
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