Geneva International Horse Show is for the first time staging a CSI for under-25 riders. Three competitions are scheduled between Thursday and Saturday, with the Grand Prix des Espoirs counting for world rankings. Fighting for the top places will be 28 riders from 13 countries.
The promotion of young riders plays a significant role in the philosophy of CHI Geneva. Staging this first CSI for under-25 riders is further proof of that commitment. With a month still to go, the organisers already have a strong line-up of young talented riders determined to make it into the top echelons. European champions Philipp Schulze Topphoff from Germany (Young Riders) and Kate Derwin from Ireland (Juniors) will both compete in the Palexpo arena. Other medal winners expected are Dutch rider Lars Kersten, who won bronze in the European Young Riders category and European Juniors medallists Maya de la Joya Fernandez Longoria from Spain (silver) and Thibeau Spits from Belgium (bronze).
Horse-riding often runs in families, and it is not uncommon to find family members competing at the youth level. Among them are the UK’s Jack Whitaker, Michael’s son; Irish rider Harry Allen, Bertram’s brother; and for Switzerland Ken Balsiger, Bryan’s brother. The Geneva crowd will also be able to applaud the 2014 Youth Olympic champion Matias Alvaro, who went on to win a team bronze for Italy at the 2017 European Championships. The United States are sending two young riders including Coco Fath, one of the most inspiring riders of her generation, while Switzerland have selected nine riders. The entire podium of the recent CSI U25 at Chevenez (Jura) will be present, namely Aurelia Loser, Patrick Brechtbühl and Edouard Schmitz. Finally, two members of the Young Riders Academy – Guido Franchi (Italy) and Sophie Hinners (Germany) – have been selected.
All riders will compete in three competitions, to be held early on Thursday evening, on Friday around midday, and Saturday afternoon’s Grand Prix des Espoirs. Top honours will go the winner of the last competition, of prime importance to tomorrow’s promising young riders as it confers precious world ranking points.