The average entry list of a Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix is packed full of some of the greatest and most successful riders in show jumping history.
With such a high calibre of riders in attendance, the competition for Grand Prix titles and the overall Championship win is fierce – only the best make the grade. But which riders have been most successful at capturing the biggest prizes while jumping on the Tour since it began in 2006?
1. Edwina Tops-Alexander
With over €2.44millions in prize money to her name, Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander (pictured above) is the highest Tour earner to date. The 2011 and 2012 overall Champion had another great season in 2013 when she finished 5th in the Championship, collecting a Silver Grand Prix medal in Wiesbaden with Cevo Itot du Chateau and a Bronze Grand Prix medal in Monte Carlo with Guccio. Tops-Alexander’s Cevo Itot du Chateau is also the highest earning horse on the Tour, with over €1million in Tour winnings to his name.
2. Ludger Beerbaum
German six-time Olympic gold-medalist Ludger Beerbaum (pictured right) is the second highest earner on the Tour, with an impressive €1.22million in prize money earned since 2006. With consistently good performances over the years, Beerbaum is rarely out of the Top Ten overall standing at the end of each season – he finishing 6th in the 2013 Championship and collected a Silver Grand Prix medal with Chiara 222 at the Doha Final. Beerbaum’s highest overall Championship placing came in 2011 when he finished 2nd behind Edwina Tops-Alexander.
3. Alvaro (Doda) de Miranda
Alvaro de Miranda of Brazil is a two-time Olympic Bronze medallist who has collected €1.21million during his time competing on the Longines Global Champions Tour. With a Gold medal Grand Prix win in Valkenswaard and a Bronze medal Grand Prix win in Madrid, de Miranda was in with a chance of taking the overall Championship in 2013, but two fences down in the Final Doha Grand Prix saw him finish 4th. His highest overall Championship placings were in 2011 and 2009, when he finished 3rd.
4. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum
The second of three lady riders in the Top Ten Longines Global Champions Tour highest earners, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum of Germany has claimed over €1.18million in prize money, with her superstar horse Shutterfly earning over €700,000 of that total, making him the 3rd highest earning horse on the Tour. Michaels-Beerbaum, three-time FEI World Cup Finals winner, had her highest overall Championship placing in 2008 when she finished 2nd behind Ireland’s Jessica Kurten.
5. Marco Kutscher
One of five Germans in the Top Ten highest earning riders competing on the Longines Global Champions Tour, Kutscher has won over €1.15million in prize money since he first joined the Tour in 2007. Kutscher’s star ride Cash 63 won the lion share of the money, with €550,000 to his name, making him the 5th highest earning horse of the Tour. An Olympic Bronze medal winner, Kutcher’s highest overall Championship finish to date was in 2010 when he placed 2nd behind fellow countryman Marcus Ehning.
6. Christian Ahlmann
Olympic, World and European medalist Germany’s Christian Ahlmann (pictured right) holds 6th place in the Top Ten highest earners on on the Longines Global Champions Tour, with an accumulation of €1.09million in prize money since joining the Tour in 2007. Ahlmann is one of only two riders to claim a Gold, Silver and Bronze Grand Prix medal during the 2013 season – the other being eventual Championship winner Britain’s Scott Brash. Ahlmann finished 2nd in the 2013 Championship and collected podium finishes in Hamburg (Gold), Chantilly (Silver) and London (Bronze).
7. Marcus Ehning
Olympic, World and European Gold medalist Marcus Ehning took the overall Championship win home to his native Germany in 2010, adding a healthy sum of winnings to his now €1.08million total. Renowned for his quiet riding style, Ehning picked up a Gold and Bronze Grand Prix medal with Plot Blue during the 2013 season in Cannes and Doha, respectively. A few unlucky rails this year saw the former Longines Global Champions Tour Championship winner finish 15th in the overall standings.
8. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson
Finishing in 8th place overall in the 2013 Championship standings, Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson proved himself a consistent competitor this season with four top ten finishes out of the ten Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix he competed in during 2013. With a 4th place overall Championship finish in 2011 and 2nd place overall finish in 2012, Bengtsson has amassed over €1.04million in winnings during his time on the Tour, putting this double Olympic silver and European Gold medal-winning rider 8th out of the Top Ten highest paid.
9. Gerco Schroder
2012 Olympic Individual Silver medalist Dutchman Gerco Schroder (pictured right) is close to breaking the €1million barrier with €964,900 in winnings earned on the Tour since joining in 2006. Schroder and his incredible stallion London claimed a Gold Grand Prix medal in Vienna and a Bronze in Valkenswaard during the 2013 season. London is the second highest earning horse on the Longines Global Champions Tour with €723,545 in Tour prize money to his name. Schroder’s highest overall Championship placing came in 2012 when his finished 6th.
10. Laura Kraut
The highest ranked American on the Tour and the 2013 Championship leader for much of the later half of the season, Laura Kraut is another rider close to breaking the €1million winnings mark with €961,001 earned on the Longines Global Champions Tour so far in her career. The Olympic Gold medalist and World Silver medalist had an incredible start to the 2013 season, finishing in the top ten of the first five Tour Grand Prix she compete in. Kraut finished 3rd overall in the 2013 Championship, her highest overall finish to date.
With such generous prize pots on offer it’s not surprising that 8 of the top ten highest earners on the Longines Global Champions Tour have amassed over €1million in earnings. With three superb lady riders holding their own among the Top Ten Tour earners and a selection of nationalities battling for supremacy, the 2014 season looks set to be another cracker as the best in the world battle it out to become the Longines Global Champions Tour Champion.