23rd Sunshine Tour begins Thursday with a 2* event
Competition begins at Dehesa Montenmedio on the 9th Feb with an International 2* with 42,600 euros of prize money and a field of more than 200 horses. There are three international classes at 1.30, 1.35 and 1,40m and two national classes in the programme and the show acts as warm up towards the Sunshine Tour itself which begins on Tuesday the14th Feb.
This year’s Tour is full, with 1,700 horses and about 450 riders signed up to compete in what is the biggest outdoor, European winter event. Once again the number of participants has increased as the show grows in importance in the calendar of many of the best riders in the world. This year there are even more FEI Ranking classes (26) and qualifying classes for the European Championships.
This week’s show will be, for many, an ideal preview and warm up for both horses and riders so they might become accustomed to the installations and it also acts as a training event for the bigger classes that many horses will meet during the five weeks of competition ahead.
The competition continues with two 4* and three 3* events all coming to a close on the 19th March. On this day the most prestigious competition of the Tour, the Invitational GP, is held, with the top 50 riders of the tour participating and prize money of 100,000 euros.
The importance of the Sunshine Tour is clear to see with some of the very best riders in the world taking part; from France, Penelope Leprevost; from Ireland, Bertram Allen; from Belgium, Gregory Wathelet and Jerome Guery and Olympic riders from Spain Manuel Fernández Saro, Eduardo Álvarez Aznar and Gerardo Menéndez.