Rolex’s close association with equestrianism dates back to 1957, through its first equestrian Testimonee, Pat Smythe. Since then, the brand’s support and contribution to the sport has only grown. Here are some of the athletes that Rolex has championed over the past 60 years:
The Scottish Brash started competing with his most prized horse, Hello Sanctos, in 2012, and has accumulated success since. Among his achievements are winning the 2012 World Cup Grand Prix in Florida, taking the team gold at the 2012 London Olympics, and team gold and individual bronze at the European Show Jumping Championships in 2013. However, his greatest triumph so far is earning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping after winning the Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen. CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, and CHI Geneva.
In 1999, Michaels-Beerbaum became the first woman ever to world number one in show jumping. However, she did not set out to have a career in equestrianism. She initially pursued a track that’s in line with politics, but she fell in love with competing during her college years and moved to Germany to train soon after. Amongst many team championship medals, she won three FEI World Cup Finals in 2005, 2008 and 2009 – a record still unbeaten today. In 2016 she added to her list of stellar accolades a bronze team medal at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio.
Pessoa joined Rolex in 1998, the same year he won the World Equestrian Games in Rome to become world champion. By that point, he’s already had a rewarding run. Among his long list of accomplishments is representing Brazil at six Olympic Games, where he has won gold for individual jumping at the 2004 Athens Olympics and team bronze at Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000. Pessoa is also one of only four riders to have won a hat trick of World Cup Jumping Final titles: 1998 in Helsinki, 1999 in Gothenburg, and 2000 in Las Vegas.
Tindall has followed in the footsteps of her accomplished parents, Captain Mark Phillips and HRH Princess Anne. In her own right, she won an Olympic silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics with her horse, High Kingdom. She also won individual gold and team silver at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen. In 2014, she repeated this success by helping Team GB secure a silver medal at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy.
Rolex’s role in equestrianism does not end with supporting established athletes. It has also committed itself to ensuring the ongoing development of new talent through The Young Riders Academy. A stringent selection process was establisged for entrants by a panel of accomplished former equestrian riders. The programme includes a place at the Academy and six months’ board and training at some of Europe’s top stables, including facilities run by Rolex Testimonee Kevin Staut, winner of Team Gold in show jumping for France at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.