Spruce Meadows announced on Friday that the Calgary facility will be part of a prestigious new equestrian series this season, The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
The series will launch in June, with the Spruce Meadows Masters the second leg of the series.
Olympic gold medallist Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, Ont., fresh off a jumping win this week in Belgium aboard Wang Chung, was among the sport's stars who were part of the Grand Slam series announcement.
The series will be as follows for 2013:
- Aachen, Germany: (June 21 - June 30).
- Spruce Meadows: (Sept. 4 - Sept. 8).
- Geneva, Switzerland (Dec. 12 - Dec. 15).
"Spruce Meadows is honoured and excited to have this opportunity," Spruce Meadows president Linda Southern Heathcott said in a statement. "Our association with Rolex spans more than two decades and now to be able to work with such storied venues as CHIO Aachen and CHI Geneva in creating the Rolex Grand Slam introduces an exciting and unique concept to our sport.
"This has been a fantastic exercise in innovation and cooperation, while also respecting the histories and traditions of each of our events."
The venues were chosen based on criteria such as history and tradition, attendance figures, and infrastructure. Spruce Meadows is the youngest of the three venues, but since holding the first tournaments in 1976 has risen to a place of pre-eminence in the sport with its first-class facilities.
"There are many great events on the show jumping calendar, but the three Grands Prix that comprise the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping are without doubt the ones which the riders all want to win during their careers," said Lamaze.
Lamaze won Grand Prixs at all three venues on the late Hickstead.
Riders will be eligible for significant bonuses in addition to each event's prize money system, even if they should compete with different horses through the course of a year. As well, with the series planned into the future, bonuses are not restricted to a finite calendar year.
Among the bonuses: Should a rider win three shows in a row, he or she will receive an additional 1 million Euros (approximately $1.325 million Cdn) on top of the individual show prize money. For two consecutive show victories, the bonus is 500,000 Euros (about $662,000 Cdn).
The launch of the new series took place at this weekend's FEI Rolex World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Jacqueline Brooks of Cedar Valley, Ont., and Jaimey Irwin of Lakefield, Ont., were the Canadians competing in dressage at the event.