The teams for the 2019 Global Champions League (GCL) season have been announced.
Sixteen teams—now featuring a roster of six riders apiece versus last year’s five—will contest the 20 leg season this year, starting at Al Shabaq in Doha, February 28th. You can read about the high profile movements between teams at Global Champions League. We’re dropping this feature length release from Georgina Bloomberg’s New York Empire here. Because it’s Friday and we read it in its entirety and now it’s your turn. (Also, it’s pretty great.)
Here’s the 1,500+ word press release in full (line breaks added for clarity):
New York Empire team owner Georgina Bloomberg of New York, NY, has put together an experienced and talented team of six riders for the 2019 Global Champions League (GCL) season. With a series stop in New York being added as the GCL series finale in 2019, the NYE team is excited for the season ahead.
Bloomberg, an experienced international rider who won team bronze at the 2015 Pan American Games and has represented the U.S. on many Nations Cup teams, competes for the New York Empire herself. She’ll wear the team’s distinctive red and black horsehead logo for the first time in 2019 at the Miami stop of the tour on April 18-20. Joining her on the team will be British Olympic team gold medalist Scott Brash, who jumped for the New York Empire last year as well.
The New York Empire team debuted in 2018, joining the line-up of 19 teams competing on the prestigious GCL tour. New York Empire finished in 16th in the 2018 season and qualified for the GCL Playoffs in Prague.
New additions to the team for 2019 are Denis Lynch, Hans-Dieter Dreher, Daniel Bluman, and Spencer Smith, who rides as the Under 25 member of the team.
“I’m excited for the start of the GCL season with this team,” said Bloomberg. “Last year was the first season for the New York Empire team, and it ended up not going the way we’d hoped. Everybody had bad luck with horses last year; it was one thing after another with injuries and bad luck. This year we really want to get back in there and have a shot at it.”
Brash earned team gold with Great Britain in the 2012 Olympic Games and won the Global Champions Tour (GCT) series and season final in 2013. “Scott has been an amazing teammate and as long as he wanted to be on the team, he was without a doubt my first choice for a spot,” said Bloomberg.
“I’m thrilled to be returning to the New York Empire team,” Brash said. “I look forward to the GCL season because we have a strong team. I’ve been teammates with Georgina on GCL teams since 2016 and 2017, when we both rode for the Miami Glory, and it’s always great to compete with her.”
Lynch, an Irish rider based in Germany, is a veteran of Olympic and World Equestrian Games and FEI World Cup Finals. He rode with Bloomberg and Brash on the 2017 Miami Glory GCL team and helped the 2018 Miami Celtics team to third place in the series standings.
“Denis is someone I really trust as a friend and a horseman,” said Bloomberg. “It’s always nice to have people who you know are going to go in and produce in the ring, but also who you can trust and rely on outside the ring to help with a practice fence or walk the course with as well. Denis knows me as a rider and knows my horses, and I like him as a person.”
Lynch has a strong line-up of horses with the five-star veteran and former ride of Bertram Allen, Hector van d’Abdijhoeve, joining his string this year. He also has a new three-star horse in Chablis and two talented nine-year-olds.
“We thought a lot about it and went out and bought some good horses to help the team,” Lynch said. “I’m really looking forward to the series this season and being on board with New York Empire. It looks like a really exciting and strong team. It’s quite an international team; I think it’s a good bunch and we should do well.”
Hans-Dieter Dreher, who is known as “Hansi,” has represented Germany in two FEI World Cup Finals. He has experienced horses like Berlinda, Embassy, Prinz, Twenty Clary, and Cachacco Blue to choose from when serving on NYE teams.
“I am very proud to be a part of this top team this year,” Dreher said. “I have some very good horses to make some good results for the team and I am very motivated.”
Bloomberg and Bluman have been friends for many years, so she was thrilled to have him join NYE this year. Bluman, who competes for Israel but is based in North Salem, NY, and Wellington, FL, showed for the Monaco Aces on the 2016 GCL season, helping them finish third in the standings that year.
“Daniel is someone I’ve known since he was a kid,” Bloomberg said. “He was responsible for me finding my first rescue dog, Hugo, and adopting him. That was the beginning of my journey with the animal activism. I consider him family. He’s wonderful and has a good string of horses.”
Bluman, a veteran of two Olympic Games and four World Equestrian Games, considers himself an honorary New Yorker. He has five-star veterans Sancha and Ladriano in his string for the GCL events and plans to also use Entano and Colestina for NYE team appearances.
“New York is home for me—my wife and I have a place in North Salem—so it’s very fitting that I’m riding for the New York Empire. I’m excited to be part of it,” he said. “I think it’s a good team—when you put two of those riders together, whichever combination it is, I think it’s a strong entry. I have a few horses to pick from and I think it’s important to take it seriously and focus on getting a good result for the team at each of the shows so we can qualify for the final in a very strong position.”
Joining the New York Empire will be the first time that U25 rider Spencer Smith of the U.S. has competed on a GCL team. Smith, who won the 2014 USEF Medal Finals and now trains with Canadian individual Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze, has become a consistent competitor at the CSI5* level, including winning the CSI2* Grand Prix at the 2018 Longines GCT London aboard Happiness.
“For me, it’s one of the highest honors to have been chosen for this. A big thank you to Georgina for supporting a young American rider like she always does,” said Smith. He has his two top mounts, Happiness and Theodore Manciais, as well as some younger horses to use for GCL events.
“I think we have a really strong team. It’s such a great line-up,” Smith said. “Just being able to compete side-by-side with some of these riders will be a great learning opportunity. From a competitor’s standpoint, it’s great to know you’ll always have a really strong teammate. That gives you a lot of confidence. I think the final in New York is going to be awesome, especially since that’ll be our home court. It’s going to be a really exciting event.”
Bloomberg has known Smith since he was a young rider.
“Spencer has really proven himself as a young rider and he’s somebody who isn’t just coming up in the ranks and having good results, but he’s also someone I really like as a person,” she said. “He’s a really polite young man who’s getting great direction from Eric and from his parents. I wanted a younger rider on the team who wasn’t just someone who was producing results, but also someone who I thought was going to be a great part of the team not only inside the ring, but also outside it.”
The 2019 GCL season kicks off with the first event in Doha, Qatar, on February 28 – March 2. Dreher, Brash, and Lynch are slated to jump for New York Empire in Doha. The series then travels to Mexico City, Mexico on April 11-13 before coming to U.S. soil on April 18-20 for the Miami event. The GCL and GCT tour visits many of the world’s most iconic cities, such as Rome, Paris, London, New York, Shanghai, Madrid and Montreal.
The New York event, which will take place on September 27-29 on Governor’s Island in New York City’s harbor with views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline, is the final event for 2019 regular season. Prague, Czech Republic, will again play host to the thrilling Global Champions Playoffs on November 21-24.
“When you have a good team like the one we have and you’re riding with people that you like, it’s an exciting concept,” Bluman said of the GCL tour. “The destinations are beautiful events with great prize money. You’re riding with the best riders in the world, and that’s always what we look to do.”
New York Empire sponsors Sam Edelman and The Rider’s Closet are returning for the 2019 season. Joining them as sponsors are Sapinda, a privately owned Principal Investment holding company, and South Beach Brewing Company, an innovative brewpub in Miami.
“I’m so grateful for the support of our sponsors,” Bloomberg said. “It’s exciting to be able to spread the word about Sam Edelman’s beautiful shoe line, and the Rider’s Closet charity, which I founded in 2010, is close to my heart. I’m excited to welcome Sapinda, a leading global investment group, and South Beach Brewing Company, a fantastic brewpub and line of beers, to our sponsors. We’re proud to represent these companies as we compete around the world.”