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The 2024 LGCT Super Cup Is a Young Rider’s Game

Jeanne Sadran & Dexter de Kerglenn capture the LGCT Grand Prix of Paris. ©LGCT

Equestrian sport is unusual in that middle age is often an advantage.

While gymnasts typically peak in their teens and 40 is considered archaic in American football (27.6 is the average age of retirement), the longevity of an equestrian’s athletic career routinely parallels that of the real-world standard.

Canada’s Ian Millar competed in a record 10 Olympics and retired from international show jumping competition at age 72. Now 77, he’s still involved in the top sport as the chef d’equipe of the Canadian team.

And while his career is long even by equestrian standards, it’s by no means an anomaly. Equestrians are routinely the oldest athletes competing at the Olympic Games.

In fact, most top riders don’t reach their peak until their 40s.

Henrik von Eckermann, reigning world no. 1, is 43. The average age on the world rankings top 10 is 41.7—in the top 5, it’s higher still at 44.4.

All of that is to say that this season’s LGCT Super Cup, the exclusive, win-and-you’re-in Grand Prix that sees just 16 LGCT Grand Prix winners add their names to the qualifying list, is gearing up to be a remarkably green starting lineup.

Of the 10 riders qualified to date, only two are over 40—Max Kühner (50) and Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann (43).

Of the remaining eight, six are 30 or under, among them Michael Duffy and twins Nicola and Olivier Philippaerts (all 30). Two qualified as U25 riders—Gilles Thomas (now 26) and Jeanne Sadran (22). And four did it earning their first-ever 5* Grand Prix title—Duffy, Thomas, Sadran, and Ines Joly (27).

Michael Duffy at the prize giving of the LGCT Grand Prix of Miami Beach. ©Stefano Grasso/LGCT

There’s no shortage of 40+ championship talent on the Longines Global Champions Tour, either.

Between Edwina Tops-Alexander (50), John Whitaker (68), Marcus Ehning (50), Roger Yves Bost (58), Simon Delestre (43), Jerome Guery (43), Daniel Deusser (42), Ben Maher (41), Christian Ahlmann (49), Pius Schwizer (61), Laura Kraut (58), Malin Baryard-Johnsson (49), Julien Epaillard (46) and Henrik von Eckermann—to name but a few—the Tour features a laundry list of middle-aged medal winners.

They just haven’t won an LGCT Grand Prix yet this season, which means this season’s championship race for the LGCT Super Cup is anything but seasoned.

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