This eighth edition marks a turning point with an evening event on Saturday 18th March, as athletic as it will be vibrant. The riders will have to prove their expertise and audacity in order to win the Prix du 24 Faubourg, a new 5 star status puissance class.
Each day has its own programme. The usual highlights of the competition – the CSI 5* classes of the Saut Hermès, the Grand Prix Hermès, the Talents Hermès… – will be punctuated by lyrical extracts from Don Quixote’s Dream, a previously unseen performance conceived by stuntman Mario Luraschi and dramatist Florient Azoulay.
More than ever, the Saut Hermès at the Grand Palais is perpetuating the spirit of the famous harness and saddle-maker, which, by repeatedly outdoing itself and endlessly striving to amaze, has always made athletes’ challenges its own.
I don’t know where we are, but I know who we’re with. Mario Luraschi and his dazzling troupe of acrobats. Only this artist, a breath-taking stuntman truly in his own league, an exceptionally diligent trainer with over 500 film credits, could turn this dream into reality. Performance after performance, Mario Luraschi has dedicated his entire life to exploring the mysterious links that unite a horse and its rider.
In this Don Quixote that we’re creating on the ephemeral stage of the Saut Hermès at the Grand Palais, we want to break down the barriers between reality and illusion, the absurd and the sublime, the near and the far. Quite simply, we want to tell you a little story full of fantasy, the tale of a dream a knight had when he fell to the ground.
Everything has changed since 1837 when Thierry Hermès set up as a harness and saddler-maker in Paris. Horses are no longer a feature of the French capital of today, but there is still one street, one address where they have a strong presence: 24, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
The saddlery craftsmen in the Hermès workshops have forgotten neither what it takes to be a horseman or horsewoman, nor the excellence of a skill set that serves equestrianism and constantly strives towards perfection and improved performance.Technical brilliance, reliability, high quality materials and elegance characterise the new saddles: the Hermès Allegro for show-jumping and the Hermès Arpège for dressage.
In designing high-end reliable modern equipment, Hermès can tap into the expertise of the best riders in the world. Since the days of Bill Steinkraus and Nelson Pessoa in the 1970s, these collaborations have increased as new contacts have been established, and now constitute a team of different talents.
In show-jumping, the Hermès Cavale saddle shares in the achievements of the French rider Simon Delestre, ranked no. 1 in the world, and of Romain Duguet who, having won the 2015 Grand Prix Hermès, has enjoyed a succession of victories and helped the Swiss team to qualify for the Rio Olympics in August 2016. In dressage, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, the German rider ranked fifth in the world, most significantly triumphed in the 2015 World Cup Class in Gothenburg. And finally, Astier Nicolas can boast one of France’s most glorious eventing successes having, in 2015, become the second Frenchman in history to win a CCI 4-star.