According to scientific research, the average spectator is able to watch television, without interruption, for no more than 45 minutes at a time. With this in mind, a competition was created that was just 40 minutes long.
The shorter competition format created for the Top Ten has proved to be ideal for TV and has undoubtedly contributed to the large global audience who watch the show from around the world.
Again with television in mind, it was decided that the contest should have a small number of starters and ten riders seemed about right.
As selection criteria is determined by a rider’s position in the Rankings, the event naturally attracts some of the most well-known and accomplished athletes in the world and creates an exciting atmosphere.
The original formula – still in place today – has two courses, allowing the riders to jump the first longer course with a Gran Prix horse, and the second speed course with a particularly fast horse.
Two different horses are still permitted today.
The idea of competing over two courses is additionally linked to the importance of giving a face to these champions and of introducing them to the public. At the end of the first course the riders dismount from their horses and walk back into the arena to be interviewed.
This formula also thinks of the horses’ welfare, without forcing them to pause immediately after jumping the course because the rider has to be interviewed.
Since the beginning, then, far-sightedness and modernity have been the basic ingredients of the Top Ten Final, now one of the highlights of the equestrian calendar. The aim is to make jumping an involving, fast-moving spectacle, and to transform riders and horses into stars on a par with other sports.
Ten riders, ten styles and ten personalities are the focus of this even.
The Top Ten final is probably the most competitive Show Jumping contest in the world with only the Top Ten riders in the global rankings invited to go head-to-head.
Only a brilliant sportsman or sports-woman able to perform at their very best on every occasion, is capable of winning this elite competition, which demands exceptional timing, courage and skill.