**Originally posted October 5, 2015**
Last night I had the incredible pleasure of attending the LA Masters to watch the $450,000 Grand Prix. For me, this was a dream come true to have the chance to see these world-class riders and horses close to home, and my excitement did not wane for a second.
My first mission was to buy a new helmet (review to come!) from Valencia Sport Saddlery, followed by watching the warm up arena with awe and getting my hands on an official Longines polo shirt. Shopping aside, the set up of the LA Masters was incredible.
Flanking the warm up area when you walked in were boutiques from top equine brands and fashion brands alike, reaching to the back of the convention center where a bar and lounge was set up to mingle between classes. Above the purple-hued lounge were pole-shaped lights suspended at different angles, giving the area a distinctly equine-feel. A huge Longines horse statue guarded the entrance on the right side, painted in a shocking shade of red. Around the corner from the warm up area was the path to the main ring, with standard seating on on side and table service on the other.
I was fortunate enough to be sitting directly next to a one-stride combination with a clear view of the entire course, which set the stage for a night I will not soon forget. The riders participating were from all over the world, and to be in the same vincinity was nothing short of incredible. I took my seat at the beginning of the course walk, shaking with excitement. When the time came for the Prix to begin, I don’t think it would have been possible for me to be more on the edge of my seat. As I watched rider after rider navigate the tricky course on their impressive mounts, I felt more and more at home: this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
The jump off took my breath away. To go clear was one thing, but to see the top riders in the world expertly execute tight turns and lengthen and shorten their horses’ stride with ease was like watching poetry in motion: if you like fast-paced, jaw-dropping poetry, that is. When Marco Kutscher overtook Scott Brash with a flawless ride on Van Gogh, the applause was deafening. But the most impressive part of the Prix outside of the riding was the camaraderie between the athletes. Congratulations were freely given to one another, and regardless of the final placement in the class the riders always thanked their horses, which is most important of all.
The LA Masters Grand Prix was nothing short of perfection, and I cannot wait to attend (or ride in it) next year!