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Montenmedio is humming with activity in anticipation of the imminent start of the Andalucía Sunshin

Top level showjumping returns to the equestrian installations this week and continues right up until the 27th of March

Just watching the practically non stop arrival of horses from all over the world, and especially Central Europe, travelling in style in specifically designed lorries,  it is obvious that competition at the highest level of our sport is about to start up here again at Montenmedio,


The office and the stables are busy and vibrant with staff working really hard to efficiently organise arrivals, check in and place the 2,250 caballos that can be simultaneously housed in the facilities.  As this year’s Andalucía Sunshine Tour progresses, with horses coming and going, a total of 3.500 horses will pass through this fabulous Cadiz showground.


Activity across the showground is at its height during this preparation time here at the show.  Competition and training arenas must be made ready with the relevant equipment, from judges’ and stewards’ boxes to the jumping equipment and arena decoration.  Equipment and consumables that horses need on arrival and during their time here, must be on site and ready for distribution.  The restaurants and kiosks within the show area, must be made ready and supplied and the shopping area is given its final touches.  Nothing is left to chance where almost 9,000 people will pass through the installations during the next two months.


Indeed a small city grows up right here inside Montenmedio, where the main protagonist is the horse.  Over 300 staff will be busy working on site:  those from the offices;  the arenas,  the stables;  the judges;  arena timing;  catering;  cleaning;  farriers;  veterinarians and many, many more!


Up to now, around 750 riders have registered to compete, with many coming from distinct parts of the globe.  In all, 50 nationalities will be represented here over the whole show.  Two to three people is the usual number in each rider’s entourage, grooms, owners, trainers and also, many riders bring their families for their stay here in Vejer.  The economic impact of the arrival of such a large number of visitors to the area, amounts to around 40 million euros and is widely spread amongst a variety of businesses in the local community. 


Many hotels and restaurants open earlier in the year than they used to.  By extending their seasons, this helps to place less financial dependency on generic tourist seasonality, which is mostly centred around beach based vacations.  Up to a few years ago the traditional start of the tourist season was not until Easter.  With the demand so high from Andalucía Sunshine Tour visitors, and the high level of purchasing power that they bring with their presence, opening earlier in the year has become very profitable to local businesses and their seasonal workers.  Many indirect work opportunities also open up during the Tour, benefits are also felt by the local supermarkets, clothes and shoe stores, hairdressers, beauty parlours and health establishments, electrical appliance vendors, veterinarians, physiotherapists, and even dentists and petrol stations!

This year the Andalucía Sunshine Tour, is sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, Regeneration, Justice and the Local Administration of the Junta de Andalucía, Tourism and Sports of Andalucía (Consejería de Turismo, Regeneración, Justicia y Administración Local de la Junta de Andalucía, through Turismo y Deporte de Andalucía).


The high sporting level at Montenmedio is undeniable, it includes some of the best known and respected figures on the international showjumping circuits.  Between them we are proud to see Olympic athletes from both showjumping and eventing spheres, World Champions and the very best riders National Spanish riders. 


Amongst the riders, one name that stands out is 29yr old Swiss rider, Martin Fuchs, who is currently Ranked world number 2*.  Martin is the son of the legendary Thomas Fuchs,  and he has become a phenomenon on the equestrian scene over the last few years.  His name is synonymous with his wonderful grey, Clooney 51, who has recently recovered from a shoulder break in the field.  Clooney 51 is now retired, but is gently ridden from time to time, and his rehabilitation touched the hearts of the whole horse community.


Another Swiss rider who will be here, needs very little introduction, Steve Guerdat, with five Olympics behind him, he was part of the team taking fifth place in Tokyo and he won Individual Gold in the London Olympics.  Belgian rider, Gregory Wathelet is also a regular at the Tour, he has three Olympics behind him and won Team Bronze in Tokyo.  Gregory specialises in training young horses and has a very impressive list of champions that have passed through his capable hands, these include the legendary 'Cortes C', Coree, Conrad de Hus, Copin van de Broy and Corlap. 


Also competing here will be the French rider Penélope Leprevost, who has an impressive list of results, she was part of the team that won Gold in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics;  we will also welcome the legendary rider from America, Laura Kraut, and among her many top results we must mention that she won a Team Silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics and a Team Gold medal in Beijing.  These riders are all Ranked in the top 50 showjumpers in the world, and we are delighted that they choose the Andalucía Sunshine Tour as a place to start off their season’s jumping.


There will be more than 300 classes taking place over the Tour weeks, with more than 2 million euros in prize money up for grabs.  There are also 42 FEI Longines Ranking classes.  Mondays are rest and/or hacking and training days for all horse ages.  From Tuesdays through to Thursdays, are the Young Horse classes for the 5, 6, and 7yr olds.  Thursday is a busy day as the adult horses also begin their week, which finishes on Sunday.  From Thursday to Sunday you can see classes from 1.10m to 1.60m, not to forget the qualifiers for the World Championships, the Grand Prix  classes.


Most riders that come to the Tour agree that it is a great advantage for their seasons to start here and begin to compete outdoors in the fresh air and in large arenas.  In the rest of Europe at this time, the climate and low temperatures only allow indoor competitions and external jumping usually doesn’t start up until April.  The Tour is also well known as the place to produce and source quality young horses and to buy mature  horses with great potential for a riders stable and the new season. 

Without a doubt the mild temperatures here are a big draw to the Andalucía Sunshine Tour, the great atmosphere of the Tour is famous and the amazing installations make it possible for everyone involved, to enjoy their work in a really privileged environment and to relax in a wonderful part of the world after a days work is done.


The largest removable arena roof in the world!

Despite the wonderful climate here, there are still days when the weather isn’t as favourable. The biggest innovation at the Tour this year is the installation of the removable roof over arena seven.  It is 90m by 62m and covers 5,850 meters squared.  That is just under 1 1/2 acres!  Its innovative design is specific enabling it to withstand any bad weather conditions we get here and it is insulated to protect from both rain and wind.  The structure cost 750.000 euros and complements the installations here at Montenmedio, with its 19 arenas, seven of which are grass. 


The structure of the roof is very modern, consisting of a double-layer cover of PVC-coated, polyester textile membrane with Keder and fused together.  The thermal insulation and wind resistant properties come from the presence of the air chamber trapped between them.  The structure is unique with no other like it in the world. 


The arena will be inaugurated on Saturday 12th of February with a Jump&Drive class that is sponsored by Suzuki.  Riders will need to demonstrate both their riding and driving skills to win this class!  It will be a very exciting event and streamed live on our normal media outlets.

07/02/2022   by Sunshinetour News , Press releases

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