Gulliksen rides into London with his Mexican Amigos
World-class show jumping arrives in London this week with the Global Champions Tour at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. MS Amlin are proud to sponsor Geir Gulliksen’s Mexico Amigos who lie third of 18 teams with the Norwegian veteran at their helm and predicting a strong showing in the UK.
He said: “I hope we can do well – we do have two of the best riders in the world. The team is in good form. Last week in Berlin we would have won but Henrik had the last fence down.”
The Mexico Amigos team are Geir, top German rider Christian Ahlmann and Swedish star Henrik von Eckermann. The Global Champions League (GCL) is a team competition which takes in the world’s greatest destinations including Mexico City, Monaco, Miami Beach, Shanghai, London, Paris, Rome and a special final event in Doha, Qatar. The 18 teams battle it out across a total of 15 international events for the prestigious GCL Champions of Champions crown.
“The crowds are very enthusiastic in Shanghai,” Geir added. “When I was a boy the only competition you saw was the Horse of The Year Show, now we are competing all over the world. In the last five-ten years the sport has changed dramatically. The prize-money is now very big.”
This weekend’s competition will take place on the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea which lead down to the River Thames with the breathtaking backdrop of the heritage buildings designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Founded by King Charles II over 300 years ago, it has provided care and comradeship for veterans, known the world over as the Chelsea Pensioners.
Geir has insured with David Ashby and MS Amlin for many years after a recommendation from his fellow show-jumper Tim Stockdale – one of the UK’s best-known figures in the sport. Geir insures all his best horses via MS Amlin’s special equestrian unit – Amlin Plus – and introduces business to the company.
Norway is not traditionally strong in equestrian sports but Geir has seen real progress in his home country over the years since he first got on a horse after following his brother to a riding centre at the age of 14 in 1974.
He said: “Norway is more about winter sports but we now have 50,000 riders in a country of five million people which is one per cent of the population. It’s now a big sport in Norway.
“I moved to England when I finished high school in 1979 and stayed with the Whitakers in Yorkshire. That’s why I feel quite close to England – I’ve been coming to Olympia for the last 25 years. It’s like a second home. I know a lot of people in the country – I really like it.
“And now my daughter and son are on the same level as me. We are going to the Europeans in Gothenburg later this month. My daughter Victoria is on the senior team and my son Johan on the juniors. We are the three top riders in Norway.”
Geir is still a top rider at the age of 57 but his main business is selling and looking after clients’ horses from his stables just outside Oslo. “We have 56 horses and it is always full,” he said.
But this weekend his focus will be on competing at Chelsea.
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