July 25, 2008 -- Animal Planet is releasing three new television programs and bringing back a favorite to showcase the guts, high stakes drama and competitive spirit of horses and riders at the top of equestrian sport. From the intense pressure leading up to the final U.S. Olympic Equestrian team selection to the adrenaline-filled action of a sport where every hundredth of a second counts, Animal Planet's world championship equestrian line-up gallops into homes beginning July 2008.
Up first is Rolex Superstars of Show Jumping (premieres Saturday, July 26, at 3 p.m. ET/PT). In this special, the defending U.S. champion Beezie Madden travels to Aachen, Germany, to compete against the top horses and riders in the world in a one-of-a-kind ride-off. In the four-round event each rider first rides their own horse, and then in subsequent rounds rides each of their competitor's horses. Also included will be a long feature on the Rolex World Cup in Sweden.
In August, saddle-up with the Rolex Grand Prix of Show Jumping (premieres Saturday, August 2, at 3 p.m. ET/PT) which rounds up the top athletes and their horses from around the world for this prestigious event in Aachen. This competition is the last chance for American athletes to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team.
In October, some of the key competitors just back from the Olympic Games will be featured in the FTI Hampton Classic Grand Prix (premieres Saturday, October 4, at 3 p.m. ET/PT), one of America's most fashionable and prestigious equine events.
And wrapping up the equine line-up in January, experience the thrill and danger of Olympic-level show jumping when Animal Planet's Sporthorse Cup (premieres Saturday, January 10, at 3 PM ET/PT) invites seven of the world's top riders to compete in a unique three-round test of rider and horse in Syracuse N.Y.
"With the addition of these thrilling world-class competitions to the Animal Planet roster, we are tapping into equestrian enthusiasts' passion for horse sports," said Victoria Lowell, senior vice president of marketing for Animal Planet Media. "Expanding our commitment to horse programming enables us to celebrate the fantastic sport of show jumping and honor the immense skill and talent of both human and animal athletes, while reining in a new crop of horse fans as we ramp up the excitement for the upcoming original documentary series 'Jockeys,' debuting next year."
This suite of horse programming is hosted by athlete and sports commentator Lewis Johnson; sports anchor and contributor for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Andrew Catalon; and top international show-jumping competitor and U.S. horse trainer, Kim Prince. This team of correspondents will give viewers the play-by play of each event and behind the scenes stories from each competition.
The four shows were produced by Carr-Hughes Productions for Animal Planet. Jim Carr and Bob Hughes are the executive producers for Carr-Hughes Productions. Mick Kaczorowski is the executive producer for Animal Planet.