HORSING AROUND: Hermès International said on Friday it has become the official saddler of the Brazilian show jumping team, which comes just a few months before the equestrian events at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro scheduled for August. This marks the first time the French luxury house will manufacture the saddles for a national team.

Earlier this month, Hermès tapped Brazilian show jumper Pedro Veniss as its latest riding partner. There are now 19 international rider partners.

“A strong connection between the Hermès saddle and Brazilian riders has existed for more than half a century,” said Hermès director of the Equestrian métier Marion Larochette, referring to Hermès’ first partnership with Brazilian equestrian champion Nelson Pessoa in the Sixties.

The announcement coincides with the launch Friday of the seventh edition of its Saut Hermès event in Paris, with the Saut Hermès competition (featuring mixed pairs of riders) and the prestigious Grand Prix Hermès being broadcast live on Eurosport and Equidia TV channels and in replay on the Saut Hermès Web site.

A group of French horn players in full riding regalia sounded the kick-off for the three-day event, held under the soaring glass-and-steel roof of the Grand Palais.

“Our little manège consists in having horses make a grand entrance in Paris, through the Grand Palais,” said Axel Dumas chief executive officer of Hermès during a press conference, also detailing horses and Hermès’ common values: “allure rather than speed.” Dumas told WWD his suggestion to the city to provide horses as an alternative means of transport has been fruitful so far. He kidded that we would see the birth in the French capital, alongside Vélib’ [shared bicycles] and Autolib’ [shared cars] of Chevalib’ [shared horses].

In addition to the competition, the event, which attracts around 12,000 visitors, features “Nature at Full Gallop,” an equestrian display by horse trainer Bartabas featuring the cavalry from the National Equestrian Academy of Versailles.

Forty of the world’s top riders are to vie for prize money totaling 670,000 euros, or $755,036 at current exchange, including the Grand Prix Hermès on Sunday afternoon. Running just three days before the dressage and jumping World Cup finals in Gothenburg, Sweden, the Hermès event is attracting riders such as world number-one and Hermès’ rider partner Simon Delestre, Scott Brash and Edwina Tops-Alexander. Veniss, meanwhile is expected to attend as a spectator.