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Spanish riding event draws Athina Onassis and Charlotte Casiraghi

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With two of Europe's most high profile young equestrians, Athina Onassis and

Charlotte Casiraghi

, in the Spanish city of Valencia for the Global Champions Tour, there was as much interest in the lady riders as there was in the showjumping action.

While not listed as competitors in the main event, Monegasque beauty Charlotte, 22, and the 24-year-old Onassis heiress both saddled up on the eve of the weekend competition.

Competitive showjumper Athina was there in support of her husband Alvaro 'Doda' De Miranda, who placed fifth in a first leg event in Arezzo, Italy. The Brazilian, who competed in the 2004 Olympic Games, is one of 30 riders taking part in this year's event.

Charlotte is also a keen horsewoman, having developed a passion for equestrian sports as a youngster she's competed in amateur showjumping events since 1998.

Both young ladies are expected to attend a gala in honour of Infanta Pilar of Spain, the elder sister of King Juan Carlos, on Saturday night. The chic gathering is to thank the princess for her enduring support of the sport.

Following three days of competition in Valencia, the competition moves on to Hamberg, kicking off in Germany on May 21. Four days later it will relocate to Cannes, the fourth location out of nine playing host to the event.

Photo: Rex
Before the second leg of the Global Champions Tour gets underway in Valencia, Charlotte seized the opportunity to put in some showjumping practise
Photo: Rex
Athina rides through the outdoor ring at Valencia's Arts and Sciences Building. This year is the first time a leg of the competition has been hosted in Spain

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