Falsterbo Joins 2015 Dressage Nations Cup Lineup for Record 7 Teams

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The Dutch Nations Cup team at Rotterdam of (left to right) Edward Gal, Hans-Peter Minderhoud, Adelinde Cornelissen and Danielle Heijkoop. © 2014 FEI/Dirk Caremans
The Dutch Nations Cup team at Rotterdam of (left to right) Edward Gal, Hans-Peter Minderhoud, Adelinde Cornelissen and Danielle Heijkoop. © 2014 FEI/Dirk Caremans

Oct. 2, 2014

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Falsterbo Horse Show in Sweden, a premier European summer competition, is planning to stage a top ranked dressage Nations Cup to expand the team event to a record seven host countries on both sides of the Atlantic.

For the organizers of Falsterbo that has long been a prime jumping Nations Cup, joining the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) dressages series with a CDIO5* will be a return to an event for which it was a pioneer in staging an innovative musical freestyle team competition in 2009. Falsterbo opted for the Nations Cup after four years staging a World Dressage Masters CDI5*.

The FEI will decide later this month whether to establish the Nations Cup as a full-fledged series, to continue as a “pilot” project which it has been labeled for the past two years or return to an unconnected lineup of events.

The lineup of countries that have declared plans for Nations Cups for 2015:

Mar. 4-8 CDIO3* Vidauban, France;
Mar. 24-29 CDIO3* Wellington, Florida USA
June 17-21 CDIO5* Rotterdam, Netherlands
June 25-28 CDIO3* Aalborg, Denmark
July 8-12 CDIO5* Hagen. Germany
July 9-12 CDIO5* Falsterbo, Sweden
July 15-19 CDIO3* Hickstead, England

The pilot series was launched in 2013 with four events in which a total of 12 countries participated, including the United States although Wellington was not included as a host venue as it was a small tour only competition.

The series, still a pilot, expanded to six events in 2014 and 15 nations fielded teams, including Australia, Colombia and Russia, squads outside North America and Western Europe.

The Netherlands was the overall winner in both years.

Several conflicts occur in the 2015 calendar of events, including the timing of the European Championships in Aachen, Germany Aug. 11-23 whose traditional Nations Cup is being taken over by Hagen for the year and the Pan American Games in Toronto July 10-26.

The Wellington Nations Cup is vital for what is expected to be a record lineup of teams from the Americas as preparation for the Pan Ams which will decide a single team slot and individual qualifications for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The U.S. most likely will not field a team at Vidauban, France the same month.

Hagen, Germany and Falsterbo, Sweden are schduled the same week and at the same time as the Pam Americans.

The Nations Cup series was created by the FEI in hopes of generating national pride and international passion just like major championships such as the Olympics, World Equestrian Games, European and Asian championships and the Pan American Games as well as regional contests like the Central American and Caribbean and South American games

The series has won strong support from particpating countries as a way for combinations with no previous similar experience the opportunity to ride in an event where team is paramount to individual performance.

The 2014 Wellinton Nations Cup medals podium teams of USA (gold), Canada (silver) and Spain (bronze). © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The 2014 Wellinton Nations Cup medals podium teams of USA (gold), Canada (silver) and Spain (bronze). © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Robert Dover, the American Chef d’Equipe who is one of the strongest backers despite the higher costs incurred by the United States as a result of trans-Atlantic transportation expenses, reaffirmed his goal for the U.S. to take part in as many Nations Cups as possible. It competed in four events in 2014, the same number as the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.

The problem, he said, is that some of the dates for 2015 make it “pratically impossible to be at them all.”

Having American teams at two shows at the same time is “unlikely and I am hoping to that the FEI will discourage the idea of these date conflicts to the best of their ability.”