Dressage Freestyle Much Bigger Draw Than Jumping Final at World Cups

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More spectators came to see these three medalists and the 15 other combinations in the Grand Prix Freestyle than any other event at the dressage and jumping championships. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
More spectators came to see these three medalists and the 15 other combinations in the Grand Prix Freestyle than any other event at the dressage and jumping championships. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

LAS VEGAS, April 19, 2015–The Grand Prix Freestyle was by far the biggest event at the dual World Cups of dressage and jumping in the fourth staging of the two annual individual championships in Las Vegas.

Final figures showed that Saturday’s Grand Prix Freestyle won by Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro drew 10,920 paying spectators while the jumping two-round final on Sunday counted 8,929 spectators, about 20 per cent more for dressage than jumping.

The Freestyle was the only performance to log five figures.

The dressage Grand Prix on Thursday drew 7,344 spectators.

Official figures put the total number of spectators at this year’s World Cups at 73,895 compared with 60,175 in 2009, the previous time it was held in Las Vegas and just six months after the global economic downturn. The first dual World Cups in 2005 clocked 73,125 spectators then shot up to 86,575 in 2007.

Attendance was about 20 per cent lower than for the dressage Grand Prix Freestyle to the jumping World Cup two-round final won by Steve Guerdat of Switzerland with Penelope Leprevost of France and Bertram Allen of Ireland filling the other top placings. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Attendance was about 20 per cent lower than for the dressage Grand Prix Freestyle to the jumping World Cup two-round final won by Steve Guerdat of Switzerland with Penelope Leprevost of France and Bertram Allen of Ireland filling the other top placings. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The drawing power of the dressage Grand Prix Freestyle will be a factor in the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Sports Forum next week when the future of the Olympic discipline is on the agenda.

The format of the Grand Prix and attempts to either shorten it–removing repetition of some movements such as extended trot that is required to be performed three times–or cutting the size of the teams that can extend championship Nations Cups to two complete days are among the issues.