Falsterbo Is First Nations Cup Event to Adopt Olympic Format of Limiting Teams to Three Horses & Riders
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
FALSTERBO, Sweden, July 13, 2017–The Falsterbo Horse Show CDIO5* is the first Nations Cup event in the trans-Atlantic series to adopt a format limiting teams to three horses and riders with no drop score that is similar to that to be used at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The format of this Nations Cup, the fifth in the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) series of seven competitions this year, led to Germany being forced to pull out when one of its riders was injured early this week leaving four countries in the event.
The veterinary check Thursday was more critical than usual for the remaining teams as a single horse failing to pass scrutiny would reduce the field to three teams and thus no points would be awarded because a minimum of four teams are required for point to count for the series totals.
All three horses for Denmark, Russia, Sweden and the United States passed the vet check for the start of the Nations Cup Saturday.
Johan Lenz, the dressage show director of Falsterbo, the largest horse show in Sweden, said the decision to limit the teams to three combinations was made to keep the interest of both television viewers and spectators at the venue that he believed wanted faster-paced competition, one of the primary reasons given by the FEI for changing the Olympic format.
The requirement for at least four teams led to the results of the year’s inaugural event at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida not to count. Canada won, with the United States second and Spain third. Australia with three Florida-based riders willing to pay all their own costs was refused permission by its federation initially to participate but changed its mind too late.
Some national federations have tentatively scheduled a meeting for next weeks’ Nations Cup CDIO5* at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany to discuss changes to the series in only its second year but with four different formats. Eight countries are fielding teams in Aachen.
The biggest issue has been with the format where the Grand Prix, the Special and the Freestyle are all required for the result–with the entire team team riding in the Grand Prix, the scores of two combinations counting for the Special and one for the Freestyle. The pairs in the Special and the Freestyle have be designated before the start of the Grand Prix.
A potential problem was averted at the Rotterdam CDIO5* when one of the four American combinations was eliminated in the Grand Prix. That pair had not been pre-designated for either the Special or the Freestyle so the United States was able to complete all of the requirements.
The USA placed first and is at the top of the standings with three events to go, after being champion of the inaugural year of the series in 2016.
Uggerhalne in Denmark had an identical format to Rotterdam as does Hickstead, England that wraps up the series.
However, as well as the three-combination limit in Falsterbo, Wellington is the only one to allow mixed Big and Small Tour combinations to match Pan American Games requirements while Aachen follows a system of the Grand and the Special being the complete Nations Cup format while the Freestyle is solely an individual competition.
The format of the Nations Cup is probably the most important financially for the United States, which fields teams in more of the events than any other country–all seven this year and five of the six in 2016–the only country incurring the costs of trans-Atlantic air travel for both horses and riders.
The Dutta Corp., title sponsor of United States teams, has donated trans-Atlantic transportation for some American horses to compete in Europe.