Gothenburg Organizers “Working Intensively” to Prepare for 2021 World Cup Finals of Dressage, Jumping

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The World Cups of Dressage and Jumping at Gothenburg in 2019. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Sept. 23, 2020

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Organizers of the 2021 World Cup Finals of dressage and jumping in Gothenburg, Sweden declared Wednesday they were “working intensively” to prepare for the championships six months away after this year’s event was forced by the coronavirus pandemic to cancel for the first time.

“Much is uncertain right now but the ambition is completely clear,” said Erika Olsson of Got Event, project manager for the Gothenburg Horse Show at the Scandinavium where the Finals are scheduled to be staged.

“We plan to carry out the Gothenburg Horse Show 2021 and are now working intensively to make it safe and in accordance with the authorities’ recommendations for participants, officials and other stakeholders in the new, changing world we live in.”

Gothenburg has been host of the finals more than any other city–on 15 occasions beginning in 1979 for jumping that launched the series, and nine times for dressage since the first title was decided in ‘s-Hertogenborsch, Netherlands in 1986.

The 2020 finals that were set for Las Vegas in April were canceled. The Thomas & Mack Arena in the self-described “entertainment capital of the world” made history in 2005 when it held both finals together.

Cancellation of this year’s finals stymied for now the chance for Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD to become the first partnership to win four straight titles and to stage what undoubtedly would have been a highly emotional retirement ceremony for Verdades that America’s Laura Graves rode to reserve champion at each of the successes of the German partnership–Omaha 2017, Paris 2018 and Gothenburg 2019.

The Covid-19 pandemic has wreacked havoc on the worldwide schedule of qualifiers.

Four of the 10 dressage events in Western Europe that provides at least half of the 18 combinations to be invited to the final have been canceled. The first qualifier is scheduled for Denmark next month.

Central Europe that is assured of two riders and horses at the final has juggled its cancellation-ravaged schedule and may still complete as many as eight qualifiers .

North America, also with two reserved slots, saw cancellation of all four qualifiers through September but has eight confirmed beginning with Tryon next month, and possibly several more next winter awaiting approval by the International Equestrian Federation.

The Pacific League gets to send one combination, but has not held any qualifiers so far and whether any will be is uncertain.

Tomas Torgersen, Gothenburg competition leader, said the organization is “in constant contact” with the international federation.

A league soccer match was held at the Scandinavium this weekend without spectators.

Lotta Nibell, CEO of Got Event, said organizers “hope to open the stands gradually and have an internal working group that will now become specialists in running safe events.”

World Cup tickets are scheduled to go on sale in December.