Nations Cup 2014 Series Grows to Six Countries, Florida Upgraded to Global Circuit

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Great Britain's team that won the Nations Cup at Hickstead, England, the last of the four events in the inaugural series this year. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Great Britain’s team that won the Nations Cup at Hickstead, England, the last of the four events in the inaugural series this year. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The global series of dressage Nations Cups will be expanded to at least six countries in 2014, five in Europe and the pioneering Wellington, Florida event upgraded to full status in the second year of what will still be a pilot program.

The Nations Cup series is a major effort by the International Equestrian Federation to generate excitement and tap into national pride and build spectator support similar to success in show jumping.

Four nations that were part of the first year’s FEI (International Equestrian Federation) program–Vidauban, France; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Aachen, Germany and Hickstead, England–will be joined by Kristiansand, Norway and Wellington.

Devon, Pennsylvania, has also applied to stage a Nations Cup as part of the series, but has not yet decided on a format and whether it is feasible as the show falls within a month of the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

Aachen and Rotterdam are designated CDIO5* events while Wellington, Vidauban, Hickstead, Kistiansand and Devon are rated as CDIO3* competitions.

To further broaden global interest in the series, Nations Cups can be designated as CDIO2* that allow only three judges instead of a minimum of five at 3* and above and fewer restrictions so costs could be cut significantly. Only three nations would have to be invited instead of six for 3* and above.

A sponsor for the series has not yet been found but individual competitions award prize money.

The Nations Cup schedule as listed on the FEI calendar for 2014 is:

* Wellington, USA CDIO3* – Feb. 18-23
* Vidauban, France CDIO3* – Mar. 5-9
* Rotterdam, Netherlands CDIO5* – June 18-22
* Kristiansand, Norway CDIO3* – June 25-29
* Aachen, Germany CDIO5* – July 15-20
* Hickstead, England CDIO3* – Aug. 1-3
* Devon, USA CDIO3* – Sept. 25-28

All of the Nations Cups except Wellington will be decided by the Grand Prix, a decision made after the first year’s pilot program that experimented with different formats including Hickstead where the Freestyle was the deciding competition.

Wellington is a template for the 2015 Pan American Games and will comprise mixed teams of small and big tour combinations–Prix St. Georges/Intermediaire I and Grand Prix/Special. Only teams made up solely of nationals from the same country will be eligible for series points in Wellngton (see separate report Wellington Nations Cup).

Points available in the Wellington competition will, however, be the same as for other CDIO3* events.

The points distribution ranges from 10 for 1st place in a CDIO3*, 12 for a CDIO4* and 15 for a CDIO5* down to two for eighth place in a 3*, three for a 4* and 4 for a 5*.

Fewer points will be available for CDIO2* events.

Twelve nations fielded teams in the four series events in 2013, while Australia, Canada and Colombia as well as the United States and Spain started full national squads in the Wellington Nations Cup.

Prospective CDIO2* events will be at the new FEI Medium level or at small tour of Prix St. Georges/Intermediaire I with lower points than for CDIO3* and CDIO5* competitions.

The 2014 series will not include a final, the same as in 2013.

Final point standings of the 2013 series were:
1. Netherlands 36
2. Sweden 33
3. Germany 29
4. Great Britain 25
5. Denmark 22
6. United States 19
7. France 17
8. Belgium 11
9. Spain 7
10. Switzerland 6
11. Finland 4
12. Ireland 3