Nations Cup 3rd Leg with 7 Countries to Start at Rotterdam Thursday

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Edward Gal riding Glock's Undercover to runnerup in the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in April. © 2015 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Edward Gal riding Glock’s Undercover to runnerup in the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in April. © 2015 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands, June 17, 2015–The Nations Cup series stretching across the Atlantic resumes Thursday after a break of three months with points leader Germany and second ranked United States among the seven countries to compete in an unique format being tested here.

In addition to the United States and Germany, the lineup includes the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, Belgium and Sweden.

The United States, with its main focus on the Pan American Games four weeks away to seek to earn a ticket to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, has a full squad of four combinations–all with international experience.

Shelly Francis of Loxahatchee, Florida on Doktor, Kathleen Raine of Murietta, California on Breanna, Arlene Page of Wellington, Florida on Woodstock and Charlotte Jorst of Reno, Nevada on Kastel’s Nintendo will be looking to add to the USA’s 10 points that came from victory at the Nations Cup in Wellington, Florida in March.

The host is fielding a strong team led by world No. 2 combination Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover with his World Games bronze medal team mates Diederik Van Silfhout on Arlando and Hans Peter Minderhoud on Glock’s Johnson along with Patrick van der Meer on Uzzo looking to claim the 15 points that are available to the winner of this CDIO5* to move up from its current fifth spot.

Germany, a week after its national championships in which many of the country’s top pairs competed and with Bella Rose ridden by Isabell Werth and Totilas ridden by Matthias Alexander Rath still sidelined recovering from injuries, has a team of only three combinations, with Bernadette Brune on Spirit of the Age Old at No. 67 top ranked in the squad.

The format of this Nations Cup is unusual. All combinations in the seven teams–up to four combinations but three scores count–compete in the Grand Prix. The riders from each team placed third and fourth move on to the Grand Prix Special during the day Saturday.

The first and second placed riders and horses go to the Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday night under lights.

The team with the highest overall total score over from the Grand Prix and the Special and Freestyle will decide the winner.

This event is one of three top ranked CDIO5* Nations Cups in the series of six in the series that is in the third year of a “test.” Two 3* competitions were staged in March, Vidauban, France and Wellington, Florida.

Next month’s calendar includes Hagen, Germany that is filling in for Aachen which is hosting European Championships of multiple disciplines in August, and Falsterbo, Sweden, both on the same weekend of July 8-12 and the same time as the Pan Ams in North America. Hickstad in England will wrap up the series with a CDIO3* at the end of July.

Scheduling the two European shows as well as the Pan Ams in the same week has placed the biggest burden on the United States.

The U.S. has pledged to compete in as many Nations Cups as possible and intends to field teams at Hagen and Falsterbo as well as Hickstead to make the series global rather than European, in addition to committing four top Grand Prix combinations as participants or reserves to the continental championships in Toronto.