New Dressage Nations Cup Series Rules Announced for 2018, Introduces Completely New Results Format

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Sweden’s victorious Nations Cup team of Rose Mathisen, Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Patrik Kittel and chef d’equipe Bo Jenna. Sweden won the 2017 series and received a silver plate, not a cup at the end of the series. © 2017 Ken Braddick/

Mar. 7, 2018


New rules for the 2018 dressage Nations Cup in its third year as an official series were announced Wednesday by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) that introduces a completely new results format.

The new rules would apply to the six European Nations Cups tentatively scheduled at Grand Prix for 2018, but not for the CDIO3* in Wellington, Florida that is a mix of Big and Small Tour teams to meet the requirements of the Pan American Games, the championships for North and South America held every four years.

The results format drops the traditional average of the best three results in the Grand Prix that was carried through to reduced combinations riding in the Special and the Freestyle in 2017. That was already a change from the historical system of the average of the three best results only in the Grand Prix and the recently adopted Olympic format of averages in the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special. The Grand Prix Freestyle traditionally has been a competition for individuals.

Instead, points would be assigned for placings in the three levels. The higher individual placings, regardless of scores, would earn points equal to the result–for example, one for first, two for second. The team with the fewest points would be the winner.

If the 2018 results format had been applied at the Rotterdam CDIO5* Nations Cup in 2017 the United States would not have won the gold it did but would have had to settle for silver behind the Netherlands that was awarded silver.

The United States team of Laura Graves on Verdades, Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet, Adrienne Lyle on Salvino and Dawn White O’Connor on Legolas had a results total of 446.442 based on scores to take gold and the Netherlands had 427.035 for silver.

By applying the new results format of placings, the Netherlands would have earned 22 points to win the event and the United States 25 points to place second.

The Nations Cup began as an unofficial series in 2013 and was inaugurated as an official series with six events in 2016.

The United States participated in five of the six events in the 2016 series and was the eventual winner–though the FEI does not present a cup but a silver plate.

The series expanded to seven events in 2017, though the Wellington CDIO3* did not count toward points in the series as not enough teams participated. The U.S. was the only country to participate in all scheduled events. The series was won by Sweden.

The United States–which financially makes the biggest commitment to the series–has not yet finalized its Nations Cup schedule for this year, but is expected to focus on Rotterdam and Aachen, Germany as integral to its selection of the team for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina in September.

At the same time, the FEI said in 2017 it had stopped distributing news releases on the results, although it does so for jumping and eventing Nations Cups.

The schedule for 2018:
CDIO3* Wellington, Florida, USA March 27-31
CDIO5* Compiègne, France May 17-20
CDIO4* Uggerhalne, Denmark May 23-27
CDIO5* Rotterdam, Netherlands June 21-24
CDIO5* Falsterbo, Sweden July 12-15
CDIO5* Aachen, Germany July 17-22
CDIO3* Hickstead, England July 26-29