Portugal to Host its First Nations Cup When Series Resumes in 2021

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USA 2020 Nations Cup gold medal team of Anna Marek, Katherine Bateson-Chandler.Adrienne Lyle and Steffen Peters at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival before the series was called off. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Dec. 28, 2020

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Portugal is scheduled to host its first Nations Cup in the trans-Atlantic series with six competitions lined up for 2021 after coronavirus led to cancellation of the 2020 circuit.

The CDIO3* event at Alter do Chão, Portugal’s national stud, will be second in the lineup after resumption of the series at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida in March.

Portugal has sent teams to only two events in the eight years of the series, in 2018 and 2019 at Hickstead, England before the long-time organizers closed down the season-ending competition. The country in 2021 will field its first ever team at an Olympics.

The 2021 schedule of Nations Cups on the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) calendar is:

–Mar. 16-21–Wellington, Florida–CDIO3*
–April 22-25–Alter do Chão–CDIO3*
–May 27-20–Compiègne, France–CDIO5*
–June 24-27–Rotterdam–CDIO5*
–June 30-July 4–Aachen, Germany–CDIO5*
–July 15-18–Falsterbo, Sweden–CDIO5*

The series this year, as it would have been in 2020 but for the pandemic, is expected to be a key in selection of teams for Olympic dressage competition set to begin in Tokyo at the end of July after being put off for a year.

Among the highlights in 2021 if the pandemic is under control, Canada and the United States in Florida; Edward Gal possibly on the electrifying Glock’s Toto Jr., the son of Totilas that will be 10 years old on a resurgent Dutch team at Rotterdam, and the powerful German squad on their home ground at Aachen along with other nations making final decisions on their teams.

The coming year is expected to be the last in the current format in which countries accumulate points to decide the title, with no final.

Sweden’s victorious Nations Cup team and the silver plate in lieu of a trophy “cup.” File photo. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

So when the series was decided before the last competition, the winner did not need to show up to receive the silver plate. (Yes, a plate, not a cup. An early offer to donate a cup and miniatures for the winning team riders was dismissed by the FEI that owns the series insisting that a “major” sponsor was forthcoming–no sponsor, major or minor, ever did and the plate remains as the ultimate prize.)

Throughout the length of the series 22 nations representing the continents of Australasia, Africa, Europe and North and South America participated. Asia would have been included as both Israel and Japan fielded teams in their first ever dressage Nations Cups at Global in Wellington, Florida in 2020 that was the last international equestrian competition in the world before lockdowns in mid-March, and the series was canceled for the year.

In the seven years a winner was declared, Sweden was the champion on three occasions–2017, 2018 and 2019. The Netherlands won twice, in 2013 and 2014, while Germany won in 2015 and the United States in 2016.

Sweden also competed in more Nations Cups than any other country, a total of 32, while the Netherlands and the United States tied for the second most at 28. Two events in Wellington in which the U.S. fielded teams were not counted because there were not enough entries.

Great Britain competed in 25 events; Germany and Denmark 24 each; France 16; Belgium 13; Spain 11; Finland and Russia 6; Australia, Canada and Switzerland 5; Ireland 4; Colombia, Norway and Portugal 2, and Costa Rica, Italy, Mexico and South Africa 1.