Next to the Olympics, the Longines FEI World Cup is the single greatest honor an individual athlete can aspire to in equestrian sport.
Like McLain Ward to teammate Kent Farrington on the world rankings, it’s second only to the Nations Cup on the FEI calendar. Needless to say, it’s a title every top rider dreams of capturing. Ideally, as many times as possible.
(Historical aside: Five riders have managed to win the World Cup three times in its 39-year history—Switzerland’s Hugo Simon, Canada’s Ian Millar, Germany’s Marcus Ehning and Meredith Michael-Beerbaum, and Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa.)
But winning the World Cup even once is no easy feat.
Just qualifying for the annual Final is an arduous year-long affair that depends upon consistent results and, typically, a string of top horses. Some 52 countries, competing in 16 different leagues, vie for the opportunity. But only 45 riders will earn a spot on the start list for the Final in Paris, France this year.
Of those, a mere 14 will hail from North America—ten Americans (seven from the East Coast subleague and three from the West Coast subleague), two Canadians and two Mexicans.
To earn points, riders can compete in as many qualifiers, on as many horses, in as many parts of the world, as they like.
Within the North American League, there are 14 opportunities to collect points in the 2017/2018 Final. The season starts in Bromont, Quebec in August and continues to Langley (BC), North Salem (NY), Rancho Murieta (CA), Del Mar (CA), Washington (DC), Calgary (AB), Lexington (KY), Toronto (ON), Las Vegas (NV), Guadalajara (MX), Wellington (FL) and Thermal (CA), ending in Ocala (FL) in March.
When the last qualifier is complete, the top seven scores for each rider will be tallied, determining who has made the cut for Paris.
Clear as mud? Fear not, we’ll keep you up to speed on who’s leading, who’s scrambling for points and who’s got a fighting chance each stop along the way. We hope you’ll come along for the ride!
The first qualifier of the season kicks off tomorrow. Join us Sunday at 2:30pm EDT for the FEI World Cup Bromont on horsenetwork.com/live! (It’s free!)