The 2022 Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) tour kicks off this week at Thunderbird Show Park, the first of ten stops on the 5* jumping series that spans North America.
With heavy hitters like Olympic medalists Beezie Madden and Kent Farrington joining the MLSJ tour in ’22 and last season’s top performers Paul O’Shea, Amy Millar, Kyle King and more returning, the talent pool is deeper than ever. And so is the prize money. There is $8.5 million and a championship title on the line in 2022.
This season promises to be the most dramatic yet.
Eye Candy dominated the 2021 MLSJ tour, landing on the podium an incredible seven times over ten legs, including four team wins. Their returning in 2022 with the same four members that contributed to every podium finish in 2021—Paul O’Shea, Amy Millar, Jacqueline Steffens and Conor Swail—and have doubled down on Irish speed with new additions Daniel Coyle and Dylan Daily.
Spy Coast Spies. The team name has changed but the lineup is full of familiar faces. Last season’s Lucky Charms, also managed by Shane Sweetnam and represented by Jordan Coyle, Margie Engle and Lacey Gilbertson, were a thorn in Eye Candy’s side for the first half of the 2021 season. Now sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, they’ll be looking to steal ahead in the standings. MLSJ newcomers Tanner Korotkin and Ashley Vogel join the ranks. With four Americans and two Irishmen in the lineup, Spy Coast Spies are the yin to Eye Candy’s yang.
Helios. In Greek mythology, Helios is the god and personification of the Sun. You can bet this MLSJ team will be bringing the heat with their fleet footed roster. Helios boasts two Olympians in Ashlee Bond and Eugenio Garza and speed riders in spades with Bliss Heers and Karl Cook fielding their strongest strings to date, rising star Simon McCarthy, and Colombia’s “Marky” Mark Bluman, who makes his MLSJ debut this season.
Crusaders fought their way to second place overall in 2021. This season, the team returns to the League with an all-new, all-American line up of talent with Beezie Madden-size clout. The three-time Olympic medalist is joined by 2022 World Cup Finalist Hunter Holloway, Madden former assistant trainer Callie Schott, U25 rider Katherine Strauss, and veteran show jumper Nicholas Dello Joio. Manager Neil Jones’ has his sights set on a series win.
Roadrunners. A consistent threat throughout last season, the Desert International Horse Park Roadrunners climbed the ranks to pole position heading into the Season Final, but saw their title hopes slip out of grasp. They’ll be looking for redemption this season. Returning with two of their clutch riders from last season in Kyle King and Kaitlin Campbell, they’ve added speed specialists Kristen Vanderveen and Alberto Michan to the lineup, along with California-based MLSJ rookies Alexis Sokolov and Alec Lawler.
Lugano Diamonds are new to the League in 2022, but are making a statement with their team roster. Former world No. 1 Kent Farrington and current female No. 2 Erynn Ballard are at the helm, giving this team the performance history and hardware to shine bright. Rounding out their ranks are World Cup Finalists Natalie Dean and Vanessa Hood, and rising stars Hilary McNerney (trained by Farrington) and Carlie Fairty.
Northern Lights. You can call them the “Eh” team. The Canadian phenomenon known as the Northern Lights sees former Diamond Devils’ Sam Walker joined by five MLSJ newcomers in Vanessa Mannix, Darrin Dlin, Taylor St Jacques, Sean Jobin and “honorary Canadian” Juan Ortiz. They’re looking to grow Canadian high performance show jumping with results and ranking points. But don’t be surprised if they light up the podium.
Trailblazers are underdogs by association only. Last season’s underpowered Blazing 7s, represented by Cara Raether Carey and Chandler Meadows, are starting ’22 with a new name and promising new lineup. They’ve poached Israeli Olympian Daniel Bluman from A.I.M United and Emma Marlowe from Eye Candy for ’22 and added proven speed riders Nicky Galligan and Jessica Mendoza to the mix. Temperature’s rising.
How does the team event work?
The genius of the Major League Show Jumping team event is the design. It’s three rounds of high stakes, fast-paced competition that rewards speed, risk and strategy. And it’s spectacularly fan friendly. Just think 3, 2, 1!
Three. In Round One, all eight MLSJ teams compete over a 1.50m course. Each team fields three riders who compete back to back. The team score is the total of their combined faults. The goal: stay above the cut line. Only the top four teams advance to the next round.
Two. Returning in reverse order, the slate is wiped clean in Round Two, a speed course where faults convert to time penalties. Knock a pole and three seconds are added to the clock. The twist: Only two riders, from each of the top four teams compete in this Round. The sum of their times determines whether they advance to the gold or bronze medal match.
One. Riding the same course as Round Two and returning to a zero score, the Medal Round is a heads up showdown that decides the podium standings. The rider that didn’t compete in Round Two takes the field for the Medal Round. One rider against one rider, fastest time wins.
How to Tune In
Catch all the Major League action, every stop along the season, on MLSJ TV. The first team event of the season is on Saturday May 28 at 5:00pm followed by the MLSJ Grand Prix on Sunday at 2:00pm (all times PT). Be sure to download the MLSJ App for all things Major League.