Starting this weekend, the FEI’s new and improved Nations Cup series is coming to a stadium or (streaming service) near you.
Ask 100 of the world’s best show jumpers and you’ll often get the same response: the opportunity to ride for their country in international competition is often the highlight of a rider’s career. And this year, many of these same household names will have a different kind of opportunity to do so.
For the first time ever, 10 teams from around the globe will have four chances to jump for glory in the brand new and improved Longines League of Nations™ series. This glow-up version of the FEI’s iconic Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup takes a fresh approach, following in the footsteps of other successful international team series such as the Longines Global Champions Tour and Major League Show Jumping.
The gist? One global league with multiple events in renowned equestrian venues around the world—with the chance to qualify for a final championship in October.
The inaugural qualifier of the Longines League of Nations™ 2024 is being held this weekend in Abu Dhabi’s Al Forsan International Sports Resort in the United Arab Emirates (February 8–11). The series will then head to Ocala (USA) in March and St Gallen (SUI) and Rotterdam (NED) in June before concluding with the Final in Barcelona (ESP) in October.
So how does the new format work? Who is competing and what’s at stake?
We’re breaking it all down for you here!
What nations will be fielding teams?
The same 10 teams that will appear at each Longines League of Nations stop this year:
- Great Britain
- The Netherlands
These countries represent the top-10 nations in the Longines Rankings last year based on the combined points of each national federation’s six best athletes—one of which is a U25 rider. In Abu Dhabi, the teams will appear in order of merit. The home UAE team will kick off the series on Sunday, but not compete for points, followed by the 10th ranked team, Brazil, and so on up the list.
Next year, the winner of the 2024 Longines League of Nations championship will automatically earn a berth in the 2025 series lineup.
Why the Nations Cup change-up?
While the goal of the series is still to showcase team show jumping, the FEI is hoping to bring the Longines League of Nations format to a larger audience around the globe.
Created during a six-month consultation by a dedicated task force, this unified, global—and hopefully—sexier series is designed to be simple and streamlined. The same 10 teams, at the same four qualifiers, with only eight moving on to contest the Final. The task force hopes the new series will re-inspire old fans and convert new ones, with everyone following along live at home.
How does rider selection work for each event?
The same way it always has—each chef d’équipe picks his or her own team of horses and riders, which can vary from event to event.
In Abu Dhabi, for instance, the U.S. will field a mixed roster of experienced talent (see: Aaron Vale) and relative newbies on the international scene (Alise Oken, Callie Schott, and Hannah Selleck). (See the full rider list here.)
But the format will be different than the old FEI Jumping Nations Cup.
In the first round, all four riders compete—one rider per team in each rotation—with one drop score. The best eight teams return in the second round and jump the same course, but with just three riders and no drop score (aka, zero margin for error). The winner is determined by the sum of penalties from both rounds.
In case of a draw at the end of the second round, a jump-off with just one rider representing each team will determine the winner.
How do I cheer along at home?
Glad you asked! You can watch the events live on FEI.TV, stay on top of all the news on the Longines League of Nations website, or follow the series on Facebook and Instagram. And of course, right here at Horse Network.