It’s the marquee event of the spring championship season and this week, the 2024 FEI World Cup™ Final kicks off in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Though it’s location is not without controversy, this year’s event (April 16-20) will feature three days of top-tier show jumping and two days of elite dressage action featuring some of the best horse and rider combinations in the world.

Here’s a look at the likely contenders and few, promising hopefuls that might still surprise.

Who to Watch

Show Jumping

You can’t help but root for the returning champion, World #1 Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) who will attend aboard his 2023 winning partner King Edward. The pair are still in fantastic form and have been knocking on the door for another big win, with second-place finishes at Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Göteborg in February and the Rolex Grand Prix of s-Hertogenbosch in March.

They also have a proven track record in this unique competition format. In 90 rounds at 1.60m, von Eckermann and King Edward average less than 2 faults, according to Jumpr stats, jumping clear a whopping 68% of the time. (That number improves to 81% at 1.65m!)

France’s Julien Epaillard is similarly well positioned with the 11-year-old Selle Français mare Dubai du Cedre. They won the CSI5*-W Grand Prix of Amsterdam in January, and the 1.65m Longines Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix last fall. Though Dubai lacks King Edward’s age and experience, she has a clear round average of 49% in 35 rounds at 1.60m—and if she’s under Epaillard’s saddle, you know she’s fast when she needs to be.

Also in the mix: World #2/Olympic Champion Ben Maher (GBR) with Dallas Vegas Batilly, World #3/Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat (SUI) with Is-Minka, and World #4 Martin Fuchs (SUI) on Commissar Pezi. Though their horses are slightly less seasoned on major stages than von Eckermann and Epaillard’s mounts, all three men have won this event before (Guerdat has three Finals Championship titles on his resume), and no shortage of championship-level experience between them.


Charlotte Fry (GBR) & Everdale at Jumping Mechelen in 2022 © Hippo Foto – Dirk Caremans 29/12/2022

Comprised of 17 horse-and-rider combinations from 12 countries, the World Cup standings for dressage underwent a bit of a shakeup after World #1 and 2022-2023 World Cup Finals Champion Jessica von Bredow-Werndl of Germany announced she would not contest this year’s event. (Like many other athletes in contention this year, von Bredow-Werndl worried about the stress of a lengthy flight on her mare, Dalera, in the lead-up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.)

This week, word also broke that World #2 and five-time World Cup Finals Champion Isabell Werth (GER) would not be competing with long-time partner Emilio 107. Werth and Emilio had the highest average qualifying Freestyle score in the field with 87.41%, which leaves Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry with Everdale as a remaining favorite.

As part of the bronze medal-winning British team at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Fry, 28, is no stranger to top-level competition, and she and Everdale have outperformed Werth and her World Cup understudy mount, DSP Quantaz, in the past. Still, Werth and DSP Quantaz still have the edge on Fry and Everdale when it comes to their average Freestyle score: 85.98% for the German rider compared to Fry’s 85.11%.

And don’t count out Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Touchdown, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding. Kittel trailed Fry in the Western European League standings by only two points, having earned a win at CDIW Herning last fall on a Freestyle score of 84.065%, and third place at CDI-W Amsterdam on a score of 84.905%.

Wild Cards

Show Jumping

Kent Farrington (USA) & Toulayna at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Ocala. ©FEI/Shannon Brinkman

Can you ever call Kent Farrington a wild card? Maybe not. But when it comes to World Cup Finals, he hasn’t seemed to prioritize the event in the last decade. (His highest result at #13 was with Up Chiqui back in 2008).

Still, Farrington is nothing if not a fierce competitor and has the numbers on his side. Of the two, 10-year-old mares he’s attending with—Greya and Toulayna—Toulayna has the edge according to Jumpr, boasting an average of 1.5 faults and a 64% clear round rate in 11 rounds at 1.60m.

One more for our money: Olympic team gold medalist Peder Fredricson (SWE) who will saddle the 18-year-old (yes, you read that right) Swedish warmblood gelding H&M Catch Me Not S. The pair earned a podium finish in this same event in 2019, and individual gold at the FEI Nations Cup™ Final in 2018.

Though Fredricson has clearly used the gelding carefully this season due to his age, Catch Me Not S has earned top-10 placings in three out of the six CSI5* classes he’s contested so far this year.


Nanna Skodborg Merrald (DEN) is not exactly a long shot, having earned multiple top-five finishes at FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals in 2022 and 2023. But this will be the first appearance for Skodborg Merrald aboard the 16-year-old KWPN stallion Blue Hors Don Olymbrio. The pair earned second place on a score of 82.965% at CDI-W Stuttgart, and fourth on 84.030% at CDI-W Amsterdam.

Finally, Matthias Alexander Rath of Germany will bring forward Destacado FRH, an 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion he’s produced since his 5-year-old year. Situated in fourth place in the Western European League standings, Rath and Destacado have broken the 80% Freestyle mark on two occasions in qualifiers already this year. Rath, himself, hasn’t competed a Final since 2010.

Rookies to Watch

Show Jumping

Jeanne Sadran of France will make her first FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals appearance this year at just 22 years old—but don’t count her out. Sadran has been cutting her teeth in the pressure-cooker Global Champions League (GCL), where she’s been a regular since 2021.

In February, she took second place at CSI5*-W Bordeaux with Finals mount Dexter De Kerglenn, an 11-year-old Selle Français stallion. In their 22 rounds together at 1.60m, the pair average 3.1 faults and jump clear 36% of the time (Jumpr App).


Flore de Winne (BEL) & Flynn FRH at CDI-W Mechelen 2023 © Hippo Foto Media – Dirk Caremans 29/12/2023

This is also the first Finals appearance for Belgium’s Flore de Winne, 29, who has only been competing at the Grand Prix level for two seasons. Aboard the 10-year-old Hanoverian stallion Flynn FRH, de Winne became the first Belgian rider to score above 80% at CDI-W Mechelen in December of last year—a feat she repeated at CDI-W Amsterdam in January.

Sitting in 10th place in the Western European League standings, de Winne also helped Team Belgium to their first direct Olympic dressage qualification in 100 years at the 2023 European Championships in Riesenbeck.

How to Watch

The 2024 FEI World Cup™ Final will begin with warm-up and training sessions on Tuesday, April 16th and will progress as follows:

The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final

  • Wednesday, April 17 – Final I at 7:00 p.m. GMT+3/12:00 p.m. ET
  • Thursday, April 18 – Final II at 6:50 p.m. GMT+3/11:50 a.m. ET
  • Saturday, April 20 – Final III at 5:30 p.m. GMT+3/10:30 a.m. ET

The FEI Dressage World Cup Final

  • Wednesday, April 17 – Grand Prix at 1:15 p.m. GMT+3/6:15 a.m. ET
  • Friday, April 19 – Grand Prix Freestyle at 5:15 p.m. GMT+3/10:15 a.m. ET.

Tune in live on FEI.TV!