This season's Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League is well underway and the next stop on the prestigious series is in Sacramento, California. With just seven events each on the East and West Coasts to gain qualifying points for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final, each of these classes are vital for the top riders aiming for the Final next spring.
Riders from thirteen different nations are planning to compete in the show's pinnacle class, the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Sacramento Presented by Sky Partners, which kicks off at 7:25PM PT on Saturday evening.
Some of the top U.S. contenders include frequent names on the NAL circuit, such as Karl Cook, Rich Fellers, Mandy Porter, Zazou Hoffman and Will Simpson. Hoffman, who was victorious in last year's NAL class in Del Mar, is the only competitor who has won any of the series classes in the past two seasons.
Top international riders include California-based Ashlee Bond, who represents Israel and Ireland's Conor Swail. Both athletes have been at the top of their game this season, picking up great results at notable venues like Spruce Meadows and Thunderbird.
Though the qualifying period for the 2020 World Cup™ Jumping Final still has many more months left, a few riders slated to compete this week have already picked up valuable points on the leaderboard. After a second-place finish at last month's American Gold Cup (the first East Coast NAL event) Cook is currently tied for the lead with 17 points. Top-ten finishes in the World Cup qualifier class at Thunderbird in August left Bond in 5th with 11 points, while Hoffman is just behind with 10 points.
A limited number of athletes from each of the 16 international leagues are invited to attend the Final, based on their qualifications throughout the season at the designated events--14 riders from the NAL league will receive qualifying tickets for the Final. Seven riders from the East Coast sub-league will qualify, three from the West Coast sub-league, and two each from Canada and Mexico.
Athletes use a strategic approach to gather FEI World Cup™ points as the league's format counts the top four scores out of a possible seven results, allowing the riders to choose the venues and schedules which are best suited to their horses. Riders may bring multiple horses to the shows to try and qualify for each weekend's prestigious class, though only one horse per athlete is allowed to compete in the actual FEI World Cup™ qualifier class.
How to Watch
Tickets are now available to purchase online for Saturday's World Cup class. Purchase tickets here.
If you can't make it in person to cheer on your favorite riders, you can still follow along with the all the action during the show. Most classes will be broadcast on the webcast here. Saturday night's World Cup class will be shown live on the subscription-based FEITV.
About the Sacramento International Horse Show
The Sacramento International Horse Show is one of northern California’s premiere equestrian events in Rancho Murieta, California, just outside of Sacramento, California. Held at the Murieta Equestrian Center, this gorgeous facility features wonderful shopping, dining, seating to accommodate 3,000 spectators.
About the NAL
The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League, now in its fifth year, consists of 14 venues in three countries - the United States, Mexico and Canada. Each venue hosts qualifiers to determine the North American riders who will compete at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final (April 15-19) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The NAL, which offers $2.4 million in prize money, is one of 16 leagues that form the global FEI World Cup™ Jumping series, which has been in existence since 1978. Follow Practical Horseman's coverage of the NAL series on social media with the hashtags: #FEIWorldCup #JumpToGreatness #Longines.