With the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals back on home turf in Las Vegas, Nevada, next spring, the top show jumpers in the world are already setting their sights on trying to qualify for the prestigious championship.
Garnering much-needed points during the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League, which features 14 events across North America, is crucial for athletes hoping to attend the Finals. Every World Cup Qualifying class is important, and this season is shaping up to be exciting as we count down the minutes until the league's lead-off event--Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver CSI4*-W at the Thunderbird Show Park.
Thunderbird Show Park, or “TBird,” is in Langley, about 40 miles from Vancouver, British Columbia. Sprawling over 88 acres of former farmland, the venue was built by the Tidball family, which includes international jumper riders: ‘80s Canadian Olympian Laura Tidball-Balisky, and her daughter Laura-Jane Tidball, a successful Grand Prix rider in her own right, and who plans to compete her Concetto Son in the NAL class this week.
The pinnacle event at the state-of-the-art equestrian facility kicks off on Sunday afternoon at 2PM PT, and features some of the world's most successful riders. As of Tuesday afternoon, 70 riders from 14 different countries are slated for the class. Check out the some of the stars of the line-up and tune-in to watch the action live on FEITV.org:
Past Champions & Fan Favorites
Last year's winner Uma O'Neill of New Zealand will be hoping to defend her title on one of three of her horses, including her reigning champion Clockwise of Greenhill Z. Riders can hope to qualify for the World Cup class on numerous horses, but must only choose one horse for Sunday's competition.
Ireland's Conor Swail won the class in 2017 and will be back again for another crack at the title.
Beezie Madden, currently ranked as the top rider in the ROLEX/USEF Show Jumping Ranking list after a podium finish at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games, is planning to compete one of her two top mounts, Darry Lou or Coach.
Beezie's Pan Am teammate, Eve Jobs, is also slated to attend. Other familiar names from the West Coast circuit include Jamie Barge, Rich Fellers and Richard Spooner--all of whom have been active competitors in the NAL competitions over the past few years.
Riders On a Winning Streak
Zazou Hoffman and Samson II won the CSI3* $100,000 Atco Cup 1.50m last Sunday and will be back again this weekend for the World Cup class.
After a successful European tour this summer, Ashlee Bond returned home to North America and has been on a fierce winning streak ever since. The California-based rider who represents Israel has picked up several impressive wins with her talented string over the past week at Thunderbird and now she's gearing up for round two, with her sights set firmly on Saturday's World Cup qualifier.
Karl Cook, a frequent contender in the NAL series, also had good luck so far at Thunderbird, picking up a win last week in the $10,000 CSI3* Tbird Winning Round 1.40m with E'special PS. The 10-year-old mare is one of three that Karl hopes to bring to the World Cup class.
- 14 nations are represented (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, the U.S. and Venezuela).
- Top international riders include: Harrie Smolders (NED), Karen Polle (Japan), Patricio Pasquel (MEX), Daniel Coyle (Ireland) and Rowan Willis (Australia).
- If you can't watch the event in person, you can check out a lot of the big classes on Tbird TV. Check out the full week's schedule here.
- Here's where you can find the orders of go, class list and results.
- Looking to visit the show grounds? Here's everything you need to know!
Buy your tickets for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Qualifier on August 25 here: https://tbird.ca/tickets/ - they start at just $5!
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.