Swiss watchmaker Longines has partnered with the FEI to launch the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League, a new series of 14 events that will provide an improved qualifying experience for the sport’s horses, riders, organizers and spectators in the United States, Canada and Mexico. At the series’ end, a hard-fought battle will qualify seven US athletes from the qualifiers on the East Coast, three US athletes from the West Coast, and two Canadian and two Mexican athletes for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Gothenburg, SWE, on March 23-28, 2016.
The 14 qualifiers in the series are spread out equally on both coasts. A large number of bids was narrowed down into a long list of 25 applicants before the final line-up of show grounds were selected to host the qualifier classes. “A large number of bids for the 14 shows gave us the chance to impose extremely high standards for the North American League,” said John Madden, FEI first vice-president and chair of the FEI Jumping Committee. “It’s a great incentive for the organizers to not be satisfied with the bare minimums, but to have the ultimate competitive atmosphere in this new league.”
The new North American series, with predetermined standards and FEI rules, has required organizers to agree to contractual obligations to meet every aspect of the hosting agreement.
Canadian Venues Host Qualifiers
The journey embarks on August 9th on the East Coast at the Bromont Equestrian Park in Quebec and on August 16th on the West Coast at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC.
Bromont Equestrian Park hosted the equestrian sports during the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games. Since then, the Equestrian Park has maintained its prestige through meticulous upkeep and hosting annual, international-level events. “We are honored to host the first World Cup qualifier for the East Coast,” said Roger Deslauriers, manager of Bromont Equestrian Park, which will also be the site of the 2018 World Equestrian Games. “We have prepared very seriously for the event, and have redone the footing in the competition arenas and in the training rings. Last weekend, we had a Grand Prix with 8,000 spectators, and if the weather is nice, next weekend should be even better.”
Thunderbird Show Park is one of North America’s premier equestrian facilities, hosting approximately six major jumping tournaments per year. A family-owned and run operation, Thunderbird Show Park is committed to continuing its ongoing promise of providing the highest quality facility for the sport. “It is our honor to host the first event of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping North American League,” said Chris Pack, Thunderbird Show Park’s vice-president of operations and tournament manager. “Thunderbird has been welcoming competitors to our grounds for more than four decades, and we expect this will be our best week yet.”
Young guns and veterans at Bromont
Fresh off a team gold win at the Pan American Games in Toronto in July, the Canadian riders may once again cash in on their home turf advantage. Canadian Olympic riders Jill Henselwood and Mac Cone, both a part of the team silver effort at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, will compete at Bromont. They will be joined by eight fellow Canadians, including Jaclyn Duff of Edmonton, Alberta, who won the Jump Canada Talent Squad Final in 2012, earning herself a regular position on the Canadian team for international competitions. She scored her first FEI victory at the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in 2014.
Nine athletes from the US will also compete at Bromont. Katherine “Katie” Dinan, who is just 22 years old, won individual gold at the FEI North American Young Rider Championship 2011, before helping the US team win the Aga Khan Trophy during the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping™ 2014 at the Dublin Horse Show. Dinan is based out of Wellington, Fla., and is expected to graduate from Harvard University next year. She has already made appearances at the two most recent FEI World Cup™ Finals, finishing overall 14th in 2014.
Quentin Judge is a professional rider at Double H Farm, with operations based in Ridgefield, Conn. and Wellington, FL. Judge’s first FEI-level victory was in the $50,000 Husky Energy Cup at the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament in 2013. He has also represented the US at Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping™ competitions, helping the team to multiple gold medal wins.
Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League
Bromont, QC (CAN) 09.08.2015 2.30pm ET
New York, North Salem (USA) 13.09.2015 2.00pm ET
Washington, DC (USA) 24.10.2015 9.00pm ET
Lexington, KY (USA) 01.11.2015 2.00pm ET
Toronto, ON (CAN) 11.11.2015 9.15pm ET
Wellington, FL (USA) 07.02.2016 12.00pm ET
Ocala, FL (USA) 27.02.2016 1.00pm ET
Langley, BC (CAN) 16.08.2015 2.00pm PT
Rancho Murieta, CA (USA) 26.09.2015 7.00pm PT
Del Mar, CA (USA) 17.10.2015 7.00pm PT
Calgary, AB (CAN) 31.10.2015 7.30pm MT
Las Vegas, NV (USA) 14.11.2015 8.00pm PT
Valle de Bravo (MEX) 23.01.2016 2.00pm CDT
Thermal, CA (USA) 13.02.2016 6.00 PT
Live FEI TV action
Tune in to live action at all of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League qualifiers on FEI TV at www.feitv.org
Competitions leading up to the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League qualifiers that are being staged at the venues of this brand-new league will be livestreamed on the FEI’s YouTube channel. Go to www.youtube.com/user/feichannel to see full details on the livestream.