Sue Ockendon and her team of organizers were the driving force behind the recently announced FEI Eventing Nations Cup to be held at the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park in 2020.

The Nations Cup, run at the CCIO4* level, will likely be the only one in North America, and one of less than 10 in the world. A minimum of three teams must be entered in order to validate the event as a Nations Cup, and points are accumulated at each event towards a year-end champion. The last North American fixture for a Nations Cup was in The Plains, VA, in 2018.

The long-time organizer of the Mars Equestrian Bromont CCI-L held in June and the CCI-S held in August, Ockendon has taken on this latest challenge out of a desire to protect the future of eventing in Canada.

“We need to introduce a program to build the America’s. Riders need more competitions at home like the Europeans have access to,” said Ockendon. “The concentration of talent in Europe is directly related to the number of high level events that riders can attend close to home. Our riders need the same opportunities if we are going to grow the sport.”

A worrying shortage of high-level eventers to sustain a team concerns Ockendon, who wants this event to inspire others to compete.

“Not only will riders have the benefit of competing without the cost of travelling, but offering a prestigious event on home turf gives them a bigger profile which helps them attract more sponsors. It also encourages their students, the next generation of team members, and gives them something attainable to aim for.

“We need to build our teams. To do that they need access to competitions where they can learn and grow and be competitive to see a future in eventing – that’s what we are aiming for.”

Fellow committee member and former Canadian team eventer, Peter Gray points out that the event could serve as a valuable platform to qualify for major games.

“Recently, the FEI has filled two team spots for the Tokyo Olympics through points earned at Nations Cup competitions. The value of having access to these types of team competitions will have additional additional benefits to us in the future so we don’t have the added expense of sending riders to Europe to qualify.”

Gray also noted that riders will benefit from the experience of the team atmosphere.

“Nations’ Cup participation, is a great way to teach riders to be part of a team in an otherwise singular sport,” said Gray. “Team building exercises such as the Nations Cups can also provide that extra element of unity and camaraderie which are all essential to produce podium performances. Athletes that feel supported and encouraged are more likely to out-perform another team with less unity.”

The FEI Eventing Nations Cup Bromont will be held August 13-16, 2020.