Last weekend’s tenth and final leg of the North American League at Del Mar in California (USA) brought the 2023/2024 FEI Dressage World Cup™ qualifying season to a close.

A total of four Leagues took place over the last twelve months across Western Europe, Central Europe, North America and the Pacific with athletes battling for a place at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2024 which kicks off in Riyadh (KSA) in just over two weeks’ time.


The three-leg Pacific League consisted of a CDI-W in Werribee (AUS) in March and A CDI-W (M) in Boneo (AUS) in October last year followed by the League Final in Cambridge (NZL) in November.

Pauline Carnovale and Captain Cooks won the Grand Prix at Werribee but the pair had to settle for third in the Freestyle won by Australian compatriot Jessica Dertell and Syriana while Michaelle Baker and Bradgate Park Puccini were runners-up here.

At Boneo, New Zealand’s Mellissa Galloway and Windermere J’Obei W pinned legendary Australian Mary Hanna into second place with Ivanhoe in the Grand Prix while Dertell finished third. And in the Freestyle Galloway and Hanna claimed the same two spots while Australia’s David McKinnon and Forlan finished third.

In this League, which has a particular set of rules, only the winner of the League Final can earn a place at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final and at the last leg which took place at the Takapoto Estate in Cambridge, New Zealand it was a two-way tussle between the host nation’s Melissa Galloway and Wendi Williamson partnering Don Vito MH.

With clear wins in both the Grand Prix and Freestyle it was 31-year-old Galloway, who has been based in Europe at the van Olst stables in The Netherlands for the last few years, who earned the coveted ticket to Riyadh. With Windermere J’Obei W she finished eighth at the final leg of the Western European League in ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) two weeks ago with another in a series of personal-best scores.

Central Europe

The 11-leg Central European League began in Olomouc (CZE) in May 2023 and concluded at Motesice (SVK) earlier this month, and the two qualification places up for grabs went to Moldova’s Alisa Glinka and Lithuania’s Justina Vanagaite who finished on level pegging with 80 points apiece.

Vanagaite was first out of the starting blocks with victory in Olomouc riding Nabab, pinning Austria’s Diana Porsche and Douglas into second place. In Mariakalnok (HUN) a few weeks later it was Glinka who grabbed maximum points with Abercrombie ahead of another Austrian, Katharina Haas riding Damon’s Dejaron and then Vanagaite came out on top again at leg three in Pamu (EST) where Finland’s Ville Vaurio and Fairplay came second.

At the next round in Lipica (SLO) it was third-placed Grete Ayache from Estonia who took the maximum points, and at Brno (CZE) last June Glinka added more points to her tally when finishing sixth. Then it was on to Pilisjaszfalu (HUN) where Ayache’s second-place finish boosted her tally even further while at Samorin (SVK) Vanagaite was back in pole position again before finishing third, ahead of Glinka in fourth, at round eight in Wierzbna Bialy Las (POL).

Glinka and Ayache both added to their running points tallies at Wroclaw (POL) in October where the best CEL competitor was Hungary’s Benedek Pachl who finished tenth with Donna Friderika and then Glinka added her last points at the penultimate leg of this League in Motesice (SVK) in November.

That left her untouchable in the joint lead with Vanagaite on the League table, so at the final leg at the same Slovakian venue earlier this month the top CEL results were posted by second-placed Susanne Krohn and Titolas and Polish compatriot Zaneta Skowronska-Kozubik who finished third with Love Me.

In the final League standings Ayache finished a strong third with 74 points.

North America

All of the North American League venues were in the USA and the three qualifying places from this series went to America’s Benjamin Ebeling, Kevin Kohmann and Anna Marek.

The action began in Devon last September where Ebeling posted the first of the three wins that would leave him in pole position. At the following leg in Myakka City in Florida in October he made it a back-to-back double with the 16-year-old mare Indeed, pipping fellow-countryman Kohmann riding Duenensee.

In a two-way contest at Thermal in California in November it was five-time Olympian Steffen Peters who reigned supreme with Suppenkasper ahead of fellow-American Tina Caldwell riding Lagerfeld K, and at round four in Ocala, Florida in December it was Kohmann who claimed maximum points ahead of compatriots Jennifer William (Joppe K) and Anna Marek (Fayvel) in second and third.

It was back to Thermal for the next two legs where just two contested round five and second-placed American Patty Mayer and Pio picked up points in mid-December. Ebeling and Indeed were the sole campaigners at round six at the same venue, but ten horse-and-rider combinations lined out in Wellington, Florida in January where Marek and Kohmann added to their points tallies when finished second and third.

The next two legs also took place in Wellington, Marek pinning Kohmann into second and Susan Dutta partnering Don Design DC into third in early February before Kohmann came out on top at the penultimate leg while Dutta finished second.

Just two US riders contested the final qualifier at Del Mar last weekend where Anna Buffini and the triple Young Horse champion Fiontini pinned Laura de Cesari and Rossi into runner-up spot.

(See final North American League standings here.)

Western Europe

Five-time FEI Dressage World Cup™ titleholder, Germany’s Isabell Werth, claimed pole position in the Western European League with victory in the last round of the 11-leg series at ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) two weeks ago. Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry finished second and long-time leader Patrik Kittel from Sweden finished third in the League standings.

Kittel kicked off with maximum cross-over points from his win in the CEL leg in Budapest (HUN) in September and then cemented his strong position when coming out on top at the first WEL leg in Herning (DEN) in October, quickly followed by fourth place at Lyon (FRA) and third in Stuttgart (GER). Third again in Amsterdam (NED) in January and second in Neumunster (GER) the following month he counted his best four finishes to complete with a total of 72 points.

Fry only competed in four events with her World Championship team bronze-medal-winning ride Everdale and posted a double of wins and two second placings. In London (GBR) in December she was pipped by fellow-Briton Charlotte Dujardin and Imhotep but she had it all her own way in Mechelen (BEL) two weeks later. The Dutch-based rider then came out on top at Amsterdam (NED) in January but had to settle for runner-up spot behind Werth at the last leg in the series in Den Bosch, finishing on a total of 74 points,

That last-leg victory gave Werth the League victory as she amassed 77 points having also won in Stuttgart (GER) in November and Basel (SUI) in January, And it was a reversal in fortunes in Den Bosch when Fry, who had pipped her in Amsterdam, had to settle for runner-up spot this time out.

The remaining top-ten in the final WEL standings were Matthias Alexander Rath (GER), Nanna Skodborg Merrald (DEN), Morgan Barbancon (FRA), Raphael Netz (GER), Emmelie Scholtens (NED), Borja Carrascoas (ESP) and Flore de Winne (BEL) who finished in that order.

Check out all FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2023/2024 Leagues here.

Check out the final list of entries for the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2024 in Riyadh (KSA) here.