The FEI Nations Cup series is equestrian sport’s oldest international team challenge, held since 1909 and coming under the FEI banner in 1930. Traditionally, at all FEI Jumping Nations Cup qualifying events the competition is run over two rounds, using identical courses, in a Table A format against the clock.

Recently, some organizing committees have expressed a desire to change the Nations Cup format by reducing it to a single round ‒ mainly for economic reasons related to the costs of running many consecutive hours of competition and the associated media coverage. Some shows are also finding it difficult to attract top riders for their Nations Cup classes because of the big-money rival leagues run by the GCT and others.

Following a decision by the FEI to keep the two-round Nations Cup format for 2023, the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) released the following statement:

On this subject the IJRC wishes to list a number of aspects that emphasise the sporting and historical importance of this class that is traditionally held over two rounds.


1 – The Nations Cup is the oldest and most prestigious class in equestrian sports. Teams from nations all over the world compete for one of the most sought-after wins in Olympic disciplines.

2 – Athletes represent their countries, they wear their colours, they are a symbol of its sporting importance.

3 – The Nations Cup is always the highlight of every event and dominates the whole day. Riders and spectators share the excitement from start to finish.

4 – Reducing the Nations Cup to one single round would mean depriving it of its sporting value because:

  • The Nations Cup’s philosophy is consistency in horse and rider performance, who must prove their teamwork and freshness over longer courses involving two rounds.
  • The second round allows the team to: confirm its performance, improve it or create an opportunity for redemption. All this is an incentive for riders and an attraction for the public.
  • Having two rounds makes the Nations Cup the expression of a country’s sporting importance. It is an opportunity for growth for horse and rider combinations that, according to their results in round one, can correct their mistakes or change their strategy in the second one.
  • Winning a Nations Cup in fact never occurs by chance or luck, it represents a nation’s background.

5 – It is the most coveted and important competition in an athlete’s sporting career. This is underlined by the fact that riders agreed to the formation of 3-combination teams at the Olympics, being assured that the Nations Cup formula would not be affected.

In conclusion

It is legitimate to state that thanks to its traditional two round format, it is on the basis of Nations Cups that each country creates the foundations for achieving more important goals and the greatest sporting gratifications. It is therefore felt that the formula should not be changed and joint solutions should be found in order to support the organising committees. The good news is that the FEI has confirmed the traditional two-round format for the year 2023!