All eyes will be on North America for the 2022-2023 World Cup season. The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final is set to return to Omaha (USA) in April 2023, and the first points toward qualification will be available at the North American League’s leadoff event, set for Saturday, 08 October in Sacramento (USA).
The Murieta Equestrian Center, known for the enthusiastic crowds that pack its stands to the rafters, will play host to the first of eight events in the NAL season, which has produced two World Cup Final champions in the last five years. The NAL will weave in all directions across the United States, Canada and Mexico, with four events each on the west and east coasts of the geographically diverse continent. A total of 14 qualifying places are available, 10 of which will be awarded to U.S. athletes (seven east coast U.S. riders and three west coast-based U.S. riders); four additional berths will be awarded to the top two performing Canadian and Mexican athletes.
Sacramento will feature its defending champion. Now ranked among the top five riders in the World, Conor Swail (IRL) led the NAL from start to finish in the 2021-2022 qualifying season, winning events in Vancouver (CAN), Sacramento and Fort Worth, ultimately finishing eighth in Leipzig (GER) at the Finals.
Swail’s winning mount in Sacramento was Vital Chance de la Roque, and the exuberant, barefoot Selle Francais gelding will return this year looking to defend his rider’s title. Last year’s third-place finisher Natalie Dean (USA) will also be back in the lineup with her sensational mare, Chance Ste Hermelle. Dean, 23, will have her eyes set on competing in her first senior championship in Omaha. Swail’s longtime student Vanessa Mannix (CAN) will be a leading contender for Canada, while Mexico will have to wait to accrue its first points, with no athletes entered in the NAL kickoff.
Following Sacramento’s opening leg, the NAL will continue to Upper Marlboro, MD (USA) and Lexington, KY (USA). Toronto, Ontario (CAN) will return to the NAL calendar after two years of cancellations due to the global pandemic, and the Royal Horse Show promises to be a special event as it celebrates its centennial. Las Vegas, NV (USA), Fort Worth, TX (USA), Puebla (MEX) and Ocala, FL (USA) will complete the 2022-2023 North American League season.
Athletes’ four best results from NAL events will count for points, requiring great strategy and execution. Those plans will be put forth into action in just a few days’ time.