Some of eventing’s big names are in Fontainebleau in France for this weekend’s opening event of the FEI Nations Cup Eventing series.
Up to 10 nations will field teams for the competition, and will include Olympic and European champion Michael Jung (GER), World champion Sandra Auffarth (GER), the host nation’s former European champions Nicolas Touzaint (FRA) and Jean-Lou Bigot (FRA), alongside Christopher Burton, a key member of the prominent Australian squad last year, and World team bronze medalist Tim Lips (NED).
Great Britain, firm supporters of the FEI Nations Cup Eventing since its inception in 2012, and the leading nation last year, brings another strong group including Boekelo winner Nicola Wilson, plus fellow European squad members Izzy Taylor, Laura Collett and Gemma Tattersall. Ireland has also entered a strong squad, which includes all four members of the team that produced a stunning performance to win the final event at Boekelo last year, and Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden will field teams.
There are eight legs at CIC3* level in this year’s FEI Nations Cup Eventing, including a brand new addition in the USA at The Plains, Virginia in July.
This event will also serve as one of the final trials for the US Olympic Eventing team and other nations with just a month to go to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the first Games to be held in South America.
The FEI Nations Cup Eventing was designed to help national coaches give valuable team experience to up-and-coming riders. Last year, 15 nations contested the series which culminated in a thrilling finale at Boekelo.
The series is open to all nations fielding one team composed of 3 or 4 riders at each leg, and runs under FEI Eventing rules at CICO and CCIO 3* level, with athletes accumulating points under a dedicated system.
This year, the series will be of particular value in view of the forthcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and the athletes will be able to get a flavour of the Olympic Cross-Country Course Designer’s style as Pierre Michelet (FRA) is also officiating at Fontainebleau this weekend.
“The FEI Nations Cup Eventing continues to go from strength to strength as national coaches realise how useful it is for evaluating and preparing riders for championships,” said Catrin Norinder, FEI Director, Olympic & Eventing.
“As it is an Olympic year, I would expect the series to be even better supported and more competitive. We are in for a really exciting season.”
FEI Nations Cup Eventing 2016 calendar
1 Fontainebleau (FRA) 23-25 March
2 Ballindenisk (IRL) 22-24 April
3 Houghton Hall (GBR) 26-29 May
4 Strzegom (POL) 24-26 June
5 The Plains (USA) 8-10 July
6 Aachen (GER) 14-16 July
7 Vairano (ITA) 16-18 September
8 Waregem (BEL) 22-25 September
9 Boekelo (NED) 6-9 October