This weekend marks the double kick-off for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2018 series. The first event has already taken place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Saturday, February 17th, resulting in an impressive win for New Zealand.
Next up, the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America in Ocala, Florida, USA on Sunday, February 18th.
As this series launches into another thrilling season, let’s take a moment to demystify one of the world’s biggest and most historic team jumping series and explain (or remind you) why it’s a must-watch.
- It’s a team competition in an individual sport. The team format is unique for riders that are used to competing against each other at regular shows, and it mirrors other major championships (ahem, Olympics). Four riders per nation compete against each other over courses up to 1.60m (that’s over five feet, Americans) in a set amount of time. Whichever team has the least number of penalties after two rounds, wins.
- Teams are competing for national pride. Not only are the riders and horses some of the best that hail from their respective countries, but the competition is especially fierce as each rider competes for his or her flag. Fans can root for their country of choice, too, whether it’s Team Canada, Team Ireland, Team Edward (Okay, sorry – that’s just a bad Twilight reference)
- The series spans across the globe and has been in action for over a century. The 13 qualifiers take place on three different continents, and the series has been in action for over a century! This year marks its 109th
- It’s a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Even if you can’t attend an event, they are broadcast live on FEI TV. Almost all of the events take place on Sunday afternoon, so it’s a perfect way to ignore your impending Case of the Mondays.
- The Finale is seriously amazing to watch. After accumulating points all year in the 13 qualifying competitions, 18 teams will make it to the Finale. Each team is allowed to bring five riders, with two horses per rider. This year’s Finale takes place in Barcelona in October. Sounds like a good excuse to play hooky from work and book it to Spain.
- Be sure to tune in to watch the kick-off competition in Ocala this weekend on FEI TV, beginning at 12:40 p.m. EST. And, keep an eye on the NF social channels, as we’ll be on the ground bringing you the action!Still unclear on how this all works? Check out the FEI fan site, and this video that explains the rules of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™: