Lausanne, Switzerland – September 23, 2021 – After a year hiatus, the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League (NAL) is set to kick off its 2021-2022 season at Thunderbird Show Park in Vancouver, British Columbia (CAN), with a fresh look.
While the 2019-2020 NAL was able to complete its season in Ocala, FL (USA), that March, just days before the global pandemic brought the jumping calendar to a temporary halt, it’s been more than 18 months since North America has hosted a World Cup qualifying event.
Naturally, the scene will be a triumphant one in Vancouver, as a competitive group has lined up to get an early start on World Cup qualifying.
A newly implemented NAL calendar will feature just eight CSI4*-W events. The first and only opportunity to earn points in Canada, will be this Sunday 26 September, with the opening qualifier of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ season being hosted in Vancouver. The League will no longer be split into sub-leagues across the east and west coasts of the continent. Instead, a more cohesive calendar will bring athletes across the geographically diverse region between September 2021 and March 2022 as they battle for 14 qualifying places for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Leipzig (GER) in April 2022.
The best seven U.S. athletes from the east coast will punch their tickets, along with three U.S. west coast athletes, two Canadians and two riders from Mexico. Following Vancouver’s opening leg, the NAL will continue to Sacramento, CA (USA) before heading east to Tryon, NC (USA). Lexington, KY (USA), Las Vegas, NV (USA), Fort Worth, TX (USA), Puebla (MEX) and Ocala, FL (USA) complete the North American League lineup for the 2021-2022 season.
Athletes’ four best results from the events will count for points, requiring great strategy and execution.
Known for its horse friendly venue and most welcoming management, Thunderbird Show Park will welcome athletes from five nations for World Cup competition. Former world number one, Kent Farrington (USA) headlines the group. Currently the World’s 13th ranked rider on the Longines Jumping World Rankings, Farrington represented the U.S. in individual competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and was the highest placing American in 2016 at the Rio Olympics. He brings forward the winning machine that is the versatile and quick Austria 2, along with the 8-year-old stallion, Landon.
Among the winningest riders in Vancouver, Conor Swail (IRL) boasts a most exciting string of talented mounts. Rising star Theo 160 won three international events at the venue in August, which surely played a role in Swail’s rise into the world’s top 50. The Irish rider, who splits his time between Calgary (CAN) and Wellington, FL (USA), will bring forward the fresh Vital Chance de la Roque for World Cup competition. The 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding has won three international grand prix events since June, including the CSI4* Grand Prix at Saugerties in late July. In a strategic play by Swail, the bay has not competed since.
Swail’s longtime student, Vanessa Mannix (CAN), will also be a contender. She 32-year-old took a CSI3* Grand Prix victory at Thunderbird at the end of August and currently rides a hot streak with her veteran partner, Catinka 25.
Local favorites Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Brian Morton (CAN) will undoubtedly exploit their hometown advantage to the best of their abilities, while World Equestrian Games veteran Rowan Willis (AUS) and four-time World Cup Final veteran Charlie Jacobs (USA) invade from their U.S. bases.
On Sunday, the long-awaited North American League standings will once again take shape. With two Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final Champions to come out of this league since 2017, it will surely set the tone for a most thrilling season.
Source: Press Release by Catie Staszak for FEI – Féderation Equestrian Internationale
Photo: © FEI / JXB Photography