Objective: Paris 2018 — Longines FEI World Cup Jumping season kicks off this weekend in Oslo
And they’re off! This weekend, many of the world’s best Show Jumpers are in Oslo, Norway for the launch of the 40th-anniversary Longines FEI World Cup Jumping season. The elite horse-and-rider combinations present in the Norwegian capital are looking to get a great start to their qualifying campaigns for the World Cup Final next April in Paris.
Indeed, this weekend’s series opener in Scandinavia is the first show of the Western European qualifying League, which has 18 spots up for grabs in the Final (the most out of all the different regions around the world). Over the next five months, the League will wind its way across Western Europe, with 13 stops in 10 countries. A rider’s seven best results count for the individual standings.
At the same time, other Show Jumping qualifying leagues are revving up across the planet, including in Eastern and Western North America. At the 2017 Final, World No.2 Mclain Ward of the United States came out of that region to capture his long-awaited World Cup title with HH Azur on home soil in Omaha, Nebraska.
In fact, as the FEI notes, with the World Cup Jumping series entering its 40th year of competition, Americans and Germans are tied with 10 victories each. Europe will thus be hoping to take the lead in 2018, and there are numerous possible title contenders in the world-class field at the Oslo Horse Show this week.
Among the athletes at the series opener are Niels Bruynseels and Gregory Wathelet of Belgium, Kevin Staut and Simon Delestre of France, Daniel Deusser, Marco Kutscher and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum of Germany, Lorenzo de Luca and Alberto Zorzi of Italy, Steve Guerdat of Switzerland, Maikel Van der Vleuten of the Netherlands and Peder Fredricson from neighbouring Sweden.
For its part, Great Britain will be represented by William Funnell and Robert and Michael Whitaker, while Bertram Allen, Shane Breen and Mark McAuley will be in Oslo for Ireland. Edwina Tops-Alexander of Australia is also set to take the next step in her return to the top level of her sport after a competition break.