The Great Meadow International will change dates in 2019 and will no longer host an FEI Nations Cup.
The event began in 2015 and has hosted the Nations Cup since 2016 on the first weekend of July at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia.
The 2019 event will be held Aug. 22-25 and will feature a CCI**-S, CCI***-S and CCI****-S (new designations equivalent to a CIC*, CIC** and CIC***).
“Getting a brand new event on the calendar is not the easiest thing, and that’s why the first weekend of July ended up becoming the date,” said David O’Connor, who is part of the organizing committee. “When Richland [Park (Michigan)] decided not to run their event anymore that date became available, and that’s why we felt like this [date] supports the athletes in the autumn season preparing for going to Europe or going to Fair Hill [Maryland] or getting ready for Ocala [Florida] or the Virginia two-star. Since we have the ability to control the footing because of the water system we have there, that August date will support the autumn season better than what July did.”
In the three years the Nations Cup was held, only the U.S., Canada and Great Britain fielded teams.
“We had a hard time getting European countries interested in coming over,” said O’Connor. “We flew them over, and that’s expensive, but still we could only get the three countries. With a philosophy looking at it from the FEI’s point of view and looking at it from our point of view, we really felt like it didn’t fit into the overall schedule as much. It’s too bad because it’s obviously a great way to practice team competition, but you’ve got to realistically have more than three teams that are going to go there all the time. A lot of the Nations Cups in Europe are six and seven teams.”
O’Connor said the FEI is open to hosting another Nations Cup outside of Europe, and he hoped in the future that U.S.-based eventers could field more teams with ex-pats from countries like Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.
Adding the lower levels to the event will help support the feature CCI****-S class and allow more riders to ride at Great Meadow, which has a long history of eventing.
“It’s a fabulous facility that we’re all very excited about,” O’Connor said.