Eighteen nations will go head-to-head at the Furusiyya Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, Spain, this weekend, Sept. 26-29. It’s the debut Final since the reorganization of the senior Nations Cup program this season, and it's an interesting one because one of the most dominant nations in show jumping—Germany—didn't qualify.
In the previous program, eight teams went head-to-head at competitions across Europe, culminating in a Final. The reorganization means that many nations competed at CSIOs around the world to vie an invitation based on their performance in their home league. Team USA earned their spot by winning the North American League.
Besides national honor, there’s a huge amount of money at stake. After the first round on Friday, Sept. 27, the top eight teams will advance to Sunday’s Final with €1,500,000 awarded. The remaining 10 teams will compete in a consolation round on Saturday for €300,000. On top of that, riders who score fault-free efforts on Friday and Sunday will all split another €200,000 pot. All in all, it works out to about $2,700,000 up for grabs in the Nations Cup alone.
A last-minute change means U.S. Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland will be sending a pair of double Olympic Games gold medalists along with three younger competitors.
McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, Reed Kessler, Lucy Davis and Katie Dinan will represent the United States. The horses have yet to be finalized.
Laura Kraut was originally set to compete on Cedric. That pair has been a dominant force on the Longines Global Champions Tour, and they lead the series standing heading into the November’s Final in Doha, Qatar. But she and Cedric had a miscommunication in Round 2 of the GCT Lausanne Grand Prix that resulted in a stop and a fall for Kraut. Cedric is currently out with an injury, so Dinan stepped in.
Madden, the reining FEI World Cup champion, is optimistic about the U.S. team’s chances.
“We have some veterans and young people, and real talent, and it’s exciting,” said Madden. “Like any other team we have to put it all together on a given day but I think we have a great shot.
“We were disappointed in our Olympic Games in London and we’re on the upswing now,” she continued. “We had a change of coach, nothing against George, he was fantastic, but a new face was a little bit of an uplift of everyone.”
Sixteen other teams earned spots at the Final, and the host nation, Spain, will also compete. Egypt, which earned an invitation out of the African League, declined the invitation to attend.
Horses have yet to be finalized, but the following riders will compete in the Nations Cup:
•William James Passy
Austria, Chef d’Equipe Thomas Instinger
Belgium, Chef d’Equipe Kurt Gravemeier
Brazil, Chef d’Equipe Jean Maurice Bonneau
•Álvaro Affonso de Miranda Neto
•Marlon Modolo Zanotelli
Colombia, Chef d’Equipe Mauricio Ruiz
•Roberto Teran Tafur
France, Chef d’Equipe Philippe Guerdat
•Aymeric De Ponnat
Great Britain, Chef d’Equipe Rob Hoekstra
•Ben Maher on Tripple X
•Scott Brash on Hello Sanctos
•Michael Whitaker on Viking V
•William Funnell on Billy Congo
•Louise Saywell on Hello Winner
Ireland, Chef d’Equipe Robert Splaine
Japan, Chef d’Equipe Hirokazu Higashira
The Netherlands, Chef d’Equipe Rob Ehrens
•Maikel van der Vleuten
Qatar, Chef d’Equipe Jan Tops
•Sheikh Ali bin Khalid Al Thani
•Ali Bin Yousef Al Rumaihi
•Mubarak Yousef Rumaihi
•Bassem Hassan Mohammed
Saudi Arabia, Chef d’Equipe Rogier van Iersel
•Ramzy Hamad Al Duhami
•Prince Faisal Al Shalan
•Kamal Abdullah Bahamdan
•HH Prince Abdullah bin Miteb al Saud
Spain, Chef d’Equipe Marco Fuste
•Sergio Álvarez Moya
•Julio Arias Cueva
•Pilar Cordón Muro
•Paola Amilibia Puig
•Carlos López Fanjul
Sweden, Chef d’Equipe Sylve Söderstrand
Switzerland, Chef d’Equipe Urs Grünig
Ukraine, Chef d’Equipe Chami Najib
For ongoing coverage of the Furusiyya Nations Cup Final and CSIO Barcelona, check back at chronofhorse.com, and look for a detailed report and analysis in the Oct. 14 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse.