The Longines FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final kicks off in Paris on April 12, and we’ve compiled all that you need to know before the first horse jumps.
When: The competition runs over three days, and you can find details about how it’s scored below:
• Thursday, April 12, 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. EDT)– Round 1—the speed format
• Friday, April 13, 8:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. EDT) – Round 2—the grand prix format
• Sunday, April 15, 2 p.m. (8 a.m. EDT) – Round 3—two-round format
How To Follow Along: The Chronicle will have photo galleries, stories about each day’s competition, and so much more on www.coth.com. Don’t miss a thing—we’ll have everything you need to know. Also make sure to follow along on the Chronicle’s social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Who’s Hot To Win? The U.S. contingent for the Final is headlined by defending champions McLain Ward and his superstar HH Azur. There will be four other previous title winners hoping to add another win to their résumés: American Beezie Madden, German Daniel Deusser, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Germany’s Marcus Ehning.
World No. 1, American Kent Farrington is out of the saddle due to a broken leg, but right behind him in the rankings is Dutch rider Harrie Smolders with two mounts Emerald and Zinius. French rider Kevin Staut, who is ranked No. 4, would like to take the win in his home country, and there are plenty of others in the running.
In total, there are 39 riders from 19 different countries. Find a complete list of the entries here.
How Does The World Cup Scoring Work?
The riders compete in the first leg on April 12, a speed class run over a 1.50-meter course. The World Cup Final rules read: “It is not intended that this course should have the character of a Table C “Speed and Handiness,” but rather a type Table A course with bigger fences. The sole purpose for using Table C scoring is to give a skillful athlete with an unlucky knockdown an opportunity to obtain a reasonable placing.”
Many riders have won the Final without winning the speed leg, but if they’re well down the rankings after this round, it’s hard to battle back up to the top. Riders aim for a top-five placing in the first leg if they’re eager to win.
The second leg, which will take place on April 13, is a Table A jump-off class set at 1.50 to 1.60 meters. It’s run like a typical grand prix class, with all the riders who jump clear over the first round returning for the jump-off.
After the first two legs of competition, the scoring gets interesting. The riders are assigned points depending on their placings in each class. For each leg, the winner gets 1 more point than the number of starters in that leg. Second place gets 2 points less than that, and each placing down the line gets 1 less.
The scoring system then gets creative, with the points being converted to faults. The scoring adds up the points for each rider from Rounds 1 and 2, and the rider with the most points is assigned 0 faults. For all other riders the number of penalties will be assigned by giving them half the difference of their World Cup points and that of the leading rider. So, if the leading rider had 64 points and Beezie Madden has 42, the leading rider will have 0 faults going into the final day, while Madden would have 11 faults.
After a rest day on April 14, the riders and horses return for the final day on April 15, in which they jump two rounds. These rounds are over 1.50- to 1.60-meter courses, and “approximately equal in the number of obstacles and length of the course, with the second round having an increased level of difficulty,” according to the FEI rules.
Any faults in these two rounds are added to the rider’s total, and the rider with the least amount of faults at the end of the day wins! In rare instances, there have been ties for first place, which are broken with a jump-off. Rich Fellers’ historic 2012 Rolex FEI World Cup Final win with Flexible ended in a jump-off against Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets. Beezie Madden repeated this accomplishment the following year aboard Simon, once again speeding ahead of Guerdat and “Nino.” Ties further down the placing remain as ties.