Three extra riders from the highly competitive FEI Western European World Cup league will go forward to the World Cup dressage final 2004, which sees top riders from around the world compete for the prestigious World Cup title.

The exceptionally high standard of competition in the league has led the FEI to allow three riders from outside the top eight rankings to contest the final, while complying with the rule of a maximum of three riders per nation.

Western European league riders are currently preparing for the final qualifier at Indoor Brabant, ‘s-Hertogenbosch on 25-28 March, which promises to be a thrilling finale to the qualifying season and an exciting precursor to the final, which takes place in Düsseldorf from 1-4 April.

Riders who have already been confirmed as taking part in the final include last year’s World Cup champion Debbie Mc Donald (USA) riding Brentina, plus US league reserve champion Leslie Morse on Kingston and Guenter Seidel and Nikolaus who were placed third.

Central European league winner Elena Sidneva will be representing Russia with Artax-Condor, while runner-up Irina Lys will ride Problesk for Belarus. Belinda Trussell and Royan II will be attending from the Canadian league.

German-based Australian rider Kristy Oatley-Nist has been awarded a wild card to represent the Pacific League with Don Bolero 3 after the Pacific league winner, Ricky Macmillan, and runner-up Mary Hanna were both unable to attend the final.

Emma Hindle is the only British rider likely to make the World Cup final as she is currently in equal fourth position in the current Western European League standings after six of seven competitions. The next highest placed British rider is Carl Hester in 33rd place.

Current Western European League rankings

    1, Heike Kemmer GER 72;
    2, Hubertus Schmidt GER 64;
    3, Isabell Werth GER 58;
    4=, Emma Hindle GBR and Anky van Grunsven NED 57;
    6, Sven Rothenberger NED 46;
    7, Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff GER 41;
    8, Edward Gal NED 39;
    9, Louise Nathhorst SWE 37;
    10, Nicole Ahlefeldt Laurvig-Lehn DEN 35.