This year’s eventing HSBC FEI World Cup will run without a final, but prize-money will be awarded according to a rankings points list from events throughout the year instead.
The final was to be held at Pau from 27-31 October, but Giuseppe Della Chiesa, chairman of the International Equestrian Federation’s (FEI) eventing committee, said: “With the World Equestrian Games being so late [30 September-3 October], there won’t be enough horsepower for a good final.”
He admitted that the World Cup final had not been working, adding: “Maybe this will be the solution [after 2010].”
Historically, the World Cup has struggled to attract high quality combinations to a final. Last year’s final, in Strzegom, Poland, had only 31 riders. The three Brits included one who had not competed in a qualifier.
“There’s never been a great push to do the qualifiers as getting to the final was relatively easy,” said Mr Della Chiesa.
He hopes the new system will give riders from nations who wouldn’t travel to a European final more chance.
British-based Australian Paul Tapner, who rode at last year’s final, said: “This is a knee-jerk reaction. It’s disappointing there isn’t a final as we’ve already got a cumulative series in the HSBC FEI Classics [which links five four-stars].
“Last year riders thought a points system combined with the final could work — there could be double points for the final to encourage people to go.”
Giles Morgan, from HSBC, said: “We’ll follow what the FEI feels is best for the sport.
“If the sponsorship wasn’t fulfilling its objectives [we’d be worried], but the development of the sport internationally through the World Cup is the aim, and we’re happy with that.”
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (11 March, ’10)