Wellington, FL – For the third consecutive year, the Hollow Creek Farm Nations’ Cup Series will spotlight the next generation of show jumping superstars through its Children’s, Junior and Young Riders Nations’ Cup program. Having proved extremely popular the past two seasons, the program gives younger competitors from around the globe an opportunity to come together and experience team pressure and camaraderie by competing in their own marquee Nations’ Cup events.
On Saturday, February 28, three separate Nations’ Cup team events will be held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida. Following the same style as the senior Nations’ Cup, a featured event at the Winter Equestrian Festival since 2002, teams of four riders each, with the best three scores counting, will represent their countries in the Nations’ Cup events for Children, Junior, and Young Riders.
And like their senior counterparts, the youngsters have their own cheering sections that are just as vocal, if not more so. Holding inspirational signage and waving flags to show their support, national pride comes out in full-force amongst the audience members who have travelled from various parts of the world to be in Wellington, Florida.
“The event is so much fun, as well as a valuable learning experience for all the young people who participate,” said Angel Karolyi, who competes several grand prix horses for Hollow Creek Farm. “It encourages great team spirit, and the crowd really gets into it, cheering for their favorite countries like it is the Olympics! It is a great way for these young competitors to get a taste of what possibly lies ahead in their riding careers.”
The first round of each Nations’ Cup competition will be held in the International Arena during Saturday afternoon, with the second round being held at night under the lights. In the evening session, the Children’s Nations’ Cup for riders aged 12 to 14 will be held first, followed by the Junior Nations’ Cup for riders aged 14 to 18. The Young Riders Nations’ Cup will be Saturday’s third and final team competition, featuring competitors aged 16 to 21.
Aspiring young athletes from a dozen different nations competed in the 2014 edition of the Children, Junior and Young Riders Nations’ Cup competitions, gaining invaluable skills for the future by experiencing what it takes to compete as a member of a team. Team USA took home top honors for the second year in a row by winning the Young Rider Nations’ Cup while Team Brazil did the same in the Junior Nations’ Cup competition. Meanwhile, Mexico upset defending champion Brazil by posting a perfect score of zero to capture the Children’s Nations’ Cup title.
Brazil, Mexico and the USA are all back to defend their titles, but there will be no shortage of competition, as a total of 12 nations are fielding teams in this year’s Hollow Creek Nations’ Cup events. Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ireland, Mexico, Puerto Rico, USA, and Venezuela will all be fighting to stand on the top step of the podium.
“The idea is to begin to set the groundwork for young riders to compete together as a team,” explained Karolyi, a veteran of Nations’ Cup and major games competition. “The Hollow Creek Nations’ Cup Series gives them the opportunity to experience the team format before they reach the top levels of international competition. It is very important to expose these young riders to the responsibility of not only performing well for yourself, but for others who are relying on you.”
Hollow Creek Farm is home to Emanuel Andrade, one of the sport’s brightest stars and living proof of the valuable experience that can be gained from competing in a Nations’ Cup format. Andrade competed in the Hollow Creek Junior Nations’ Cup for his native Venezuela in both the inaugural 2013 event as well as in 2014. Incredibly, just six short months later, he was competing at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, before he had even celebrated his 18th birthday.
With the Hollow Creek Nations’ Cup Series truly acting as a springboard to international competition, this year Andrade will be representing Venezuela on the senior Nations’ Cup team on Friday night at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
While the Nations’ Cup events bring teams together, Hollow Creek Farm will also sponsor special Children’s, Junior, and Young Riders’ Classics on Thursday, February 26, for individual honors. All Hollow Creek-sponsored competition takes place in the International Arena during CSIO Week, held February 25 through March 1, 2015.