Vidauban Hosts Opening Leg of Third Pilot Season for FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage

The Dutch team of Diederik van Silfhout, Laurens van Lieren and Tommie Visser pictured with Chef d’Equipe Wim Ernes following victory at the second leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage 2014 pilot series at Vidauban, France. (FEI/Rui Pedro Godinho)
The Dutch team of Diederik van Silfhout, Laurens van Lieren and Tommie Visser pictured with Chef d’Equipe Wim Ernes following victory at the second leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage 2014 pilot series at Vidauban, France. (FEI/Rui Pedro Godinho)

Teams from five nations will be in action when the third pilot season of FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage gets underway at CDIO3* Vidauban (FRA) this week. And it’s going to be another fascinating series, as more new formats will be tested over the six legs that take place over the coming months. Designed to assess the appeal of this type of competition for organisers, athletes, National Federations, spectators, the media and potential sponsors, the FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage concept has been greeted enthusiastically since first floated in 2013. And The Netherlands has been the dominant force over the first two seasons, but only keeping Sweden at bay by a three-point margin in the inaugural series and pinning them back by just a single point last year.
 
Different Formats
This year, event organisers again have a choice of competition formats, and the organisers at Vidauban have chosen the option of counting results from both the Grand Prix (6 March) and the Grand Prix Special (7 March). The team classification will be determined by the best three scores per team in each competition.
 
Alternatively, it is also permitted to count the results of the Grand Prix and a split of a maximum of two combinations in the Grand Prix Special and two in the Freestyle, so the tension builds over three different competitions.
 
A minimum of four teams will take part in each CDIO event, and athletes and their horses are permitted to compete in as many of the FEI Nations Cup™ legs they choose. Organisers are also allowed to invite a number of individual athletes from the host nation, and from countries not represented by an official team. A team consists of a minimum of three, and a maximum of four horse-and-rider combinations.
 
Wellington (USA) will stage the second leg of the series and will run under the same format as Vidauban. However, at CDIO2* or 3* events outside Europe more than one team can be fielded by each National Federation, but only one can count for points and this team must be announced at least one hour before the competition draw. Scores from four of the six legs of the series will decide the league result.
 
Opening Leg
Teams from France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Russia will line out at Vidauban on Friday next when the opening leg gets underway. Alexandra Ayache (Lights of Londonderry), Stephanie Brieussel (Amorak), Sarah Casanova (Ulan) and Bertrand Liegard (Star Wars) will fly the French flag, while Sanneke Rothenberger (Wolke Sieben) is joined on the German team by Bernadette Brune (Spirit of the Age Old), Victoria Michalke (Dance on Old) and Thomas Wagner (Amoricello).
 
Micol Rustignoli (Fixdesign Corallo Nero), Federica Scolari (Beldonwelt), Ester Soldi (Marmonia) and Leonardo Tiozzo) Randon will represent Italy, but both The Netherlands and Russia field teams with just three riders.
 
Dutch team-member Laurens van Lieren contributed significantly to his country’s success in both the opening season and again last year, and he will partner Ulysses la Haya as the action begins this week, backed up by Dominique Filion (Wenicienta) and Lynne Maas (Zamora). And the Russians should not be underestimated, with the experienced Tatiana Dorofeeva (Kartsevo Uppervile) joined by Larisa Bushina (Ju Ju) and Tatiana Miloserdova (Awakening). 
 
Remainder of Season
The remainder of the season embraces events at CDIO3* Wellington (USA) later this month, CDIO5* Rotterdam (NED) in June, and CDIO5* Hagen (GER), CDIO5* Falsterbo (SWE) and CDIO3* Hickstead in July.
 
Further positive evaluation at the end of the 2015 season may lead to the establishment of a long-term official FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage series with the rules being further refined according to the experiences of this latest pilot season.
 
“I am looking forward to the start of a new season of the FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage”, FEI Director Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage Trond Asmyr says. “The two first seasons have shown significant interest from countries in Europe and North America, and we hope to attract even more countries this season.”




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