WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES: No more finals with four riders, no more speed competitions. Only 25 in the individual competition

No more finals with four riders, no more speed competitions at the World Equestrian Games!

The individual competition will be open to just 25 riders (plus a possible ex aequo) in the first round and 12 in the second. Hesitating to make the long trip to Tryon? It’s closer than the European Championships!

So the final round in Caen – with Zenith, Orient Express HDC, Cortes and Casal Ask -- was without any doubt the last one in history.

Ongoing for many years, this final with horse changing, which  was introduced during the very first World Games in Paris in 1953, is now definitively buried for future WEGs. The new regulations for 2017, which were approved in Tokyo during the General Assembly and will come into force next January, were published over the past days on the FEI Website (our friend from the PferdeWoche brought this to our attention).

If horse changing had few defenders among the riders, rarely happy to loan their own horse, the abolition of the speed class could come as  a surprise. Definitively everything is standardized.The team with four riders will remain but there are more surprises.

Only 10 teams will remain after just one day…

The next World Equestrian Games will consist of just two rounds over two days. In the Team competition the first round will keep only the best 10 Nations and 60 individuals for the second round. For those who are not selected the WEG will be over after just one round… Until now it consisted of at least after two rounds: the speed competition and the first round.  Calculations started after this.

For the Individual competition, after the two rounds of the Team competition, only the best 25 (and a possible ex aequo) will be admitted to the first round for individuals and… only 12 to the second round. Too short, right, to travel to North Carolina with the risk of riding just one course and  with such a small chance of qualifying for the individual final? Will small nations be able to afford the costs? We are talking about universality but the risk is that these changes will produce the contrary.

The Europeans are keeping the speed competition

There are fewer changes for the Continental Championships and especially for the Europeans, fortunately. Next year in Goteborg, and in 2019 in Rotterdam,  the speed competition will continue to take place (course Table A but judged Table C to be precise).

The selection of the 10 Best Nations will consider both rounds (speed and first round of the team competition) which seems more reasonable. Just remember the crazy comeback made by the Swiss riders, 13th after the first round and finally 3rd at the last Europeans Championships in 2015! Isn’t this the beauty of sport? With the new rule (introduced for the WEG) the team would have been out of the game!

The regulation for the individual competition will be more restrictive. 25 in the first round and 12 in the second, as at the WEG. But as the selection will be made after three courses (not after two as at the WEG) and as it will be on continental scale and not worldwide it could be more acceptable.


Alban Poudret