FEI Press Release
The stage is set and it’s all-systems-go at the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas, USA where the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping and Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015 Finals get underway on Thursday.
All horses passed their veterinary inspections today, and even that provided entertainment with some over-exuberant equines giving their handlers a hard time. Age is no barrier to naughty behaviour as Morgan Barbacon’s 18-year-old stallion, Painted Black, demonstrated when breaking free and going for a quick gallop around the ring before regaining his decorum. And there were plenty of high-jinks from the jumpers too, although Rich Fellers’ 19-year-old stallion, Flexible, was as relaxed as it is possible to be.
There is huge anticipation of a great week ahead, and tomorrow is dedicated to warm-up classes before the excitement goes into over-drive with a rapid-fire opening day on Thursday when the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix gets the action underway at 12 noon and the opening competition of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping takes place at 19.00 local time.
Early on Friday morning the Dressage riders and horses have the opportunity to rehearse their Freestyle, and at 19.00 the second Jumping competition take place. Saturday brings the much-anticipated Freestyle, which will bring the Reem Acra Final to a close, starting at 12 noon. And then on Sunday the new Longines Jumping champion will be crowned following the top-30 Final.
Defending Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion, Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin, reports that her super-star gelding, Valegro, is feeling the heat a little. “The temperature has definitely hit him, he doesn’t have long to acclimatise before he starts to compete but it’s great to be here and taking part in this show in the middle of the desert! He’s flown well and the last two days we gave him some easy time, not too much work. He’s gone from winter at home to this incredible heat, and I’m hoping he’s not suffering from jet-lag!” she said. It has been windy and sunny today in the entertainment capital of the world, with the barometer showing a temperature of 85 degrees at 15.30 local time.
The Thomas & Mack Arena presents many challenges for equestrian competitions due to its unusual shape and size. It regularly hosts concerts and sporting fixtures, including boxing, football and basketball tournaments. “It’s a bit like a huge lunge-pen!” Dujardin said today, “I’m told it’s bigger than Olympia (London) but it doesn’t feel like it, maybe it’s because the seats rise so high around the ring. How are they going to fit seven judges in there?” she asked with a laugh. “It will be my first time to start my test inside the arena so that should be interesting too!” she added.
It is always a big test for the course designer too, but America’s Anthony D’Ambrosio knows what’s expected because he also presented the tracks for the 2009 FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Las Vegas. He’s been an FEI 4* course designer for over 10 years and is a double-recipient of the USHJA Course Designer of the Year Award.
Defending Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping champion, Germany’s Daniel Deusser, said today that the size of the arena is not a problem for him or for Cornet D’Amour. In fact he’s feeling pretty upbeat about his chances of doing the double this week and walking away with that coveted Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping trophy for the second year in a row.
“For my horse it’s not a disadvantage. In a small arena the fences come up very fast but he’s so rideable and has a great technique. I’ve had good results with him in small indoor arenas and big ones too, and recently he was fantastic in Doha (QAT) and in Den Bosch (NED) so I’ve got a great feeling with him right now. I don’t want to say that I’m going to win again, but I’m feeling really confident!”
It’s going to be a thriller from start to finish, so don’t miss a hoof-beat. If you can’t be there, then watch all the action LIVE on FEI TV!!
For more information about the competition, click here to visit the FEI website
Thursday April 16:
- Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix - 12 noon
- Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 1 - 19.00
Friday April 17:
- Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2 - 19.00
Saturday April 18:
- Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle Final - 12 noon
Sunday April 19:
- Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 3 - 12 noon.