Without even dropping a line on the subject, the FEI has just released its jumping rules for 2017 and the final of four in Caen where Bezzie Madden, Patrice Delaveau, Jeroen Dubbeldam and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson clashed was probably the last. This unique feature of the World Championships criticized for years has been definitively buried.
In operation since 1978, this Final, where the four best riders jump a shortened course riding each of their competitors’ horses, as well as their own, doesn’t seem to get unanimous support among all the riders.
For Edwina Tops-Alexander who competed in the in final of four in Aachen in 2006, this formula was more appealing for the public and the media than the riders. Those 4 extra rounds put additional strain on the horses and increased the risk of accident. On the contrary, Jeroen Dubbeldam (World Champion in Caen in 2014) was a big fan of the format and regret that it has been removed. It gave riders more respect and created interest for jumping among the general public.
And there’s more, the FEI has other surprises in store for us! The speed competition will also be removed. The next World Championships will comprise only two competitions of two rounds each run over two days: a team competition and an individual competition. Only the 10 best teams and 60 best riders will be able to access the second round of the team competition. Thus, the counts will be done at the end of the first round, which means that for some horse/rider combinations the adventure will end after a single round...
Round A of the individual competition will be open to the 25 best placed riders and horses according to the cumulative penalties over the first and second rounds of the team competition and only 12 will be selected for round B.
All these changes could discourage our favourite riders from traveling to North Carolina!
Find the new rules here
The Seaver team
5th December 2016