The Western European League of the FEI World Cup Jumping 2004/2005 series begins next Sunday in Oslo, Norway where 50 riders will line out in an effort to pick up some early points.
Now in its 27th season, the series has increased from 12 to 13 leagues due to the recent inclusion of the Arab League which is already well underway following competitions at Lattakia (Syria), Faqra (Lebanon) and Algiers (Algeria) and which concludes with its final qualifier in Damascus (Syria) next March.
Riders from the Japanese, New Zealand, Australian, Canadian, Central and Western European, South African, Arab, South American, South East Asian, Central Asian and American East and West Coast leagues will qualify for the Final which returns to Las Vegas, USA - venue for a hugely successful final in 2003 - next April.
Oslo has attracted some of the sport's biggest stars including Olympic silver medallist Rodrigo Pessoa from Brazil. Riders from sixteen different nations will compete in the first qualifier of the Western European League.
The German contingent is very strong indeed and includes Marcus Ehning, Otto Becker, Christian Ahlmann, Marco Kutscher, Toni Hassmann and Pia-Luise Aufrecht.
The French, buoyed up by their recent Samsung Super League double, will no doubt be in flying form and their four-strong contingent includes Hubert Bourdy and Edouard Couperie.
Early success in the FEI World Cup Jumping series can leave riders with breathing space later in the season so the first few rounds are especially important. The beginning of the series also tends to highlight new and rising talent or point to a return to form for more experienced partnerships.
Indoor jumping can also provide a few surprises as horses can take some time to familiarise themselves again with the close proximity of the spectators and the tight dimensions of the arena after competing outside over the summer months.
World Cup-winning horses have often tended to be full of character - the kind of equine star that thrives on being the centre of attention and who likes to show off in front of the crowd.
Baloubet du Rouet who went into the history books when recording three successive victories between 1998 and 2000 for Rodrigo Pessoa is one of these as was the great Gladstone, victor with Austria's Hugo Simon in the saddle at the inaugural final in Göteborg back in 1979, and who can forget the lovely grey Milton ridden by Britain's John Whitaker who stole the show every time he competed whether he won his class or not?
The 27th FEI World Cup Jumping series promises an autumn, winter and spring of great show jumping at venues all across Western Europe. Oslo is the first step on the way to the glamour, glitz and bright lights of Las Vegas where the 2004/2005 star will shine..
ORGANISER DETAILS CSI-W OSLO
Show Director Morten Aasen, Show Secretary Annhild Furfjord - email email@example.com. Website: www.oslohorseshow.com.
Again, the FEI has FEI has appointed Louise Parkes to ensure the press service of the FEI World Cup Jumping. Louise will produce a press release after each event including a review of the World Cup and a brief presentation of the next qualifier. To subscribe to the FEI JUMPING WORLD CUP NEWS, send any message to firstname.lastname@example.org
2004/2005 FEI WORLD CUP JUMPING SERIES
CALENDAR OF EVENTS WESTERN EUROPEAN LEAGUE:
1, Oslo 10 October; 2, Helsinki 17 October; 3, Verona 7 November; 4, Geneva 12 December; 5, London-Olympia 19 December; 6, Mechelen 30 December; 7, Leipzig 23 January; 8, Amsterdam 30 January; 9, Bordeaux 5 February; 10, Vigo 12 February; 11, Paris-Bercy 12 March; 12, 's-Hertogenbosch 20 March; 13, Goteborg 27 March.