The FEI World Cup™ Eventing 2011 series kicks off at Kihikihi in New Zealand on 7-10 April, when John Nicholson’s imaginative cross-country course will test the mettle of some of the world’s most talented horse and rider combinations.
This year’s series – which takes place at eight venues across Australasia, Europe and the UK – will once again run in similar fashion to the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ in Jumping, with the rider topping the points table at the end of the season claiming the prestigious title of FEI World Cup™ Eventing champion 2011.
The points based system has proved extremely popular with riders as it opens up the series to those not able to travel long distances with their horses. Riders will gain points based on their performance and final placings at each venue. They will have to obtain a minimum of three FEI World Cup™ Eventing results during the series to be eligible for the title.
All eyes will undoubtedly be on Germany’s world champion Michael Jung, who last year pipped Australian Olympian Megan Jones by just four points to claim the HSBC FEI World Cup™ Eventing title for 2010 at the final event of the season in Schenefeld (GER).
Jung, who won individual gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky last year, was also crowned HSBC FEI World Cup™ Eventing champion in 2009 and would be the first rider to score an FEI World Cup™ Eventing hat-trick if he can top the leaderboard again in 2011.
Jones will be another one to watch in the FEI World Cup™ Eventing 2011 series. In 2010, she effortlessly won the HSBC FEI World Cup™ class at Kihikihi for the second year running with her home-bred grey Kirby Park Irish Jester and a win in New Zealand next month could make it three in a row.
“The FEI World Cup Eventing™ series plays a pivotal role in the international calendar and is a thrilling competition for our riders”, FEI Eventing Committee Chair Giuseppe della Chiesa commented. “With the build-up to the London Olympic Games, we expect to see some exceptional talent vie for the 2011 title.”
Former dual FEI World Cup™ Eventing champion Clayton Fredericks added: “The FEI World Cup 2011 is set to be one of the most exciting yet, with the prospect of competing against the very best in the sport. Michael Jung and Megan Jones have both achieved so much already and with 2012 around the corner, the fans will be looking forward to seeing everyone at their best.”
The FEI World Cup™ Eventing 2011 series also includes venues in Australia, Britain, Poland, Belarus, Germany and Sweden, before the seasonal curtain-closer in France at Normandy’s world-renowned Haras du Pin.
FEI World Cup™ Eventing 2011 Calendar:
Kihikihi (NZL), April 07- 10, 2011
Sydney (AUS), May 06 – 08, 2011
Chatsworth (GBR), May 14 – 15, 2011
Strzegom (POL), June 23 – 26, 2011
Minsk (BLR), July 13 – 17, 2011
Schenefeld (GER), July 29 – 31, 2011
Malmö (SWE), August 05 – 07, 2011
Le Pin au Haras (FRA), August 18 – 21, 2011