Aachen breaks tradition: No more FEI Dressage Nations' Cup

Aachen breaks tradition: No more FEI Dressage Nations' Cup

The prestigious CDIO Aachen, known as the oldest international dressage competition, is making a remarkable decision by no longer organizing an FEI Dressage Nations' Cup in 2024. Since 2013, Aachen's team competition has been part of the official FEI Nations Cup series.

Lack of control over invitations

In 2024, the FEI issued new rules for inviting nations to its FEI Nations' Cup series. These new rules have disappointed the Aachen show organizers, as they no longer give them full control over their invitation system.

Starting this year, the FEI aims to involve more countries in the Nations Cup and forces organizers to invite all nations. The new rule states: "Each CDIO-NC organizer must invite all NFs and is not allowed to limit the number of NFs that can participate. The only possible limitation is the maximum number of combinations that can start per day (forty (40) combinations)."

However, Aachen aims to be more selective and only invites countries that rank highly on the FEI World Ranking or riders/countries with a good relationship with the organizer.

The CHIO has established its own invitation system, where National Federations (NFs) can only nominate riders "after receiving an invitation from the Organizing Committee."

For their version of a team competition this year, they have invited "the top 7 teams of the European Championship in Riesenbeck 2023 (GBR, GER, DEN, SWE, NED, FRA, AUT) plus USA (best non-European team of the World Championship Herning 2022)."

One of the biggest losers of Aachen's decision is Spain, which has been sending teams to Aachen for years. The Spanish riders are also beloved by the audience for their magnificent PRE horses, and their team members bring atmosphere and enthusiasm to the stadium with their applause and cheers.

Going their own way

Aachen has previously departed from the traditional route. In 2014, it withdrew from the FEI Show Jumping Nations Cup series, initially citing financial reasons, but it later emerged that the show wanted to honor its long-time sponsor Rolex. Aachen refused to comply with the exclusivity rule for the FEI Nations Cup's title sponsor, Longines, a rival watch company.

The abbreviation "CDIO" (Concours Dressage International Official) is used to identify competitions within the Nations Cup series. Despite no longer being part of the series, Aachen continues to use the CDIO designation for its team competition, which is held according to their own rules.

Source: Eurodressage