Italy hosts season opener of FEI Eventing Nations Cup Series™ 2024

Italy hosts season opener of FEI Eventing Nations Cup Series™ 2024

The FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ will return in full force, with the opening event to be held at Montelibretti (ITA) from 14-17 March 2024. 

This highly regarded venue situated in the province of Rome will present leading athletes from eight nations spanning four continents on the entries list, with five nations eligible to compete as a team - Australia, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.

Last year the focus for several nations was claiming the final Olympic team place for this year’s Olympic Games in Paris. The golden ticket went to Italy, who showed their determination by fielding a team at almost every event of this eight-leg Series. They finished third overall behind Belgium in first and France in second, both of whom had already qualified teams for Paris 2024.

This year, many nations will be trying to give both younger horses and up and coming athletes an opportunity to ride for their national team which adds the inevitable extra pressure. As well as giving athletes a chance to qualify themselves and their horses for Championships by collecting extra points.

"Any opportunity to ride on a team like this is great practice for what you encounter in the Championships" - Chris Burton (AUS)

Chris Burton is one of those competitors. The Australian who has competed at two Olympics, had switched saddles to the sport of Jumping several years ago but has dusted off his Eventing boots this season. Burton has been competing horses up to Grand Prix level for the Guy family, and last year took part in the FEI Nations Cup™ Final for his nation.

Burton has taken on the ride on Shadow Man from British athlete Ben Hobday, and is very excited about their future together. Burton, who won a team bronze medal in at the 2016 Rio Olympics, sums up the significance of the Nations Cup Series to riders and teams:

“I’ve got the privilege of having a [FEI Eventing] Nations Cup first timer as part of our Australian Team in Sarah Clark. It was on her bucket list to ride on a Nations Cup team. She said she was really excited to be part of a team with Bill (Levitt) and I. That’s the wonderful thing because Nations really do come together and it makes it a lovely sport.

Any opportunity to ride on a team like this is great practice for what you encounter in the championships, because there’s nothing worse than coming out feeling like you could have done better but when you have to come out apologising to your team, that’s much tougher.”

There are plenty of other big names among the line-up at Montelibretti, including Maxime Livio from France, who is currently ranked 8th in the FEI World Ranking for Eventing. The 36-year-old had competed in two FEI World Championships but not made an Olympic squad yet. He is also the trainer and selector for the Thai Eventing team.

Seasoned FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ riders Nadja Minder and Felix Vogg join Philip Ryan from Switzerland. With the Olympics in mind, the Swiss could prove to be the underdogs as they have put in some solid individual and team performances both in Nations Cup competitions and FEI Championships over the last few years, whilst under the watchful eye of the legendary Eventer, Andrew Nicholson, who came on board as their cross-country coach in 2019.

The role of national Eventing coach has recently been taken over by another Olympic legend, Markus Fuchs, who won many medals for Switzerland in the sport of Jumping. Fuchs will coach the Swiss Eventers at least until the Paris Olympics.

Even though their teams have not yet been confirmed, the home side Italy have 13 athletes entered at Montelibretti, while the Spanish have eight athletes to choose from to make up a team of four.

The FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ Series, now in its 12th year, is open to all nations around the world, and is held at CCIO4* Short and Long format level. The final classification of the Series will be made by the accumulation of points obtained by teams in each competition.

The 2024 season will run as follows:

  • Montelibretti (ITA) - 14 - 17 March
  • Chatsworth (GBR) - 17-19 May
  • Millstreet (IRL) - 30 May- 02 June
  • Avenches (SUI) - 6 - 9 June
  • Strzegom (POL) - 20 - 23 June
  • Arville (BEL) - 15- 18 August
  • Lignières (FRA) 26 -29 September
  • Boekelo (NED) - 10 - 13 October

Source : FEI