As the World Cup draws closer, I’ll discuss certain leagues, qualifiers, and riders.
North American League
The Las Vegas National WC Qualifier was quite an event. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the show with some friends, and hands-down, it was the most exciting, edge-of-your-seat grand prix I have ever seen. Six people fell off, and there were a handful of refusals and run outs. Halfway through the class, it became clear that riders needed to have a steady and precise round in order to even stay on! A long triple combination that I was lucky enough to sit right on top of claimed many riders. The line consisted of a vertical, one stride to an airy oxer, and then one long stride to another wide oxer. Many horses crashed through the last jump, and watching horse and rider battle over those two oxers was quite the spectacle. In the end, Allison Kroff managed to go double clear on her big black horse Nomograaf. She was thrilled at winning the class against such rough competion and over such a testing course.
The NAL is split into three sections: East Coast and West Coast (USA) and Canada.
Western European League
Ludgar Beerbaum (GER) recently won the fifth leg of this series on a new mount, All Inclusive NRW, in Geneva, Switzerland. Being on a new horse could be a problem for some, but this latest win hints that this pair could be dynamic. Meredith Micheals-Beerbaum (GER) also had a great ride in this qualifier, earning second on the always amazing Shutterfly. Sharing second place with Meredith was Jessica Kuerten (IRE) on Castle Forbes Libertina.
As of Dec. 9, the WEL standings are as follows:
1. Rutherford Latham
2. Helena Lundback
3. Meredith Micheals-Beerbaum
4. Jessica Kuerten
5. Rolf Goran Bengtsson
6. Ludgar Beerbaum
The sixth WEL leg will be at the Olympia Horse Show in London near the end of December.