Welcome to the first day of competition at the FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Omaha, Nebraska! Round 1 of Dressage came and went earlier this afternoon and the sandbox kids got the crowd all riled up for jumping this evening.
Leading dressage rider and Olympian warrior Isabell Werth just described the venue as “electric”, and you could definitely see it in the horses between the boards. Will the atmosphere have the same impact on the show jumpers tonight? We’re just minutes away from finding out!
Notes for following your first live updates thread:
Just keep refreshing this post every 30 seconds or so to see the next update on the thread, which will be posted in chronological order.
Links for Optimal Live Viewing:
FEI TV Goes live at 6:50 CST with rounds starting at 7:00 pm. If you intend to watch, don’t forget to check/pay your subscription ahead of time to catch all the action!
6:38 p.m. – Welcome to the live updates thread! We’ll be getting going just a few minutes before 7. The first rider in will be Markus Brinkmann of Germany aboard Pikeur Dylon.
While we’re waiting, this is very important and relevant:
— Kim Reiner (@OhMyOmaha) March 30, 2017
7:00 pm – The course is set! Reminder again, you can see the map here. It looks like it will be a very tight course, particularly for a Table C designation. However, we don’t expect many riders to be gunning it tonight, rather they’ll just be looking to manage a sufficient qualifying score for the remainder of the week.
7:05 pm – We’re still partying it up pre-rounds in here with opening tunes and light shows, but I’m going to declare this full orchestral introduction cover of Jackson 5 the funkiest opening ceremonies in World Cup history.
7:12 pm – Here we go! Markus Brinkmann of Germany is coming in aboard Pikeur Dylon, a 10 year old holsteiner gelding. Markus is one of 11 rookie riders in this FEI World Cup final.
7:14 pm – A reminder that Alan Wade is our extraordinary course designer here this week. The speed course is 120 seconds, time faults only, no jump-off. The course is set at maximum CSI 5* limits: 1.60m.
7:15 pm – Dylon is clearly absorbing the enormous atmosphere and gave everything a good look coming in, but making a good start of this. HUGE oxer down that first long side!
7:16 pm – The pair take down a rail in a tight corner and got a little deep, but otherwise a strong start in his first World Cup Final! 66.53 seconds total with time faults added.
7:20 pm – Canada’s Keean White in next on a Z horse, For Freedom.
7:21 pm – This is Keean’s second world cup. He and For Freedom had several rubs and a couple rails down – he pushed for the time to make up for an early mistake, but heads out on a 72.45.
7:22 pm – In now one of our most experienced partnerships – Maikel van der Vleuten and Verdi. This is Verdi’s fifth FEI World Cup Final. The two have a single unfortunate rail early on to head out on a 65.97 – he leads on that but we’ve got a long way to go.
7:24 pm – Next in is our second rookie of the event: Olivier Robert of France on Quenelle du Py. (See his rookie profile in link!) The two lost their rhythm for a moment to bring down two rails, but a speedy round keeps them in it at 69.48.
7:27 pm – Another French rider now, this time our oldest rider in the contest, 57 year old Eric Navet.
7:29 pm – Corners are proving to be tricky in this arena – Eric couldn’t get the momentum for a big vertical in the turn and brought down a rail and another throw-away, to end on a 74.07.
7:30 pm – Martin Fuchs for Switzerland now on my boyfriend Clooney 51- this is definitely one to watch for the weekend. They put in our first clear round of the day on a 61.37!
7:32 pm – First US Rider in now! Jamie Barge and Luebbo in her FEI World Cup Final Debut!
7:33 pm- Jamie brings down the huge oxer in the double down the long side and the oxer across the diagonal – these spreads are huge. She recovers nicely to finish, but had to slow down a bit to get it done. Total of 78.32.
7:35 pm – Jenni McAllister, our other USA/California girl heads out! She’s aboard Legis Touch the Sun and looking marvelous.
7:36 pm – Legis is 99% legs and he struggled today to keep his feet tidy, bringing down 4 rails. His stride is so huge and he just couldn’t calculate the distances in this little space.
7:37 pm – Rein Pill of Estonia returned for his second ever World Cup Final and he brings down two rails on his darling, scrappy horse to sit in seventh on a 75.8.
7:39 pm – Sergio Alvarez Moya and Arrayan are such a spectacular pair coming out of Spain, and they looked sharp today in the forward course. I’m calling Sergio a dark horse candidate for victory this weekend – he lays down a 62.05 for second place tonight!
7:40 pm – Todd Minikus and Babalou have the very first fence down! What a heartbreaker. They bring down two in the diagonal in the middle of the course as well, and one more late fence. Gutting for this phenomenal pair. He was cruising nonetheless, 79.73. Commentator says “He looks a broken man.” which is perhaps the saddest possible thing I’ve ever heard at the World Cup Final.
Todd Minikus and Babalou pic.twitter.com/N2o8GZonjl
— Jumper Nation (@gojumping) March 31, 2017
7:43 pm – Another heartbreaker right in the ring, as Max Kuhner’s Cornet Kalua has a bit of a meltdown near the gate and is dismissed.
7:45 pm – Definite young genius here in this pair – Nicola Phillapaerts of Belgium and H&M Harley. They too bring down a rail here but really clipped to put him on a 63,59 to sit in fourth!
7:47 pm – MARCUS EHNING! The most winningest rider in World Cup history. He has a rail in the middle of the course that he was not happy to get, but he had an AMAZING save in the diagonal when his horse added a stride and he sat it like a champ and saved them another rail. They move into fourth.
— The FEI (@FEI_Global) March 31, 2017
7:50 pm – Our Spruce Meadows boy Christopher Surbey breaks his World Cup Maiden here today with a nice round on his holsteiner mare Chalacorada and brings down just a single rail , but he’ll nab 7th place for the moment on that with a 69.09.
7:53 pm – The lovely Christian Heineking who lives in Forth Worth but rides for Germany doesn’t have the grand prix ride he’s used to having in the Centurylink Center, bring down three rails and looking pretty disappointed. He walks out on a 77.3.
7:54 pm – Simon Delestre and Chadino – one of the world’s best – show how you get a load of legs over a 1.60m speed course tonight. He collects his big horse beautifully to go clear! He comes in a 63.04 seconds to sit in fourth!
7: 57 pm – Leopold Van Asten for the Netherlands now, who got a last-minute qualification in Gothenburg and is looking prime today. They have a heart-stopping moment down the long side, but they push forward to be our new leader! 60.71 on his 13 yo Dutch Warmblood Zidane.
— US Equestrian (@USequestrian) March 31, 2017
8:00 pm – Charlie Jacobs for Team USA now! He’s aboard his stunning Cassinja S, a stunning Dutch Sporthorse mare. They looked great but had the front rail of the corner oxer that’s been causing problems all night, and also the liverpool at the end of the course. 65.32 for sixth place even with the two rails. He’s still in it for the weekend!
We’re on a quick drag break (10 minutes)
8:04 pm – A snippet from the interview with Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs in the break, currently sitting in second: “My horse clooney jumped very well. He’s very experienced in the indoor shows and that’s why I chose him today. I tried not to do anything too crazy, but I hope we can stay in the same top 8 at the end of the night.”
8:09 pm – When we return from the drag break, we’ll be just one rider out from McLain Ward, so don’t go too far away!
8:13 pm – And we’re back! Romain Duguet of Switzerland coming in now on Twentytwo Des Biches, a ten-year-old chestnut mare. (We love the feisty chestnut mares!). This is the 36-year-old’s second World Cup appearance.
8:17 pm – Romain and 22 are cruising and looks fierce over this course, and despite two hard rubs goes clear and into second place on a 60.88! Gorgeous round!
8:19 pm – In strides Team USA’s arguably best chance at glory this weekend, McLain Ward and HH Azur, our lovely Annie overjumping every single fence by a foot!
8:21 pm – Mclain goes into the lead on 59.27! She floated over each fence like a helicopter and still cruised to the fastest time! Unbelievable Annie.
8: 22 pm – The youngest rider in our event this year, 21 year old Guido Jun. Klatte and Qinghai stop the clock on a clear round and 62.17 seconds to move into sixth place! What an incredible way to announce your presence on the world stage. An unbelievable string of rides in the start of our second half!
8:23 pm – Gregory Wathelet of Belgium and Forlap, a legendary partnership back together again and making their Rookie Debut in epic form, going clear and crusing into second behind Mclain on a time of 60.36!
8:26 pm – Gabor Szabo Jr of Hungary and Timpex in now in their World Cup maiden as well. They have a rail down at the first water to finish on a 66.38, a very respectable showing in this group.
8:28 pm – Dawid Kubiak and Bagazza M in now for the great eastern European nation of Poland – they too are at their first World Cup. That nasty corner fence is definitely the bogey of this course, giving Dawid one rail for a total of 71.90
8:30 pm – Our only Irishmen in now, and one of the most experienced pairs in the whole group – this is All Star’s third appearance at the World Cup. They too hit the bogey oxer in the diagonal to finish with one rail and a final score of 68.43 to sit in 15th. Likely Ireland will have to wait another year for a World Cup victory.
8:33 pm – Kevin Staut of France and his Rio partner Reveur de Hurtebise are out and crusing right away. These two want it.
8:34 pm – Brings down the ariat oxer on the long side toward the corner and unfortunately puts him in 10th place for a current score of 63.63. He’s not totally out of it, but he’s got an uphill climb.
8:36 pm – Martin Rodriguez Vanni of Uruguay and Liborius have a big spook in the middle of the arena and his nice start never recovered after that, bringing down three rails to end on an 84.36.
8:37 pm – Two big favorites, Nayel Nassar of Egypt and Lordan are quite a pair and based in the US so they certainly have great fans here. He is going all out, and they guttingly lost their rhythm in the middle of the arena to have two down. They recovered the end and finished under the 60-second mark, but had to add the 8-faults.
8:40 pm – Lorenzo de Luca of Italy, one of my personal dark horse favorites, sadly has two rails down on that wicked long side Ariat double and sits in 19th. What a gutter.
8:41 pm – Laura Kraut and Zeremonie has a gutting rail in the corner but had a clippy round to sit in competitive territory in 12th place on a 65.80. Laura looks disappointed but give Zara a big pat.
— Jumper Nation (@gojumping) March 31, 2017
8:42 pm – Defending champion Steve Guerdat and Bianca have a couple heart-stopping lines and funky moments but they get it done to sit just FRACTIONS of a second behind McLain Ward on a 60.06!
8:45 pm – A Steve/Mclain showdown. I can’t even.
8:47 pm – Ludger Beerbaum, by far the most veteran World Cup rider making his 21st appearance this year! He came in second on Chiara 222 just two years ago but they didn’t have the edge today – they currently sit in 20th.
8:49 pm – Sheikh Ali al Thani of Qatar is the Middle East qualifier and here on Carolina and looking fantastic – they’re clear on a 64.61 seconds to go into 12th!
8:51 pm – Here comes our second-to-last USA rider, Audrey Coulter and Capital Cornado! They were looking so good until they lost their confidence in the Ariat double and sadly Audrey took a tumble after an awkward spot to the liverpool. Both Audrey and Cap look okay. What a disappointment for this wonderful pair!
8:53 pm – Henrik von Eckermann of Sweden in now and looking positively cracking. They had the bad fall recently because of the stirrup issue, but he won a big GP just prior to that – he has apparently written off the fall and didn’t lose momentum, because he’s now in second place on 59.58!
8:55 pm – Karl Cook and Tembla are the last in now – known to many as the boyfriend of Kaley Cuoco – and he has a nasty crash adding a stride to the first liverpool and they never got their mojo back. Karl does the best by his lovely Tembla and opts to retire rather than force the horse on without momentum or confidence. So gutting for them.
8:58 pm – A tough round to end on, but what a day of sport. Fans couldn’t be happier to see an iconic American at the front of the helm in this group, and while it’s a long way yet to go in the week, it’s a heartening start! We’ve got a heck of a ride coming folks.
9:00 PM – That’s it for the live updates – check back for full reports, more photos, quotes from the press conference and more in the coming hours!