Following the FEI General Assembly, new documents have been released outlining the future of Show Jumping at several events, including a dramatic change to the World Equestrian Games format.
Beginning with the WEG to be held in 2018 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina, there will no longer be a final four showdown with riders swapping horses for their individual placings.
Instead, there will be a team competition which will qualify a limited number of combinations to move forward, who, following a rest day, will compete in a two round contest. The 25 best placed combinations from team competition go on to the individual round A, which is then whittled down to 12 for round B. This will be based on penalties for all previous rounds, including team competition. A jump-off will break any ties for medals.
Despite the longstanding history of the practice, the general reaction from riders and owners has been positive. This comes as no surprise, with show jumping increasingly moving away from its military-roots origins where competitions awarded the best rider, and instead evolving towards strong partnerships and, more importantly, much more valuable horses.
The liability is a nightmare for riders, owners, and organizers alike when top show jumpers are worth high-end six and seven figures and must suddenly adapt to being ridden by three strangers. And while it was a deeply satisfying thrill and finish for the crowd, the FEI is no doubt confident that fans will continue to flock to the event regardless of the final four format or not.
You can see all the changes to the WEG format and other events for the 2017/2018 years at the FEI Website.