All Horses Pass Early Timed Vet Check at 2024 World Cup Finals

Tue, 04/16/2024 - 23:08
2024 World Cup Finals
Lithuanian Justina Vanagaite and Nabab trotting up in the horse inspecton at the 2024 World Cup Finals in Riyadh :: Photo © Dirk Caremans

The 2024 World Cup Finals in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, officially began with the horse inspection on Monday 15 April 2024. All 17 horses passed the trot up and are deemed fit to compete by the ground jury and FEI veterinarian.

This will be the 37th Final in the history of FEI World Cup Dressage which saw its very first champion in Denmark’s Anne-Grethe Jensen in 's Hertogenbosch (NED) in 1986. 

The Officials

The ground jury safely landed in the capital of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the weekend. This year's panel includes Hans Christian Matthiesen, Eva-Maria Vint-Warmington, Janet Foy, Peter Storr, Elke Ebert, Thomas Lang, and Susan Hoevenaars.

The Veterinary Commission is presided by Anas Hassan (KSA) and has Thierry Grisard (FRA) as Foreign Veterinary Delegate and Paul Farrington (GBR) as Veterinary Commission Member.

Early Timing for Horse Inspection

Borja Carrascosa (ESP) and Sir Hubert B
The vet check took place unusually early, on Monday at 4 PM local time, which is well outside the 24-hour time limit the FEI has set as a rule. The FEI Horse Inspection Rule (Art 1033)  reads "first horse inspection within 24 hours of the start of the first competition." 

The FEI arbitrarily changed the rule to fit to the circumstances, which are identical to any other major event/championship where horses are flown into. The FEI told Eurodressage, "the Veterinary inspection at the FEI World Cup Finals™ in Riyadh (KSA) was held earlier, to ensure that the horses were fit for the official training sessions. As the horses have already been onsite in Riyadh for a few days and are under close daily monitoring, there was no perceived risk of deterioration without timely identification and reporting."

All horses passed the trot up and were invited for a schooling session in the main stadium.

On Tuesday afternoon the riders can familiarize their horses with the complete ring set up while in the evening of 16 April the draw takes place.

On Wednesday 17 April 2024 at 13h15 local time the Grand Prix will begin as a qualifier for the freestyle final. 

First Impressions

Riders from three continents are represented at the 2024 World Cup Finals as no non-league rider was accepted.

Flore de Winne (BEL) and Flynn
Based on their posts on social media the conditions in the fully air-conditioned arenas in Riyadh are optimal.  Germany and the U.S.A. are both represented with the maximum amount of riders (3), while Belgium has two riders competing.

"So far every day has been full of pinch me moments…. We all can’t believe we are here amongst such incredible company. We are just taking it all in and enjoying every minute of this once in a lifetime experience In Saudi Arabia," said New Zealand's Melissa Galloway who won the Pacific League Finals to earn her ticket to Riyadh.

German Matthias Rath is riding his second World Cup Finals in fourteen years time and is thrilled to be there. "We've been welcomed in great circumstances. The conditions for the grooms and horses are excellent. The people are open and friendly. I'm looking forward to competition in the next few days," he said

Isabell Werth, who won the finals in 1997, 2007, 2017, 2018 and 2019, is looking to earn her sixth title.  "I had hoped the conditions were good but they exceeded all my expections. It's top here," she said. "Quantaz is still quite hot and I hope he'll adapt to the temperatures here (31° C) in the next few days." 

Alisa Glinka (MDA) and Abercrombie
Denmark's Nanna Skodborg Merrald is riding Don Olymbrio in the finals. She was second last year. "Donnie behaves like a pro (in the horse inspection), and felt really good in the training," she said. "Tomorrow we have the familiarization in the afternoon, and then we should be ready for the Grand Prix."

After being denied entry into the U.S. for last year's finals in Omaha due to visa issues and a Russian connection, Moldovan Alisa Glinka is now set to ride in her second finals after finishing 16th in the 2022 edition. Glinka is joined by the second Central European League rider who earned a spot, Lithuanian Justina Vanagaite. "We are feeling as wonderful and as fresh as ever and are ready to rock the competition arena here at the World Cup Finals," she said.

Photos © Dirk Caremans  

Related Link
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2024 World Cup Finals