Bring on the clowns! And the horses too!
Every Friday Counter-Canter Culture features the important US and International Horse Shows currently under way.
Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final in Barcelona
As much fun as it’s been for me to have the biggest names in horseback riding and the hottest new venues in my own back yard the last few weeks, it’s time to leave North America behind. This weekend, the Horse Circus takes you back to the big European scenes with coverage of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final in Barcelona, Spain, as well as a peak at The Horse Of The Year Show in the UK
While the Nation’s Cup Final is celebrating only its second year of existence, its host horse show, CSIO Barcelona, has a much richer history. This year marks the 103rd edition of CSIO Barcelona, making this show the oldest international sporting event in Spain.
It is also the largest horse show to be part of the Barcelona Equestrian Challenge, an unprecedented promotional project intended to get the general publish more involved in equestrian pursuits, both as riders and spectators. So far the project boasts the addition of equestrian education to some five thousand students aged four to seven, and an economic impact of a global economic impact of 124 to 142 million euros based on this CSIO alone.
But enough about the hard facts, let’s get to the fun stuff! Each year, in honor of the Nation’s Cup Final, the fine craftsman of Spain design on fence to pay homage to the city of Barcelona. Last year that fence was a scale replica of La Sagrada Familia, a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. This year the event champions the city’s favorite architect once again with a fence modeled after the Casa Batlló. It’s almost too pretty to jump!
But jump it they will! In fact they already have. Thursday marked the start of competition and the first of three Nation’s Cup classes. The Netherlands were once again in top form, taking this qualifier in style. With this result, the recent World Champions go straight to Saturday’s final. Together with the Dutch team, the national teams of Sweden, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Brazil and Great Britain also qualified for Saturday’s final.
New to CSIO Barcelona and the Nation’s Cup this year is the addition of an Olympic-style closing ceremony. The show promises to be a fusion of light and color, inviting the audience “to jump” into a world of fantasy connected to the world of equestrian sport. Expert riders along side flamenco dancers will wow audiences to the rhythm of traditional songs of Seville, and mysteriously, the ceremony is also slated to include a live performance from an unnamed American music artist!
The Horse Of The Year Show
With so much going on in Barcelona, it would be easy to overlook the rest of the equestrian scene this weekend, but that would be a mistake. Notably absent from the Nation’s Cup Finals festivities are number one ranked rider, Scott Brash, and his fellow show jumping Brit, Ben Maher. These two impressive talents can be found at the famous Horse Of The Year Show, held annually for the last 65 years in the UK.
The Horse Of The Year Show, or HOYS, as it is commonly know is a multi-discipline extravaganza of all things British equestrian. Not only is there show jumping and dressage, but also there will be a mounted games competition for the prestigious Prince Philip Cup, the edge of your seat action of Double Harness Scurry Racing, and a musical ride from the Household Cavalry.
So be sure to peel yourself away from the action of the Nation’s Cup once in a while, which can be streamed over on FEI TV, to indulge in the yearend festivities taking place in Britain!