Record Nine Teams in Nations Cup at WEF Friday Night of National Passion & Partying
WELLINGTON, Fla., Mar. 5–
A record nine teams and individuals from another five countries will square off in the FEI Nations Cup of Jumping presented by CN on Friday night at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The nine nations in what amounts to a mini-Olympics that draws thousands of fans to passionately support their home teams at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival presented by Zimmerman Advertising are from Argentina, Canada, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Venezuela and the U.S.A. Eleven Olympians are on the various squads and another five have competed at a World Equestrian Games.
The Nations Cup falls in the midst of the U.S. Selection Trials for the 2008 Olympics but the team spirit and fan support create a festive atmosphere unlike almost any other equestrian event. The Nations Cup is an ongoing series of team events of which only one is held in any country during the year.
Fans from the different nations have reserved large blocks of seats and plan to festoon their areas with flags, streamers and body painting in their country’s colors.
A rock band, face painters and jugglers along with hot dog and popcorn carts and food and drink bars will provide entertainment and sustain the spirits of spectators throughout the competition.
Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, the WEF management company, also plans pomp and ceremony worthy of the occasion.
France will lead off the two-round competition in which the scores from the best three of a maximum of members will count. As a result of a draw, Argentina will be second followed by Ireland, Great Britain, Venezuela, Mexico, Canada the New Zealand with the host U.S. having the advantage of going last in the International Arena under lights.
Canada is looking to three-peat following victories in 2006 and 2007, while the U.S. has not stood atop the medals podium since 2003.
In addition to the record number of teams, individual horse and rider combinations are entered from Russia, Belgium, Iran, Chile and Brazil, represented by reigning Olympic individual gold medalist Rodrigo Pessoa.
The squads or groups of riders from which the teams will be selected, are:
TEAMS (3 Min., 4 Max.)
BELGIUM - ERIC FLAMENG
BRAZIL - RODRIGO PESSOA
CHILE - SAMUEL PAROT
IRAN - ALI NILFORUSHAN
- LJUBOV KOCHETEV
The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com