By: Fédération Équestre Internationale
The highly-anticipated Longines League of Nations™ series proudly unveils the ten equestrian nations set to compete in this brand-new international team Jumping spectacle. This groundbreaking series, set to kick off in Abu Dhabi (UAE) in February 2024, reimagines the storied history of the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ with a unique, unified, and global format.
The revamped series is set to make history, introducing a fresh approach to the age-old tradition of nation vs. nation competition, which dates back to 1909. The Longines League of Nations™ will see the top ten teams from around the world competing at four qualifying events, culminating in the grand Final, where the top eight teams will vie to become the first in history to hoist the Longines League of Nations™ trophy.
10 Teams in the Spotlight
At the top of the Longines League of Nations™ Ranking is Ireland, a nation with extensive experience and success in the history of the Nations Cup. Following closely behind are the United States of America, France, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, and Brazil, each bringing their unique blend of talent, skill, and national pride, and setting the stage for an intense series.
The ten confirmed teams, along with their ranking points which secured their participation in the Series, and the Chefs d’equipe are:
- Ireland (IRL) – 13834 pts. Chef d’equipe: Michael Blake
- United States of America (USA) – 13532 pts. Chef d’equipe: Robert Ridland
- France (FRA) – 12890 pts. Chef d’equipe: Henk Nooren
- Germany (GER) – 12876 pts. Chef d’equipe: Otto Becker
- Switzerland (SUI) – 12514 pts. Chef d’equipe: Peter Van Der Waaij
- Great Britain (GBR) – 12045 pts. Chef d’equipe: Di Lampard
- Netherlands (NED) – 11957 pts. Chef d’equipe: Jos Lansink
- Belgium (BEL) – 11552 pts. Chef d’equipe: Peter Weinberg
- Sweden (SWE) – 10237 pts. Chef d’equipe: Henrik Ankarcrona
- Brazil (BRA) – 9289 pts. Chef d’equipe: Pedro Paulo Lacerda
The full rankings can be seen HERE.
National Pride, Global Competition, Universal Enthusiasm
In anticipation of the series that kicks off in February 2024, the National Federations have expressed their enthusiasm at being a part of the inaugural season, recognising its significance and value for the global equestrian community.
As second-highest qualifiers, USA’s Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland said, “We have always believed that Nations Cups form the bedrock of the sport of Jumping, and from the beginning we have been tremendously supportive of the FEI’s initiative to revitalise and strengthen the Longines series,” adding that they would be using the team events both as valuable experience for both younger riders, as well as incorporating those competitions into the preparation process for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Incoming Swiss Chef d’Equipe Peter de Waaij echoes this, and is looking forward to his team navigating the thrill and challenge of new venues such as Abu Dhabi and Ocala, whilst pursuing a third consecutive win at their home venue of St Gallen.
“The new format with four riders in the first round and three riders in the second round adds an extra challenge as well, and definitely does not make it easier for a chef d’equipe! It could lead to some difficult decisions and it is hard to predict the outcome; we have seen over the years many times that the result in the first round is no guarantee for the second round. It is an interesting new aspect to the Nations Cup format, and fans will find it very exciting to see if their nation can climb the ranks.”
British Chef d’Equipe Di Lampard voiced optimism for the series, emphasising the crucial role the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ has traditionally played in their championship preparations.
“This new team competition format will provide fresh opportunities to develop our athletes – both human and equine – against some of the best Jumping nations in the world, and I look forward to seeing what they can bring to the table,” Lampard says, adding that their focus will be on maintaining momentum and securing a hotly-contested place at the Longines League of Nations™ Final in Barcelona (ESP). But they will need to withstand the heat from Team Netherlands – less than a hundred points behind them on qualification – as Dutch sports director Iris Boelhouwer is already planning a strong competitive team to take them to Spain.
The Belgian National Equestrian Federation says that “The prospect of the top 10 countries competing in four competitions promises top-class sport, and we are honoured to be part of it as a country,” anticipating the upcoming series as “the most beautiful competitions”, which are very much alive and followed in Belgium.
This sentiment is supported by the Germans through chef Otto Becker, who says this series “represents the most important format in my opinion,” with general secretary Soenke Lauterbach rightfully praising “the tremendous support of Longines that enables the FEI to organise the series and enables our teams to be part of the LLN at such prime events.”
Henrik Ankarcrona, the Swedish Chef d’Equipe, promises a stronger-than-ever team to be joining the 2024 league, saying that they have been improving steadily and look forward to the experience that the upcoming series will offer, while emphasising their prioritising of the equine athletes in line with FEI’s code of conduct: “Our goal is obviously to win as much as possible – it always is! – with the best horse-rider combinations presented in a good way to always put the horse first. This series is exciting and unique and we also hope the media will pick this up and share the excitement building up towards a big final.”
For top qualifier Ireland the pressure is on – and Horse Sport Ireland Show Jumping High Performance Director Michael Blake says they are ready. “To win a Nations Cup has always been up there for me as the highest honour and Ireland will be looking forward to putting our best foot forward to cement that position throughout the League of Nations. As always it will be exceptional competition and I’m excited to be pitting my wits against the best Chef d’Equipes in the world,” in what Blake anticipates to be fantastic and fierce sport in 2024.
FEI President Ingmar De Vos said; “We are delighted to confirm that all the invited nations have accepted to take part in the inaugural series of the Longines League of Nations. Being one of the ten is a remarkable achievement, and a testament to the athletes, owners, grooms, Chefs d’Equipe, support teams, trainers, and National Federations working together. This is a team effort and is what the Longines League of NationsTM is all about, working together to achieve something greater than any individual performance. My congratulations go to all contributors.
“We anticipate a thrilling series and are collaborating with Organisers to provide the optimal platform for this showcase of team talent. I extend thanks to our esteemed Top Partner, Longines, for their support and commitment to this historic series, symbolising everything we hold dear in our equestrian community.”
As we eagerly count down the 63 days to the inaugural Longines League of Nations™ series, the excitement and anticipation for this revolutionary chapter in equestrian history continues to build. With ten powerhouse nations poised to showcase their equestrian prowess on the global stage, the series promises a unique and exhilarating blend of tradition and innovation.
Stay tuned for information about the Longines League of Nations™ qualifying event at World Equestrian Center – Ocala!