Opinion: The World Cup Is Still In Its Fledgling Stage

A few weeks ago the world cup found its great final in Graz, Austria, during the “Fest der Pferde”. As all legs it took place in a crowded exhibition arena & they might have seen a terrific show. But when people asked me, what this thing is (because it isn’t very popular yet), I couldn’t answer with just the rules.

The competition

Photo by FEI
Photo by FEI

Some years ago no vaulting competition was licensed by the FEI. Then everything changed, so they hold the rights of the international competitions now. In 2010/2011 they initiated the world cup with a test season. What sounds like fun for the spectators & had the good intention to make vaulting more popular within the other equestrian disciplines, didn’t work in my opinion. It is a good addition to the horse event but it is no event for the fans worldwide who get their information from the Internet, yet.

To qualify you have to visit the CVI’s. The World Cup series takes place between November & May with five legs. It must be very expensive to travel to the arenas between Leipzig and Bordeaux. It also costs time & neither horses nor vaulters get a break in the off season. To get some relieve on that, many athletes share their horse, an arrangement that is only possible in vaulting. It seems like that is becoming normal.

For Patrick Looser the times, where the vaulter, horse & lunger were such a close team that this relationship was an advantage in the competition, are over. Like he said on voltigierservice.de “A good vaulter is someone who can shift to an unfamiliar horse & empathize with it easily.” He also told the website, that there are many vaulters that are successful with it.  This doesn’t sound like the former horse sport, where the animal and human were best friends. But on the other hand, the vaulter that isn’t able to change horses will be susceptible to horse trouble anyway. Vaulters not from Europe have to borrow a horse most times. Maybe that’s one of the reasons they don’t participate in the FEI World Cup.

The Competitors

In the final 2015 we saw six nations in the women competition. Not bad! But it is an exception & all of them were from Europe. Why is this thing called WORLD cup? As long as all legs are in Europe there is no chance that other countries could make it to the selection trial. Our readers had an easy job to predict most of the results

It is so difficult for the teams (that are not part of the World Cup at the moment), pas de deux & individuals to finance the “normal” season & for the smaller countries to get some participants to the world championships, that they can’t do the world cup, too. Then there are that many legs, that some pairs have trouble to make it to all of them due to their studies or jobs or that they can’t borrow the horse. As most of the legs have the same vaulters, maybe they should think about shortening the process.

Patrick Looser who won the World Cup twice, told voltigierservice.de on March 17th that “the vaulters should take the World Cup more serious. Their priority should be on the World Cup where we meet the other disciplines.” He sees a big chance for the sport in it.

The Coverage

Photo by FEI
Photo by FEI

Our big thank you goes out to Andrea Fuchshumer who provided us with many pictures from the final and Julia Schwartz who did so from Leipzig. Sometimes the FEI publishes the videos of the first three places, but that’s not enough to connect the dots. Most of the fans are younger than 18 or are still studying so they can’t afford a subscription fee for FEI TV.

Possible Solutions

After the final in Graz judges, vaulters & FEI officials discussed the situation. According to voltigierservice.de the vaulters would prefer an upgrade of the series because it isn’t attractive enough. That could be:

  • Allocation of world ranking points
  • The direct qualification for the next world / continental championship (which would save them the CVI’s in spring & summer)

Summarizing, an advantage is the big audience they reach in the arena with a great atmosphere, that an only-vaulting competition couldn’t afford. Such a format has lots of potential but is the sport already big enough & ready for it?

Adele Feuerstein

I am Adele Feuerstein the founder of the blog. I used to vault & train teams in Germany. Now I am only an observer & love to share my knowledge about international vaulting with you.

Leave a Reply