Countdown to the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in its Final Days – Horses and Athletes Gather in Riyadh.

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Horses and athletes arrive for the FEI World Cup™ Finals in Riyadh - Photo by EN GARDE/ Boor

Edited Press Release

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – With just days left until the highly anticipated FEI World Cup™ Finals, Riyadh is abuzz with preparations for the prestigious equestrian event. Scheduled from April 16 to 20, the Riyadh International Conference and Exhibition Center is undergoing a transformation into a global hub of equestrian excellence, set to welcome top athletes and enthusiasts from around the world.

The venue is bustling with activity as horses and grooms settle into the expansive 2,800 square meters of air-conditioned stables. Complementing this is an air-conditioned warm-up tent and two indoor warm-up arenas, ensuring optimal conditions for both athletes and their equine partners.
Amidst the final preparations, athlete riders share their excitement and aspirations for the upcoming FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final:

Charlotte Fry (UK): “I am so excited to be competing in the FEI World Cup™ Final, as it’s only my second-ever Final and the first with Everdale. He’s been in consistent top form this year so I’m looking forward to showing him off in Riyadh. I hope we both enjoy every second of this incredible experience.”

Justina Vanagaite (LTU): “First, I need to say that I’m very happy to have the opportunity to ride alongside the best riders in the world! It’s a huge privilege. For us it will be the second FEI World Cup™ Final, I think this time we will be much more experienced and stronger as a team. My main goal is to enjoy every moment in the arena and make the audience and judges happy! I enjoy every second of my freestyle, so I hope spectators will do the same.”

Flore de Winne (BEL): “This is a trip of a lifetime; I have never expected to make it this far! We are going to have fun, give it our very best, and enjoy every moment of this unique experience.”

Raphael Netz (GER): “My first impression arriving at the Riyadh showground was that it is just phenomenal. I am absolutely blown away by how big everything is and how well-organized everything seems to be in the first moments. The stables are very spacious and they are perfectly cooled down.
Our horses have everything they need, there are plentiful amenities around us; many many water stations close to the boxes, easy-to-access electricity, freezers for the ice boots, and more than enough large warm-up arenas, which are also air-conditioned.
The first time I went into the main arena I was – again – totally captured by how big it is. It is looking beautiful even if it is not completely finished yet. You can feel the atmosphere already. I can’t wait for it to be full of spectators and I can’t wait to dance together with my beautiful horse in that main ring.
My goal for the next week is, to gain experience, learn, and enjoy this phenomenal event. It is my first time competing at the FEI World Cup™ Finals, and I plan to approach it with an open mind and without expectation. My main goal is to be focused on connecting with my horse, listen to his cues, and live through the experience.”

Borja Carrascosa (ESP): “I’m really looking forward to the Final in Riyadh. It has always been my dream to take part in the FEI World Cup™ Final, and now it is going to happen! We are also incredibly proud of Sir Hubert NRW who has now been with us for six years. He started at international Grand Prix level only over a year ago but has been developing very consistently since. Hubert has never flown before, but he is now experienced enough when it comes to traveling to competitions and we are pretty sure that he will do a great job! We will do our best in Riyadh and enjoy the experience!”

Melissa Galloway (NZL): “Riding at an FEI World Cup™ Final has been one of my biggest dreams and goals in my career. And to be achieving this in a place like Riyadh… What an experience it’s going to be! I am feeling incredibly blessed to have this opportunity and very proud to be representing New Zealand!”

Kevin Kohmann (USA): “It has not been so long since I have become an American citizen so it makes me extra proud to represent the United States of America at Championships now, it adds an extra layer of honor for me to be here.
My horse and I have known each other for a very long time, but we parted ways in between before being reunited thanks to a close friend and my family. It does feel like it was ‘meant to be’ between Denzel (Dünensee) and me.  My horse and I love our Avicci Freestyle, I just love riding to the music, and I can’t wait to perform it in the FEI World Cup™ Final Atmosphere.” 

Matthias Alexander Rath (GER): “My first FEI World Cup™ Final was with Triviant back in 2010. I was 26 and Triviant and I were both still very young. Now, with Destacado, I am approaching the Final with a completely different set of expectations.
With our four qualifications, achieved with relatively minimal effort, we have positioned ourselves well in the ranking and Destacado was always placed in the top three. I think that speaks for the horse and for the consistency he has shown in the World Cup™ season. He is in top physical condition and is in full flow.
I also think it’s very good that the Final is being held in Riyadh. I think we absolutely have to include the Middle Eastern and Asian countries if we want to develop our sport globally – Show Jumping is certainly way ahead of us. I think it would be completely wrong for us to limit Dressage to Europe and America.
Even if it’s not directly comparable, I was at the Asian Games last year and I’ve also been to the show in Doha, both of which were fantastic events and I’m very sure that we’ll also have a great event in Riyadh.”
 
The FEI World Cup™ Finals in Riyadh will culminate in the thrilling showdown of the FEI Dressage World Cup™, marking the culmination of the 2023–24 Dressage and Jumping World Cup Seasons. This historic event signifies the first time these prestigious competitions are hosted in the Middle East, highlighting Saudi Arabia’s dedication to promoting equestrian sports in the region.

Join us in Riyadh to celebrate the rich legacy of Saudi Arabia’s equestrian heritage and embrace the captivating future of this remarkable city.

Horses and athletes arrive for the FEI World Cup™ Finals in Riyadh – Photo by EN GARDE/ Boor