On Saturday, March 5, three separate Nations’ Cup team events will be held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. Following the same format as the traditional Nations’ Cup, a featured event at the Winter Equestrian Festival since 2002, teams of four riders each, with the best three scores counting, will represent their countries in the Nations’ Cups for Children, Junior, and Young Riders.
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Ireland, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela will all be fielding Nations’ Cup teams, cheered on by legions of fans who are encouraged to show their patriotism.
For many of the participants, the Hollow Creek Farm Nations’ Cup represents the first opportunity to compete as members of a team for their country under International Equestrian Federation (FEI) rules.
“Hollow Creek Farm really enjoys hosting the Nations’ Cup for Children, Junior and Young Rider competitors,” said Angel Karolyi of Hollow Creek Farm. “For many of the riders, this event will be their first opportunity to compete under FEI rules in a team competition that also has the importance of a top championship.
“The idea is to begin to set the groundwork for young riders to compete together as a team,” continued Karolyi, a veteran of Nations’ Cup and major games competition. “The Hollow Creek Farm Nations’ Cup Series gives them the opportunity to experience the team format before they reach the top levels of international competition. It is very important to expose these young riders to the responsibility of not only performing well for yourself, but for others who are relying on you.”
The first round of each Nations’ Cup competition will be held in the International Arena during the afternoon, with the second round held under the lights at night. In the evening session, the Children’s Nations’ Cup for riders aged 12 to 14 will be held first, followed by the Junior Nations’ Cup for riders aged 14 to 18. The Young Riders Nations’ Cup will be Saturday’s third and final team competition, featuring competitors aged 16 to 21.
Competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival, considered by many to be the winter mecca of show jumping sport, is the dream of numerous riders around the globe, regardless of age.
“To be able to give these young people exposure to such a high quality event as up and coming athletes in the sport is very important to Hollow Creek Farm,” said Karolyi, who represented Venezuela at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. “We hope the experience inspires them to dream of how far they could go in this sport, and to start setting goals in order to get there. We want these young riders to be excited for the future.”Hollow Creek Farm has a living example of the springboard its Nations’ Cup Series can provide. Its star rider, 19-year-old Emanuel Andrade, competed in the Junior Nations’ Cup in both 2013 and 2014 representing his native Venezuela. He has since gone on to compete at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, and at the 2015 Pan American Games held in Toronto, Canada, where he was involved in the jump-off for the individual bronze medal.
While Andrade got his first taste of international team competition in the Hollow Creek Farm Junior Nations’ Cup, he will be a member of Venezuela’s senior Nations’ Cup team at the Winter Equestrian Festival for the second time in 2016. His story proves the success of Hollow Creek Farm’s mission to provide talented young riders with the opportunity to grow and develop in the sport, both as team members and as individuals.
In addition to the Nations’ Cup events, Hollow Creek Farm also sponsors Children’s, Junior, and Young Riders’ Welcome Classics on Thursday, March 3, as well as Grand Prix classes on Sunday, March 6, for individual honors. All competition takes place in the International Arena, putting the future of the sport in the spotlight.