THE Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2023 series gets underway tomorrow (Sunday, January 22nd) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates where teams from the Middle East region will be vying for one of two qualifying places up for grabs for the annual Longines Final in Barcelona, Spain.

Again this year, the Final offers the added bonus of an Olympic starting spot for the highest-placed nation not already qualified for Paris 2024. Victory in this treasured series is always very sweet, and the Olympic incentive adds an extra edge of excitement to the 10-leg tournament that embraces three separate leagues around the globe.

The UAE venue will host the single qualifier for countries in the Middle East, while San Miguel de Allende in Mexico will stage the first of three qualifiers in the North America, Central America and Caribbean region in April. That league will then move on to San Juan Capistrano in California, USA in mid-May before finishing up with its third and final leg in Vancouver, Canada in early June.

Europe Division 1 series

Meanwhile, the mid-summer six-leg Europe Division 1 series, which will run over a 10-week period, will get underway at St Gallen in Switzerland in June followed swiftly by rounds in Sopot, Poland and Rotterdam in The Netherlands. Falsterbo in Sweden and Hickstead in Britain will take centre stage in July before this series of qualifiers winds up in the RDS at Dublin Horse Show in August.

Opening leg

Last year it was the Irish who won the opening leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series, also staged in Abu Dhabi, but it was the teams from UAE and Saudi Arabia who qualified from that fixture for the 2022 Final.

Team France arrived in Barcelona as overall leaders in Europe Division 1 after a great run of form, but it was Team Belgium who had the biggest smiles on their faces on the last day when not only clinching the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2022 series title but also the coveted Olympic qualifying spot they really wanted.