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Before all the action gets underway in the FEI World Cup™ Finals for Jumping and Dressage here in Omaha, there’s the important task of determining who goes in what order.
Now of those of you who are new to this, it’s kind of a big deal as no-one really wants to be first. Reason being, the further down the list you go, the more time you have to study the other riders and see where potential areas of trouble might lie, that would mean losing valuable points.
There are 16 riders in Dressage and 37 in Jumping. So how do we decide?
Plastic balls with a name in each are pulled out at random, along with a random number, and that’s their position. This is also a great excuse for a bit of a party, and we got 4 great athletes to help out.
Oh, and we did it at a Zoo…
The FEI World Cup™ Dressage draw was lively, with Britain’s Carl Hester cracking up the room when he announced “And the winner is….La La Land!” when he was drawing with Irish Judy Reynolds. He tipped Germany’s Isabell Werth for top spot, especially as she claimed the best spot - last to go.
Judy, with typical Irish humour, gave a big cheeky grin and replied - “Me!”
...and young American Jumper Karl Cook, whose girlfriend Kaley Cuoco from “The Big Bang Theory” is also an avid equestrian, drew plenty of laughs during the draw, along with fellow-American Laura Kraut. He had the last laugh though, when he drew himself in the prime position of 37th!
Kraut pointed out however this will be a tough one to take. “Winning it is always difficult, and we’ve got so many of the best riders in the world here” she said.
So now we know the starting order, it’s time for the games to commence.
Check out the lists with the links below, and be sure to tune into FEI TV today to catch all the action live, right here in Omaha.
Text by Louise Parkes & Paul Stretton/FEI
Images by Cara Grimshaw/FEI