FEI Dressage World Cup season finale fast approaching with Charlotte Fry in second place on the rankings table

Jessica von Bredow Werndl (GER) and Charlotte Fry (GBR) during the award ceremony from the Grand Prix Freestyle at the FEI Dressage European Championship Riesenbeck 2023 Copyright ©FEI/Leanjo de Koster

The 37th season finale of the global FEI Dressage World Cup series is fast approaching. For the first time, the best dressage athletes in the world will meet for the World Cup Final in the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, from Tuesday, 16 April to Saturday, 20 April, 2024.

Athletes can collect points for the final in four leagues: In the Western European League (WEL), the Central European League (CEL), the North American League (NAL) and the Pacific League (PAL). Out of all those four Leagues 18 riders receive their ticket for the Final in Riyadh.

Western European League (WEL)

The largest group of World Cup finalists comes from the Western European League (WEL), which has nine places up for grabs.

Five-time World Cup winner Isabell Werth (GER) will be travelling to Riyadh as the leader of the WEL: It will be her 25th (!) World Cup Final™ appearance. Werth has won three legs and finished second once, meaning that she has collected a total of 77 points. She has earned these points with her horses DSP Quantaz and Emilio, both of whom are qualified for the final. If everything goes as planned, the 54-year-old will saddle up the 18-year-old Emilio in Riyadh and see him bid farewell to the sport.

World Champion Charlotte Fry (GBR) follows in second place in the World Cup rankings with 74 points (league). She has scored two wins and two-second places, all of which she achieved with Everdale, meaning that the half-brother to World Champion Glamourdale is also her sole option for the Final. Fry was already a World Cup finalist in 2022 with Dark Legend, so Riyadh will be Final number two for the 28-year-old British athlete.

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A very experienced athlete finished the season in third place in the ranking with 72 points: Patrik Kittel from Sweden. Kittel has ridden three different horses, Bonamour, Touchdown and Forever Young HRH, in this World Cup season – that is extraordinary. The well-mounted champion has already taken part in the World Cup Final™ eight times, but has never finished on the podium.

The top nine in the WEL also include Matthias Alexander Rath (GER, 69 points), Nanna Skodborg Merrald (DEN, 64 points), Morgan Barbancon (FRA, 56 points), Raphael Netz (GER, 54 points), Emmelie Scholtens (NED, 54 points) and Borja Carrascosa (ESP, 53 points). Following consultation with her team, Scholtens has already declared that she will not be claiming her place in the Final.

The athlete in tenth place can, therefore, move up into the field of finalists. Belgium’s Flore de Winne and Diana Porsche from Austria are positioned there with 41 points each. In such a case, the highest freestyle result achieved by the riders during the season is decisive. For de Winne this was 80.330 per cent with the ten-year-old Flynn FRH in Mechelen, for Porsche it was 75.820 per cent with Douglas in Basel. This means that de Winne will move up for Scholtens.

The defending champion also comes from the WEL and – as every year – is seeded for the final. Double Olympic Champion Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER) has won the final with her top mare TSF Dalera BB in the past two years.

Central European League (CEL)

The Central European League began its qualifiers back in May 2023 in the Czech Republic. Since then, twelve qualifiers have been held, with the last one scheduled at the beginning of March in Motesice, Slovakia.

Two women have each taken the top spot in the CEL rankings with the full score of four wins, 80 World Cup points: Alisa Glinka for Moldova and Justina Vanagaite for Lithuania. Alisa has won the World Cup with her horses Abercrombie and Aachen, and she has already competed with Aachen in the 2022 Final in Leipzig (GER). Justina relies entirely on her partner Nabab in the World Cup, with whom she has also competed at the FEI World and European Championships and the 2023 World Cup Final .

North American League (NAL)

In the North American League (NAL), the three best results per rider are counted. After nine out of ten qualifications, Benjamin Ebeling (USA) has already secured full points (60 points) with three victories and is firmly in control of the top of the NAL rankings. The 24-year-old Benjamin is the son of Olympic athlete Jan Ebeling and has never competed in a championship or World Cup Final™ before. He now looks set to fulfil this dream with the 16-year-old mare Indeed.

Kevin Kohmann and Anna Marek, also both competing for the USA, have also secured their places in the final, even though there is still one stage of the NAL to go. They are in second and third place in the current World Cup rankings with 57 and 55 points. By winning stage nine in Wellington (USA), the 35-year-old Kohmann, who has never taken part in a championship or World Cup Final™, secured full points for the second time this season. Anna Marek did so as well with Fayvel in qualifiers number seven and eight in Wellington. The NAL now has one more stop to go, the last one at the end of March in Del Mar (USA). Whoever wins this final stage will not be able to overtake Kohmann and Marek on points.

Pacific League

In the Pacific League, participation in the FEI Dressage World Cup Final is decided in the League Final: The winner of the League Final receives the final ticket for Riyadh and this victory was secured in Cambridge-Takapoto, New Zealand, by Melissa Galloway with almost 80 percentage points in her World Cup Freestyle. The Melissa-Windermere J’Obei W pair remained unbeaten throughout the 2023 season and is now on its way to their first World Cup Final™ .

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