Day 2 at the Omaha FEI World Cup Finals brought the vaulting and dressage horses to the horse inspection area to face the scrutiny of the ground jury seeking the green light for their chance to compete. In the end all horses in each sport were accepted, but not without a bit of breath holding for dressage rider Dinja van Liere from the Netherlands.
When van Liere’s mount, the 11-year-old Dutch stallion Hermes N.O.P., jogged, the ground jury took their time discussing him and he was sent to the hold box for a while. When Hermes trotted again, the ground jury took some more time to visit, but finally they accepted him to start competition.
Ten vaulting horses (five from Germany and five from the USA), were all accepted to compete beginning Thursday, April 6 at 1:15 p.m. Central US Time. The horses will be shared between a few of the vaulters from the 10 different countries competing.
Other things going on at the Omaha World Cup Tuesday included school field trips with children learning about horse care, horse breeds and how horses tie into the Native American culture of the region in the education area. And, the jumpers had a scheduled training session where each horse and rider pair had a set time to take a turn over jumps in the main arena. The dressage and vaulting athletes had a chance to familiarize their horses with the main arena too.
The Omaha World Cup welcome reception and draw party capped the day’s events in the early evening. In addition to the draw for the starting order for all three sports, there was also a performance of Native American music and dance with tribal educator Steve Tamayo on the microphone explaining the significance of the songs, drum beats and steps. The presence of the Native American performers is a result of this year’s World Cup Finals working with Bluebird Cultural Initiative to teach of the importance of horses to Great Plains indigenous people.
As part of the performance, tribal elder and educator Jerome Kills Small sang a “blessing of the stable” while Tamayo walked around three competition horses (one representing each sport: dressage horse Serenade MF; jumper Eastern Jam, and vaulting horse Killian) from the USA standing in the arena waving a native plant frond to spread good luck. The crowd was captivated as the blessing was performed. Be sure to watch some videos about the Native American culture of the region.
The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was announcer Adam Cromarty; he provided color commentary as the draw progressed. For dressage the two athletes drawing names and the corresponding starting order were Steffen Peters from the USA and Dinja van Liere from the Netherlands. For show jumping McLain Ward (USA) and Martin Fuchs (SUI) fished out the information. And for vaulting, the USA’s Kimberly Palmer and Germany’s Jannik Weiland performed the draw.
For this Omaha World Cup Finals, our MacMillan Photography group is picking some “World Cup Wows” to share. Our new crew member Michelle Downey shares that the Native American blessing of the stable ceremony was very moving to her. For our associate photographer Shelley Higgins and me watching the absolutely gorgeous Hanoverian stallion Franziskus FRH, handled by rider Ingrid Klimke of Germany in the horse inspection, has been a highlight from today so far. Although every horse here is special, whether they be competition horses or the horses here representing their breed in the demonstration area; we are privileged to see them all for sure!
Looking back to yesterday, the feeling of walking into the amazing facility here at the CHI Health Arena and Convention Center, with all of the beautiful sculptures out front and the expansive interior, was certainly another “wow” for us. Witnessing the exuberance of the powerful show jumpers as the pranced their way through their horse inspection and arena familiarization was another notable moment.
Competition starts tomorrow with the dressage Grand Prix Freestyle at 1:15 p.m. Central and the speed class for the jumpers at 7:15 p.m. To follow news from the competition, go to the FEI World Cup website and to watch, subscribe to FEI TV.
For the complete coverage of the 2023 FEI World Cup in Omaha, click here.
This article about the FEI World Cup dressage and vaulting inspection is a web exclusive for Horse Illustrated magazine. Click here to subscribe!