The Longines FEI World Cup Finals back to mythical venue

The Longines FEI World Cup Finals back to mythical venue

The Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final and the FEI World Cup Dressage Final that bring the 2017-2018 season to a close, will return to a venue where some of the greatest pages in the history of equestrian sport have been written: the AccorHotels Arena in Paris-Bercy. The GL events Group, the organiser of the Equita exhibition and the last French finals, which were held in Lyon in 2014, will be in charge of the organisation. We look forward to seeing you from 11th to 15th April 2018.

A rare event

Intense moments of sport in front of 40,000 spectators throughout the whole event, in a brand-new arena: this is what awaits Parisian and international audiences at the AccorHotels Arena from 11th to 15th April 2018, thanks to the GL events Group, Longines, the Fédération Equestre Internationale and the Fédération Française d’Equitation. It is only the third time that France will simultaneously host both the jumping and dressage finals, which attract the best riders on the planet every year.

With regards to jumping, these “indoor world championships” were invented in 1978 by a Swiss journalist, Max Ammann at the request of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the then president of the Fédération Equestre Internationale. They were modelled on the skiing World Cup and aimed at improving media coverage of horse riding. It is a global competition bringing together the best riders in the world who must qualify for the event on their own continents through regional leagues. The European league is recognised as the most difficult and the 13 qualifying legs include two French cities, Lyon in November and Bordeaux in February.

Paris and the FEI World Cups: some of the greatest pages in equestrian sport

Ever since the Palais Omnisport de Paris-Bercy opened in 1984, horses and the show jumping World Cup have written some great pages of their history in the French capital. The first winner of a Grand Prix World Cup leg in Bercy, in April 1984, was Fritz Ligges, riding Ramzes ahead of the Brazilian wizard Nelson Pessoa on Larramy. The venue went on to host some magnificent sporting occasions including, in 1987, the first World Cup final ever to be held in France, won by the American rider Katherine Burdsall and The Natural, the first show jumping horse to be sold for over $1 million. Four years later, in 1991, the first French World Cup Dressage Final saw victory of the black stallion Matador, ridden by Finland’s Kyra Kyrklund.

On the show jumping circuit, it was the era of the historic duels between Jappeloup (the winner in 1986) and Milton (victory over Jappeloup in 1988, and winner again in 1990). Moreover, it was at the truly magical POPB that Great Britain’s John Whitaker chose to ride in 1992 to bid farewell to this horse that has left an indelible mark on its sport.

The AccorHotels Arena was renovated in 2015 and is once again ready to resonate to the sound of the hooves of this year’s greatest horses. A sound that audiences here will soon find familiar: both the Longines FEI Jumping Final and the FEI Dressage Final are set to become regular features in Paris.

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