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US jumping team demoted

United States demoted within FEI Nations Cup League

"We just weren't good enough," US show jumping coach George Morris said.

America crashed out of the top series this weekend during the last rank-deciding competition in Rotterdam.

"While we're disappointed that we are being isn't a disaster in terms of our preparation for next year's Olympic Games. In fact, it may be an opportunity because we don't have to go to all eight Top League shows next year," said Jim Wolf, the US Equestrian Federation's executive director of sport programs. That can help the US save horses for the biggest competition of all, London 2012.

After a 10th-place finish at last year's World Equestrian Games, which in hindsight may have portended trouble in the Nations' Cup series, America will have to scramble for a slot in the London Games. However, there is an excellent shot to qualify during the Pan American Games in Mexico as their biggest competition, Canada and Brazil, already have their tickets to London.

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Management for the US team blame a few factors for their failure to stay within the top league; one being that all the top competitions are within Europe allowing European-based riders to travel relatively easily to compete, whereas the US-based riders entail at least two weeks away from home and other commitments. They also blame American competitions for the lowering of standards with most of the competitions being national local horse shows with fence heights that tend to be lower than they should be to prepare people for the international scene.

Next year, although the Olympics will take precedence, "We will very actively try to go through the Promotional League to gain our spot back in the Super League in 2013," said Wolf.
Despite the problems this year, "We came close to pulling it off," said Wolf. "I don't think people appreciate how close the competition is at this level. You make one mistake, one lapse of judgment and it's the difference between being first and sixth."


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