The German show jumping team’s withdrawal from the St. Gallen (Switzerland) qualifier leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup has effectively ended the nation’s bid to participate in the series final.
The June 1 competition was the Germans’ first nominated event for points gathering in the 2013 Furusiyya series. But when massive rainfall amounts in the 24 hours prior to the start took their toll on the course, chef d’equipe Otto Becker announced his riders would not compete.
“We chose to withdraw because of the welfare of our horses,” Becker told WorldofShowJumping.com. “We didn’t want to take any risks with this footing.”
Course designer Gerard Lachat of Switzerland made modifications to his design, and the second round was scrapped. (Instead four riders, one each from the four nations tied in the first round, competed in a jump-off.)
But despite these adjustments, Germany made the decision to sit out. And because Furusiyya series rules state that any federation that commits to qualifying for the final but “does not respect its commitment…for any reason, other than Force Majeure, loses its points for the entire season,” it ended their bid to reach the series final, slated for Barcelona in September.
“It was a real shame that the other nations didn’t speak up about the conditions,” said rider Ludger Beerbaum in a statement on his website. “In the beginning three or four teams said that they wouldn’t compete, but then the FEI told us that the countries not competing wouldn’t have a chance of making it to the final and also that they probably would be out of the first division. That made the other nations change their minds. If some other countries would have followed their initial decision not to ride, it would probably look totally different for Germany now.
“It’s not good news for Germany that we won’t qualify for the final, but of course that is not as bad as having a horse with an injured tendon after the class,” Beerbaum continued. “On the other hand, the final will not be worth half as much when a country such as Germany isn’t in it.”
Beerbaum said he and his fellow riders don’t regret their decision, and they’ll make it again whenever necessary.
“There is so much talk about the welfare of the horses and that this always shall be the main priority, and then we are punished for prioritizing exactly this,” he said.
“Questions related to this will come up at every press conference after every Nations Cup, and it will be an entitled criticism of the FEI,” he added. “Because their decision in St. Gallen was based on anything but horsemanship.”
Great Britain won the St. Gallen qualifier.