The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) today launched a new international event in the form of the World Cup Jumping North American League that will take place across three countries - the United States, Mexico and Canada.
The League, for which Longines is the title partner, will see 14 athletes qualifying for next year's FEI World Cup Jumping Final, set to take place in Gothenburg, Sweden, from March 23 to 28, and there will be at least $2.4 million (£1.6 million/€2.3 million) in prize money for the taking.
It is due to get underway in Bromont, Canada, this August before travelling to New York, Washington, Lexington, Wellington, Ocala, Rancho Murieta, Del Mar, Las Vegas and Thermal in the US, Toronto, Langley and Calgary in Canada and Valle de Bravo in Mexico.
Beezie Madden, the most decorated American female equestrian of all time and currently the only woman in the world rankings top 10, American Gold Cup winner Jessica Springsteen and up-and-coming athlete Hannah Selleck were on hand to announce the launch of the event here at SPORTELAmerica today.
Also present was FEI first vice-president and jumping committee chair John Madden and Longines vice-president and head of international marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli.
"We are part of an exceptional sport because we get to rely on a very special partner: the horse," Springsteen, the daughter of legendary rock duo Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, said.
"Our horses are so much more than an animal.
"They are hard-working talented athletes with their own personalities.
"It's an awesome sport and I'm so excited to share my passion for it with you today."
John Madden, meanwhile, said the FEI World Cup Jumping North American League is a "massive boost" to the sport.
"The new League is a huge opportunity for our athletes to shine on a North American stage and showcase top-level equestrian sport to fans across North America and the world," he added.
Capelli spoke of his firm's pride in supporting the new competition.
"This association is part of our long-term commitment with the FEI as we are its top partner, but also the title partner, official timekeeper and watch of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Western European League, Chinese League and, as of today, the North American League," he explained.
This year's FEI World Cup Jumping Final is due to be staged in Las Vegas from April 15 to 19.
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