NARG Releases Sport Report: 2020 Winter Venues

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When the North American Riders Group last sent a release about plans for the return of the NARG Top 25, the terms COVID-19 pandemic, shelter-in-place order, social distancing and face masks were not rampant in our daily vocabulary. As we dealt with the challenges of a global issue on an international horse show level, and rearranged our schedules to stay at home until competition begins again, NARG decided to issue a Sport Report focusing on the Winter Venues.

NARG Top 25 work began last fall when we revisited the evaluation form, and reached out to managers, riders and owners to get feedback. As a result, and to level the playing field, the evaluations include subjective scoring, plus NARG research and points awarded via a questionnaire answered by management.

In North America, the competition year kicked off with a winter season comprised of 21 CSI 3*, 4* and 5* events over an 11-week period, leading directly into a busy spring season that had 12 more events of this caliber plus a Longines FEI World Cup™ Final that were to be complete by the end of May.

By the time that mid-March hit and shows were canceled, 19 shows over nine weeks at eight venues throughout North America were in the books and evaluations well underway. These events and the venues that hosted them are the focus of this first edition of the NARG Sport Report.


WHAT HAPPENED IN A DECADE

The sport of show jumping has evolved in the decade since we gave a voice to the riders, owners and trainers in North America. The number of FEI events offered has more than doubled, but more importantly the star-ratings went up. For example, in 2010 there were four CSI5* events on the calendar, with three of them in summer or fall in Calgary; in 2020, there were 20 CSI5* events on the calendar, with eight (40%) scheduled in Wellington, Mexico City and Miami, before the Canadian season even commenced. Of course, these are pre COVID-19, but illustrate the point of how North America has stepped up in this regard.

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