Omaha stays in the picture

If you thought you’d heard the last of Omaha when the Longines FEI World Cup Show Jumping and Dressage World Cup finals wrapped up, think again.

The Omaha Equestrian Foundation, which presented the incredibly successful Cup competition, is keeping busy.

It is offering an opportunity for anyone interested in the eight international disciplines (show jumping, dressage, para-equestrian, driving, eventing, reining, vaulting and endurance) to meet with the country’s top equestrian athletes, trainers, team managers, chefs d’equipe, coaches, veterinarians, physiotherapists and other leaders.

Lisa Roskens, who brought the Cups to Omaha and came up with the idea for the foundation, said it is committed to bringing more international-caliber competitions to the Midwest, developing opportunities for riders who aspire to perform at the highest levels of their equestrian discipline.

“We want those who are interested in these disciplines to have a chance to hear first-hand the vision held by the leaders and decision-makers of the sport,” she said, “and to be able to talk with other horsemen who share their interests in international equestrian disciplines. OEF is proud to host US Equestrian’s first-ever High Performance Review.”

Who will you see in Omaha? Show jumping coaches Robert Ridland and Anne Kursinski, dressage coaches Robert Dover and Debbie McDonald, as well as eventing individual gold medalist and coach Leslie Law.

“This will be the first time we have ever gathered representatives of all the FEI  international discipline High Performance Programs together for the express purpose of determining how we can  meet our goal of sustained success at the World and Games level,” said Will Connell, US Equestrian’s Director of Sport.

“We want to bring all perspectives together to determine how we are better able to meet challenges in the future, grab opportunities as they arise and ensure that we are truly focused on developing performance.  If we are to be truly effective at supporting our athletes (human and equine) to deliver medal winning performances, then we must be willing to challenge the effectiveness of ourselves and our programs,” Connell said.

Those interested in attending the dinner, forums and clinic can find more information at www.omahaequestrian.com or by calling 402-930-3079.

Meanwhile, the foundation is starting the InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series,  five nationally televised  1.40-meter speed jumping events that will culminate in the $100,000 Championship at 1.45 meters at the International Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska on April 13, 2018.

The InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series kicks off its first qualifying event Sept. 22 at the HITS Balmoral show in Chicago with a $25,000 Open Speed Class qualifier. The American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri will feature a $25,000 InIt2WinIt qualifying class Oct. 13. Queenie Productions will host a $20,000 InIt2WinIt Open Speed class as a qualifier Nov. 11, 2017 at the St Louis Hunter/Jumper Show in the National Equestrian Center in Missouri. The final qualifying competition will be the $10,000 Monarch Casino jumper stake at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado on Jan. 12, 2018.

“The InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series is part of OEF’s mission to produce international caliber equestrian events that change the way the sport is presented in this country, and to develop Omaha into a hub of the sport horse industry,” said Lisa.

“We want to attract international championships as both educational and economic development opportunities for the community.” To fulfill its strategic plan, OEF seeks to create opportunities for high performance athletes from the Midwest and develop young riders with a clear path to higher levels in the sport.

The International Omaha 2018 will also feature its signature jumping competition, the $130,000 International Omaha Grand Prix. In addition, it will host high level team dressage competition and a Dressage Showcase in conjunction with the United States Dressage Foundation.

All events will be held at the World Cup venue, the CenturyLink Center Omaha, which won rave reviews from World Cup competitors, vendors and fans. The four-day event April 12-15, 2018 is designed to be the Great Equestrian Gathering in the Midwest, according to Mike West, CEO of the foundation.

For ticket, sponsor, VIP and vendor information, call 402-932-4124 or go to.www.internationalomaha.com

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