We’re well and truly on the final pathway to Pratoni now, and to help you prepare for the biggest week of the eventing season, we’ve collated absolutely everything you need to know into one handy hub. Bookmark it and check it whenever you want to know the latest updates – we’ll be adding hot news, article links, and coverage updates daily to ensure you don’t miss a thing. First up: the essentials.
THE DATE: The FEI Eventing World Championships will take place from Wednesday, September 14, to Sunday, September 18, 2022.
THE LOCATION: It’s time to live la dolce vita in Rome, baby — or, more specifically, Rocca di Papa, a small town located around 25km south-east of Rome in the Alban volcanic hills. Those volcanic hills aren’t just a major point of geological interest – they’re also the defining trait of Pratoni as an eventing venue. The equestrian centre has a rich history of championship-level sport: it was developed to host the equestrian disciplines at the 1960 Rome Olympics, and has since been used for a number of Pony, Junior, and Young Rider European Championships across the disciplines, the European Eventing Championships in 1995 and 2007, and the 1998 World Equestrian Games.
THE COMPETITION: The much-loved World Equestrian Games format, which brought all the disciplines together at one venue, is no more. This year, Pratoni will host the eventing and the driving, while showjumping, dressage, para-dressage, and vaulting are to be held in Herning, Denmark. As always, though, the eventing will run at ‘Championship’ level, which isn’t quite CCI5*, though some argue that a World Championships run counts as a run at the level. Certainly, the dressage test is a five-star one: this year, we’ll see our competitors tackle FEI CCI5* Test B, which is the test we’ve seen used at all three CCI5* events held this season so far. Cross-country, though, isn’t quite the same length or technicality as a pure five-star: instead, it’s a ten-minute track (compared to Badminton’s 11:45 track!) of 5600-5800m and 38-42 jumping efforts, which is actually shorter still than many CCI4*-L courses, though we can expect a higher level of technicality and plenty of long, slow alternative routes to challenge the best and educate the up-and-comers alike. The final day’s five-star showjumping runs in reverse order of merit but unlike the Olympics, there’s only one round of jumping, rather than a team round and then a second individual decider.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: Medals, hugely coveted titles, and, crucially, qualifying spots for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The World Championships offers up the first chance to get a team slot booked for the Games (for everyone other than France, of course, who automatically book their slot as the host country), and so the fight is fierce: the top seven teams, France excluded, will earn their qualification and won’t have to worry about chasing it down via alternative qualification systems, such as Nations Cup series victory in 2023 or Pan-American or European Championship successes, for example.
THE TEAMS: It’s still early days in the entry process, and so we don’t have a final tally of which countries will be coming forward, nor whom they’ll send as their athletes of choice, though every national federation with qualified athletes is welcome to submit entries. The final deadline for selected entries is the 5th of September, but we’ll expect to see many announcements come earlier than that — especially from the continental European contingent, who are largely using France’s Haras du Pin CCIO4*-S (August 11-14) as a final trial. Keep the Ultimate Guide bookmarked to get a first look at long and shortlists as they’re announced, as well as final selections and a link to our bumper form guides. In the meantime, you can scroll down to jump ahead to team announcements.
THE FORMAT: It’s important to note is that the team format at the World Championships isn’t the format we saw used at the Olympics — there’s no confusing substitutions allowed mid-competition, and we will see dropscores in each team. Teams will have three or four horse-and-rider combinations, with three scores to count, and they’ll have an individual slot to use, too, meaning that each nation can send a maximum of five competitive combinations to Pratoni. If nations cannot field a team, they can use up to two individual slots.
THE QUALIFICATION PROCESS: To gain qualification for the World Championships, a horse and rider combination must gain their minimum eligibility requirement (MER) at either a CCI5*-L OR a CCI4*-L and a CCI4*-S. An MER is gained when the pair complete the competition within the following constraints:
- a dressage test with a score of 45 (55%) or lower
- a clear cross-country round (though they can activate one frangible device or have a flag penalty), with a time of less than 75 seconds over the optimum time, if at four-star, or 100 seconds over the optimum if at five-star. That’s 30 time penalties or fewer at four-star and 40 time penalties or fewer at five-star
- no more than four rails in showjumping
The MERs can be obtained from the preceding calendar year to the closing date for entries, which is September 5.
THE OFFICIALS: There’s a truly top-notch cast of ground jury members on duty in Italy. Sweden’s Christina Klingspor will serve as president of the ground jury, while Canada’s Peter Gray and Austria’s Christian Steiner will work alongside her. Though the trio haven’t worked together in full previously because of a new FEI rule that prevents it, we’ve seen them in pairs at some prior events this season: Christina and Peter were part of the ground jury at CHIO Aachen in July, while Christian and Peter both worked in Kentucky. Though they were on separate ground juries there — Peter was part of the four-star team, while Christian was on the five-star line-up — they were able to meet and discuss their philosophies and ideals. Curious about what working as a ground jury member actually entails? Check out our chat with Peter from the Pratoni test event, where he acted as President of the ground jury.
The FEI Technical Delegate for the week is Poland’s Marcin Konarski, who is perhaps best known as event organiser for the popular Strzegom FEI events, while the Assistant TD is Italy’s Alberto Casolari. The cross-country course will be designed by Italy’s Giuseppe della Chiesa, who is also Show Director for the competition. Giuseppe has been a course designer for twenty years and previously designed Badminton from 2014 to 2016. He was also the course designer for Pratoni’s European Championships in 2007. He’s assisted in the role by France’s Alain Ponsot.
Italy’s Uliano Vezzani will design Sunday’s showjumping track on the gently undulating grass arena, which is a fitting use of his specific skillset: he’s a renowned designer in pure showjumping who has fought for a return to jumping on grass, and though the test event at Pratoni was his first-ever foray into designing for this sport, he proved that his perspective brings uniquely challenging technical questions to the fore. Expect plenty of drama on the final day.
THE REIGNING CHAMPIONS: Great Britain took gold in 2018 in Tryon, and return as the hot favourites to win again this year — and their European and Olympic team golds will certainly bolster their confidence. They also scooped individual gold at the last Worlds, thanks to Ros Canter and Allstar B. We won’t see ‘Alby’, who was sadly euthanised this season, back to reclaim his title, but Ros has certainly made a great bid for selection with her rising-ten-year-old Lordships Graffalo, who was second at Badminton this spring on his debut at the level.
[Times are listed in Central European Time. For further global time zones, keep scrolling!]
Wednesday, 14 September:
- 2.00 p.m.: First horse inspection
Thursday, 15 September:
- 9.10 a.m.: Guinea pig test
- 9.30 a.m.: Morning dressage session
- 2.00 p.m.: Afternoon dressage session
Friday, 16 September:
- 9.30 a.m.: Morning dressage session
- 2.00 p.m.: Afternoon dressage session
Saturday, 17 September:
- 10.30 a.m.: Cross-country (team and individual)
Sunday, 18 September:
- 9.00 a.m.: Final horse inspection
- 11.30 a.m.: Showjumping, part one
- 2.30 p.m.: Showjumping, part two — top 25 competitors
- 4.00 p.m.: Medal ceremonies
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TEAM ORDER OF GO: Draw TBC at 6.00 p.m. Italian time on Tuesday, September 13.
WHERE TO WATCH: You certainly can’t go wrong with watching in person, because Pratoni is a particularly beautiful, vibrant spot for fans of the sport. Tickets are still available here, or you can sign up to join the volunteer team here. We’ll be bringing you a jam-packed spectators guide soon, which we’ll link here, so watch this space. If you want to follow along from afar, there’ll be a live-stream available for each phase via ClipMyHorse.TV. You’ll need a subscription to access the stream, which starts at $17.03/month — but will also get you access to the entirety of their global streaming schedule, including all the World Championships disciplines, plus a jam-packed archive of competitions and programmes.
HOW TO FOLLOW: No matter where in the world you are, you’ll never be starved for content from the World Championships, which promise to be enormously well-attended by the world’s media heavyweights. Here are some of the Instagram accounts and hashtags you’ll want to follow to see the competition from all angles…
Accounts: Pratoni 2022, Horse&Hound, The Chronicle of the Horse, FEI Eventing, Equestrian Team GBR, US Equestrian, Eventing Ireland, ESNZ, An Eventful Life, the Italian Equestrian Federation, and Equestrian Australia are among the boots on the ground. Don’t forget to follow EN, too – we’ll be bringing you all the insanity in the middle you could possibly need, with Tilly Berendt and Shelby Allen on site in Rome. Want to know the juiciest stats throughout the competition? Make sure you follow EquiRatings and sign up for the super Eventing Manager game to play along.
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENTS AND UPDATES:
Horse Show Log Book
Horse Show Log Book: Horse Riding and Halter Log Journal - Keep a Record up to 6 Judges per page - Eventing - Halter - Jumping - Equestrian