Omaha, Nebraska – April 12, 2017 – Following the extraordinarily successful 2017 FEI World Cup™ Finals held in Omaha, Nebraska, March 29 – April 2, the Omaha Equestrian Foundation (OEF), producer of the Finals, has announced a strategic plan to build on the event’s success.
The OEF’s mission is twofold: to bring equestrian sport into the mainstream market by changing the way it is presented in this country, and to develop Omaha into a hub of the sport horse industry attracting championship competitions as both educational and economic development opportunities for the community.
The OEF, a certified 501(c)(3) not-for-profit foundation, has been committed to building a world-class equestrian experience in Omaha over the past several years. It created and developed The International Omaha, an internationally sanctioned equestrian show jumping and dressage experience now going into its sixth year. The successful growth of that event helped secure the OEF’s bid to host the 2017 FEI World Cup™ Finals.
The city of Omaha welcomed 52,119 spectators from all over the globe, including celebrities, to watch 58 of the world’s best show jumping and dressage riders from 26 countries compete under one roof in the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final and FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final at the CenturyLink Center. In addition to the exhilarating competition, there were educational demonstrations, excellent VIP amenities, entertainment, and fantastic shopping opportunities at more than 140 vendors. The event received glowing reviews from the competitors, media, spectators, and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).
“The amazing OEF team has been working very hard over the past few years to turn this vision into reality,” said Lisa Roskens, Chairman of the OEF, which produced the Finals and is now focused on growing equestrian sport to a higher level in the region. “Our goal has always been to elevate equestrian sport in the Midwest, not only giving fans the ability to see the world’s most elite competitors, but also the opportunity be inspired and get involved with the sport. The positive feedback has been amazing and the future of our equestrian sport in our region is very exciting!”
The OEF has four key elements in its Strategic Plan:
1. Create Opportunities for High Performance Athletes from the Midwest
2. Develop Young Riders with a Clear Path from Ground Rails to Grand Prix
3. Create a System to Develop Young Horses Inexpensively, but with Quality Experiences
4. Develop Programs to Grow Dressage, Both Grass Roots and Upper Levels
Creating Opportunities for High Performance Athletes from the Midwest
Build the sport at a higher level in the region and produce something that can gain traction with the mainstream public, but not create more “noise” on the competition calendar. The 2017-2018 initiative includes the “Init2Winit Speed Jumping Series,” a nationally televised series of 5 “faults converted” speed jumping series culminating in the International Omaha for the Championship. Qualifying events will include:
• September 2017: HITS Balmoral, Chicago IL
• October 2017: Kansas City Royal, Kansas City, MO
• November 2017: National Horse Show, Lexington
• January 2018: Denver Stock Show, Denver, CO
• February 2018: Queenie Productions Winter Festival VI, St. Louis, MO
• April 13, 2018: International Omaha Final, Omaha, NE
Developing Young Riders with a Clear Path from Ground Rails to Grand Prix
Provide opportunities for local riders to enjoy the sport, develop their skills and compete as far up the levels as possible. Provide incentives for good horsemanship and for participation in continuing education for both riders and trainers. Improve the overall quality of the sport in this region from schooling shows to rated competitions.
2017-2018 Primary Initiatives:
• Build a bridge between the Schooling Show Circuit and the Local A-Rated shows.
• Develop a riding competition to select International Omaha ‘Local Day’ participants.
• Use the USEF High-Performance Review held in Omaha October 23-25, 2017 to educate Regional riders and trainers. There will be opportunities for people to meet and learn from USEF athletes in town at that time.
• Create a scholarship program to support development of athletes.
• Provide better education for families interested in getting involved in the sport in our area.
Creating a System to Develop Young Horses Inexpensively with Quality Experiences
The OEF wants to make the region an inexpensive place to develop young horses by providing quality “competitive” experiences at a minimal price. There will be 7 events at 3 different farms where people can bring young horses and simply pay a small fee for a “ticket” to ride at whatever height they want. It gives young horses “show ring” experience without the expense.
Developing Programs to Grow Dressage, Both Grass Roots and Upper Levels
There are two initiatives. First, we’ll continue to host our annual CDI and are looking to expand to more levels next year. Second, we have the Felice Rose Dressage Development Scholarship which gives a regional rider the chance to train with one of our CDI riders for a week and shadow them during the CDI. —- OEF