Wilton and Lucas Porter, 22 and 19 respectively, are international show jumpers based in Wellington, Florida. In this piece, they tackle questions and challenges that lay ahead for the sport of show jumping in the wake of recent changes to the Olympic and World Equestrian Game competition formats.
By Wilton and Lucas Porter
A recent change that we are focused on as show jumpers is the Olympic format change, wherein the teams are reduced from four to three riders, and the elimination of the final four and the opening speed round at the World Equestrian Games.
With the Olympics, a lot of top-level riders and past champions are strongly opposed to changing the team size — almost all of them, in fact. Obviously the Olympic Games are the only true world championship that we have and the Olympic rule change allows for new countries to qualify to compete. The problem with this is that many countries have development and funding programs, whether through the government or private owners, that affect their ability to jump at the highest level of the sport. The newer countries might not yet have the backing, experience, and riding ability but if they’re qualified, they’re absolutely going to want to go. Is this going to lead to — God forbid — crashes or falls that otherwise wouldn’t have happened if the Olympic format had stayed the same?