The Last can be the First
Author: Nadine Engel
Anyone who has been involved with Icelandic horse sport could not help but hear terms like A-final and B-final. After all, you see this term again and again in the program, especially on the last day of the competitions.
Unlike in warmbloods’ sport, there are rarely direct placings after a competition. At almost every oval track test, a preliminary decision is made first and then the A-finals follow, where the best 5 riders compete in direct comparison. The winner of the respective discipline or test is determined by this final. You could compare it with a play-off, yet not all competitors had to have the same preliminary result, but must belong to the 5 best of the respective competition. Afterwards, all participants of the final will be placed.
From 30 riders on, there are also B-finals. They give those competitors a second chance, who just narrowly missed making it to the A-finals. Of course, at important championships you can very quickly reach well over 30 competitors, which means we can also look forward to various B-finals here at the World Championship.
Here, all riders who have reached the places 6-10 in the preliminary, once again put their abilities to the test. And the best thing is, the winner of the B-Finals automatically has the right to the much sought-after A-finals and can still compete for the championship title. Interestingly, it is not uncommon for this so-called „Lucky Loser“ to make good use of his second chance and end up in the medals. Because in every final everyone starts again under the same conditions, the marks from the preliminary decision don‘t play a role anymore. And many a horse-rider team is spurred on to new performances to compete at the same time with the other best riders in the ring and to stand their ground in a direct comparison. The grades are read out after each part of the task, not just the final grade after the performance. This way you can calculate your current position or cheer for your favourite. This is exciting for riders, judges and spectators.