Tag Archives: Beezie Madden

US Olympic Show Jumping Team Withdraws Beezie Madden

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team has withdrawn Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ from competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Cortes ‘C’ sustained an injury during Round One of the Team competition on Tuesday and in the best interest of the horse’s welfare, the decision has been made to withdraw Cortes ‘C’.

The U.S. will head into Wednesday’s team final in a four-way tie for first. As a three-member team, the U.S. will not have a drop-score to utilize in Round Two.

Beezie and John Madden made the following statement:

“We are heartbroken to announce that Cortes ‘C’ sustained a tendon injury in yesterday’s competition and will be unable to compete for Team USA today. We are confident that he will make a full recovery. While we had hoped to do everything we could to help the USA towards a medal today, Tiny’s [Cortes ‘C’] best interests must come first. We are so thankful to our teammates, sponsors, and most importantly, his owner, Abigail Wexner, for understanding that in this sport, sometimes winning means doing right by your best friend. We will be there today on the sidelines doing everything we can to support Kent, Lucy, and McLain.”

From the USEF Communications Department

US Show Jumping Team Begins Competition at Rio Olympic Games

Kent Farrington and Voyeur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The show jumping competition, the third and final equestrian discipline at the 2016 Olympic Games, got underway at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center, on Sunday, showcasing 75 athlete-and-horse combinations from 27 nations. In addition to serving as the first individual qualifier, Sunday’s results determined the starting order for the Team Competition. Kent Farrington produced a clear round for the U.S., while teammates Lucy Davis, McLain Ward, and Beezie Madden each had four-fault rounds. All four athletes sit in the top 30 and are qualified to continue in the individual competition. As a team, the U.S. finished in a four-way tie for eighth and will go sixth in the order of 15 nations in round one of team competition on Tuesday. All nations will begin round one of team competition on a clean slate of zero faults.

Guilherme Jorge’s show jumping course was technical and challenging. Riders faced a forward-riding course with a time allowed of 82 seconds. Many competitors had trouble at fence 7, the liverpool, and at fence 11a-b, a wide square oxer to an airy musically-designed vertical plank. Out of the 75 starters, only 24 combinations went clear. First to enter the ring for the U.S. was Farrington (Wellington, Fla.), and Amalaya Investments’ 2002 KWPN gelding, Voyeur. Providing the second clear round of the day, Farrington and Voyeur made light work of the course setting the stage for the U.S. team.

“We are off on the right foot so that always feels good in terms of confidence and is a boost for the team,” said Farrington. “It’s a great technical course for the first day. The last line is very technical and bending. Being the lead-off rider, I know my horse very well, and one of my strengths is that I know what I want to do with him.”

Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Old Oak Farm’s Barron, a 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding, entered the ring calm and composed. Looking to repeat Farrington’s clear round, they jumped beautifully. However, Barron’s back feet tapped the top rail on the last jump, fence 12, resulting in an unlucky rail for four penalties.

“My horse is jumping incredibly, and we had an unfortunate rail at the last jump,” said Davis. “My trainer told me before I went in to enjoy the moment and that was the perfect thing to say. We all worked hard to get here, and it’s a pretty special moment. I just went in really calm, and my horse was jumping out of his skin.”

McLain Ward and Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
McLain Ward and Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Putting in a professional ride, Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s Azur, also had a nearly faultless first round. Confident and careful throughout the first triple combination, and clear over the liverpool, Ward and Azur dropped the back rail when landing at the wide oxer at fence 11a collecting four faults.

“I was very happy with Azur. She jumped amazing as always. I purposely left her a little fresh today; it’s a long week and temperatures are going up,” said Ward. Looking forward to the rest of the competition and the position the U.S. currently holds, Ward stated, “It’s a great group; I think we look strong. It’s quite a good position we’re in, and things start to get a little more serious on Tuesday.”

The anchor for the U.S. team was Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and her famed partner, Cortes ‘C’, a 2002 Belgium Warmblood gelding owned by Abigail Wexner. Beezie and Cortes ‘C’ were on point in delivering a solid round. Sailing through the combinations that had been problematic throughout the day, Cortes ‘C’s back leg had an unlucky light tap on a block on the wall (fence 8) for four faults.

“The ride felt very good, always a good feeling to get the first round out of the way. I think on the whole it was a very good round,” said Madden. “He jumped very well, and I’m happy where he is right now. I had to ride the water a little strong. I think I took for granted that he’d back off on the wall; he clipped it coming down and stalled a little when I turned him in the air.”

Madden looks forward to Tuesday’s competition, saying, “Today, it’s important; we want good scores, but we are setting up a little for Tuesday and Wednesday. All of us are really happy with how everybody’s horses look and the rounds we had.”

Action continues on Tuesday with the first of two rounds of the team competition, which will conclude on Wednesday.

NBCOlympics.com Tuesday (Team Competition, Round 1) Live Stream

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

Show Jumping Ready to Take Center Stage at Rio Olympic Games

McLain Ward and Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Show jumping enthusiasts from around the world have been eagerly anticipating the start of the third and final discipline at the 2016 Olympic Games. The show jumping competition got underway at Rio’s Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center Friday with the horse inspection. Representing the United States are Lucy Davis, Kent Farrington, Beezie Madden, and McLain Ward. The U.S. team is led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.

“The horses traveled well and arrived in great shape,” said Ridland. “We have been in Rio for a few days now and are a little anxious to get going. The horses all looked great in the training session Saturday, and we are looking forward to a great competition.”

Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) is riding in his fourth consecutive Olympic Games, having earned Team Gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Games. He will ride Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s Azur, a 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare who has proven to be a force in Ward’s barn with impressive wins over the last two years. In 2015, they won the $132,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ class and $75,000 Big Ben Challenge at the Royal Horse Show® in Toronto. This year, they won the $400,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Spruce Meadows, the $380,000 Suncast® Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival, and the Loro Piana Grand Prix at CSIO5* Rome. The pair was also a part of the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Teams at CSIO5* Rome and Aachen where the U.S. tied at both events for the Silver medal.

Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.), a first-time Olympian, will ride Old Oak Farm’s Barron, a 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding. Aboard the chestnut gelding, Davis was a member of the Bronze-medal winning Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In 2015, Davis and Barron contributed to the U.S. win at the 100th running of the Nations Cup of Germany, and were part of the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team that finished fourth at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final. The pair also placed ninth at the 2015 Longines FEI World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas. The pair has contributed to multiple successes for the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team this summer. They were a part of the U.S. teams that tied for the Silver medals at CSIO5* St. Gallen and Aachen, and earned the Silver medal at CSIO5* La Baule.

Farrington (Wellington, Fla.), also a first-time Olympian, will ride Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur, a 2002 KWPN gelding. In 2015, the pair amassed an impressive record of wins in world-class competition, including winning the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, the $250,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ class at Lexington, the $400,000 Pan American Cup and $400,000 RBC Grand Prix at CSI5* tournaments at Spruce Meadows, and the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix at CSI5* Hamburg. Farrington and Voyeur were part of the U.S. Bronze medal team at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The pair also contributed to the Silver medal-tie for the U.S. at this summer’s CSIO5* Rome.

Beezie Madden and Cortes 'C' (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) is riding in her fourth consecutive Olympic Games, having been teammates of Ward’s for the U.S. Team Gold medal wins in 2004 and 2008, in addition to earning an Individual Bronze medal in 2008. She will ride her famed partner, Cortes ‘C’, a 2002 Belgium Warmblood gelding owned by Abigail Wexner. Madden and Cortes ‘C’ won Team and Individual Bronze medals at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In 2015, the pair aided in the Gold-medal win by the U.S. team at the 100th Nations Cup of Germany at CSIO5* Mannheim, the Bronze-medal finish at CSIO5* Hickstead, and the fourth-place finish at the Furusiyya FEI™ Nations Cup Jumping Final. Following the team competition at Hickstead, the pair won the Longines King George V Gold Cup for the second consecutive year. The pair was also a part of the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team at CSIO5* Aachen where the U.S. tied for the Silver medal.

The show jumping competition will begin on Sunday with a total of 75 athlete-and-horse combinations representing 27 countries. Sunday’s first qualifying round will determine the starting order for the team competition, which commences with round one on Tuesday, August 16. Round two of team competition will be on Wednesday. The competition will come to a close with the Individual Final on August 19.

NBCOlympics.com Live Stream

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

Hermès US Show Jumping Team Ties for Silver Medal at CSIO5* Aachen

Lucy Davis and Barron (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Aachen, Germany – Members of the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team performed in the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup at CHIO Aachen Thursday, which served as their final Nations Cup competition prior to the Rio Olympic Games. Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team of Lucy Davis, Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden, and McLain Ward put in valiant efforts in a very competitive field to tie with France for the Silver medal on four faults. Germany won the Gold medal on zero faults, posting seven clear efforts over two rounds of competition.

“We planned our European tour as preparation for the Olympic Games and there is no better or harder place to compete than here at Aachen,” said Ridland. “We are very pleased with where our riders are. We have done five Nations Cups in Europe and we have been second four of those times. We feel confident. We came here for the preparation against the best in the world and we got it.”

With the U.S. drawing first in the order, the pathfinders for the U.S., Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Sagamore Farm’s Rothchild, had the undesirable job of being the first combination around the course. The pair posted a foot-perfect clear round over the Frank Rothenberger-designed course, and set the tone for brilliant round-one performances. Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Old Oak Farm’s Barron and Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) with Old Willow Farms, LLC’s Zeremonie followed suit with clear rounds of their own, allowing Madden to sit out round one as the U.S. had secured a round-one total of zero faults. The U.S. entered round two tied with the home nation of Germany, also on zero penalties. Close behind the leading nations, there was a three-way tie between France, Great Britain, and Belgium, who all sat on four faults.

Round two proved to be a nail-biter down to the last ride. Ward was not able to duplicate his round-one success, putting 12 faults on the board. With Germany’s first rider going clear, the pressure was on the rest of the U.S. to deliver. Both Davis and Kraut again marked flawless rounds, but were matched by their German counterparts. France was also able to post three clear rounds to put them on a two-round total of four faults, leaving no room for error for U.S. anchor combination Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’. The pair started the round strong, but had a foot down in the water at fence six, sealing the second-place tie with France.

Laura Kraut and Zeremonie (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Laura Kraut and Zeremonie (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

“It was a memorable day for me at Aachen for sure,” said Kraut, who won the STAWAG-Prize aboard St. Bride´s Farm Confu earlier in the afternoon. “The Nations Cup course was very fair. There are a lot of horses here that are going to the Olympics, so I think it was built to be difficult, but not take a lot out of the horses. Overall it was a brilliant design. Zeremonie has grown up so much in the course of these European observation events. I am honored to have been named as an alternate [to the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team] and I think the mare proved today that she’s ready to step up if needed.”

Complete Results

On Wednesday, Ward and HH Carlos Z bested the field in the Prize of StädteRegion Aachen to take the victory.

Further information on show jumping at CHIO Aachen

The U.S. is also being represented at CHIO Aachen in dressage, driving, and eventing. Following day one of team competition for dressage and driving, both U.S. teams lie in second place. Find out more on USEFNetwork.com.

From the USEF Communications Department

USEF Names US Olympic Show Jumping Team for Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has named four athlete-and-horse combinations to the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team and one traveling reserve combination for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Show Jumping competition at the Games will take place August 12-19, 2016 at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The following athlete-and-horse combinations will compose the Team (in alphabetical order):

Lucy Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Old Oak Farm’s Barron, a 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding

Kent Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) and Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur, a 2002 KWPN gelding

Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’, a 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding

McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) with Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s HH Azur, a 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare

The following athlete-and-horse combination has been named as the traveling reserve:

Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Old Willow Farms, LLC’s Zeremonie, a 2007 Holsteiner mare

Further information regarding the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team selection process can be found on USEF.org. All nominations to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

From the USEF Communications Department

Hermès US Show Jumping Team Takes Second in FEI Nations Cup at CSIO4* Wellington

Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team.

Wellington, Fla. – The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team placed second in a highly competitive $150,000 FEI Nations Cup at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Competing in a seven-team field, the team of Georgina Bloomberg, Audrey Coulter, Laura Kraut, and Beezie Madden ended on a two-round total of eight faults.

Leading off for the U.S. was Bloomberg (New York, N.Y.) with Gotham Enterprizes, LLC’s Lilli, who set a positive tone for the evening, jumping clear over the Steve Stephens-designed track. Riding in only her third Nations Cup, Coulter (San Francisco, Calif.) followed suit with Copernicus Stables, LLC’s Capital Colnardo, and produced another score of zero for USA. Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) entered the arena next with Old Willow Farms, LLC’s Zeremonie and sealed round one with another clear round. The clear efforts of the first three U.S. combinations deemed it unnecessary for anchor rider Madden to jump.

The U.S. team was not able to breathe easy entering round two as Ireland sat tied on zero faults and Mexico was a close third on five faults. The round proved to be a close contest with the final result resting on the anchor riders. Bloomberg began round two with an eight-fault effort, but both Coulter and Kraut jumped clear.

Ireland’s first three riders jumped two four-fault rounds and a clear. As penultimate in the order, Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Abigail Wexner’s Simon had an uncharacteristic misstep at fence three that resulted in the pair’s retirement on course. With Ireland’s anchor rider going clear, the Irish won on a two-round total of four faults.

“We felt really confident coming in and felt good after the first round. We had a really good night; it was just a tough way to end. That’s show jumping though; that’s sport,” said Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.

The U.S. team showcased great up-and-coming talent this evening with Coulter marking the first double-clear performance of her career with her efforts.

“I have been on teams before, and this was the first time I’ve been able to come back for the second round. To jump double-clear was really special,” said Coulter. “He was a little nervous in the first round, and then in the second, he took a breath a really performed well.”

Kraut’s mount Zeremonie was contesting her first Nations Cup and performed beautifully under the electric atmosphere, producing the second double-clear effort for the U.S.

“I was really happy with my horse tonight. It was her first time doing anything like this – she’s never jumped at night and she’s never jumped two rounds. I am really happy with the way she performed,” said Kraut.

The U.S team will all move forward to compete in Sunday’s $216,000 Lugano Diamonds CSIO4* Grand Prix.

Complete Results

From the USEF Communications Department

United States Claims the Throne in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup CSI04* at HITS Ocala

(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. McLain Ward and Rothchild.

Ocala, Florida (February 20, 2016): The U.S. dream team including Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, Todd Minikus, Lauren Hough, and led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, claimed a memorable victory at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup CSI04*, presented by Edge Brewing Barcelona, at HITS Post Time Farm on Friday, February 19. Not only winning the class and a piece of the $112,900 prize purse, but the U.S. team also secured a spot at the top of the 2016 FEI Nations Cup rankings for the Furusiyya Final in Barcelona later this year.

The stage was set at HITS Post Time Farm complete with two sold out VIP clubs, a bustling grandstand and thousands viewing a live FEI TV webcast, all waiting to see which of the eight teams – Australia, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States – would go home with a win. Competitors did not disappoint their fans as the showdown for international bragging rights ensued.

A total of thirty-one riders from across the globe contested the FEI Nations Cup course set with 12 obstacles at 1.60m and designed by Alan Wade of Ireland. The first three competitors, Luke Dee (NZL) and Aucland De I’enclos, Daniel Bluman (COL) and Conconcreto Sancha LS, and Shane Sweetnam (IRL) riding Eregast van’t Kiezelhof, all sped through the course with hopes of going clear, but fell victim to penalties during their attempts. It wasn’t until Matt Williams (AUS), aboard Valinski S, entered the ring did onlookers see a clear round. Williams was just over the time allowed leaving him with one time fault and Australia for the lead.

The crowd went silent as the fifth rider in the order, McLain Ward (USA) and the iconic Rothchild, appeared at the in-gate. In true Ward fashion, he gave spectators just what they wanted – a clean round.

“Alan did a spectacular job as usual. We were actually speaking at dinner last night about what a fan we all are of his courses. When I walked the course I thought it was quite big, but straightforward enough. I was a little concerned,” said McLain. “We have a strong team here and we wanted it to be difficult but I was thinking it might ride a little too easy.”

(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. Lauren Hough and Cornet
(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. Lauren Hough and Cornet

Second to ride for the Team U.S.A. was 2015 Nations Cup Ocala alumni, Lauren Hough (USA), piloting Cornet. Careful in their step, they cruised over the obstacles but trouble at the triple would cost them four faults.

Competition grew fierce, and the audience more engaged, waiting to see who, if anyone, could best McLain. Third to ride for Colombia, Fernando Cardenas (COL) and Quincy Car, whipped through the turns of the course, going clear and confirming that a race to first place was on.

Pressure was building for Pan American Games Bronze Medalist and 2014 HITS Saugerties $1 Million Grand Prix winner, Todd Minikus (USA) and Babalou, who were on deck for the States. Keeping his cool and living up to a winning reputation, Minikus went fault free to continue his team’s success.

The next few trips ended with penalties for downed rails but that came to a halt when Scott Keach (AUS) and Fedor, rode fourth representing the Land Down Under. Keach led his bay mount to a clean finish for Australia’s only zero fault score in round one.

The chase continued for the final U.S. rider of the round, Beezie Madden (USA) and Breitling LS, who once again proved that she is the ultimate horsewoman. Careful and efficient, Madden cleared the final jump as the crowd erupted in cheers. After the FEI Nations Cup™ scoring format was applied, dropping the highest penalty from each team, the standings going into the second round had the U.S.A. in first, Colombia in second with Mexico trailing by one point in third, Australia in fourth, Ireland in fifth, New Zealand in sixth, Canada in seventh and El Salvador in eighth.

Round two commenced as ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ filled the air for the first six riders who all had rails in their paths leading to penalties against their teams. Seventh in the round two order was Daniel Bluman (COL) who was ready for redemption and rode his 13 year old bay to a zero fault finish. Ward, who was the next trip of the day, hoped for a repeat performance from his round one success but a rail at the second obstacle of the combination would result in four faults, leaving it up to his teammates to pull through for a win.

“I think riding for your country is the ultimate goal or dream, and when you get the opportunity you certainly want to do a good job,” said Ward. “These three riders here and the Chef d’Equipe – I have the utmost respect for them and I consider them my friends. I didn’t want to let them down.”

Troubled trips leading to scoresheet faults continued for the second wave of riders with only one, Cian O’Connor (IRL) and Sam du Challois, going clear. As Hough prepared to ride second for her team she was determined to put it all on the line and trust in her gifted, four-legged partner. Unfortunately, she would have two rails in the triple combination for eight faults but that didn’t mean the U.S. was out of the game just yet.

“The first round he withheld himself a bit at the triple and I knew I had to really ride him strong in the second round, where he held himself even more. I was lucky to actually get out of the triple with only two down,” said Hough of her 12 year old grey mount. “I still had a long way to go and I fought really hard to make it home. Thank goodness I have three strong teammates here.”

Third to ride for their country, Amy Millar (CAN) and Heros, Claudia Hay (NZL) and Euro Sport Centavos, Richie Moloney (IRL) and Ypaja Yando, Thomas McDermott (AUS) and Quick Petite Folie, Federico Fernandez (MEX) and Guru, Fernando Cardenas (COL) and Quincy Car, as well as Todd Minikus (USA) and Babalou all left the ring with faults, leaving the crowd questioning who would pull through as the champion. Would the anchor riders clean up? Could a sleeper pull ahead and place in the top three? Only time would tell, but one thing was certain – powerhouse Beezie Madden (USA) was the final trip of the day.

The fourth rider for each team gave it everything they had, but once again fallen rails would keep them all from the top spot. A legendary anchor, Madden was on her A-game to close out the day. With precision and caution she navigated Breitling LS to a clear round and although taking her time would cost her one time fault, she sealed the deal for a Team U.S.A. win.

“I had a nice position because I could afford to have two rails down and still win, so as an anchor rider that is one of the best positions you can be in. Thanks to these guys [pointing to her teammates] we were in that position,” said Madden.

Humble in her win, Madden gave credit to her partner, adding, “I took a little extra time with the second round. He is just now starting to get pretty dependable at this level and we couldn’t be more excited about him.”

Dressed to the nines in Furusiyya coolers and sashes, with smiles larger than life, the home team took a well-deserved victory lap in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium as the National Anthem carried throughout the stands.

Beaming with pride, Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland praised his teams’ performance. “We knew coming in that the competition was going to be tough. We had to bring our best team to be able to have a chance to win. It was definitely stressful and we did it a little bit differently than in the last few years. We had a habit of easing off in the first round, unintentionally, and come back in the second… We did come with our best and we were fortunate to come away with the win. We are fortunate to be where we are today.”

Ridland continued, acknowledging HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri for a superior event in the heart of horse country. “Tom, you and your staff at HITS, and of course the sponsors, did a tremendous job in putting this on. A beautiful course and an incredible crowd on a Friday afternoon – it couldn’t have been better.”

A common theme of patriotism and honor continued during the post-event press conference, with Course Designer Alan Wade adding, “It is a great honor to be chosen as the course designer for the Nations Cup. Everyone that competed in that class today – you cannot take that away from them. They were chosen as the best in their country in the sport and whether you had a rail down or three down that is something you cannot take away from them. They represented their country on that stage.”

“When we hired Alan for this class it was unlike most hires. It was moving to hear him talk about it. It is really important to him and it’s even more important to me to hear his sentiments,” said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri. “It was great to have this team that Robert brought here. I can’t imagine how it must be to ride for the U.S. Team because I was moved to hear the anthem at the end, and that made it worthwhile for me.”

FEI ranked competition at HITS Ocala continues on Saturday, February 20 with the $34,600 HITS Jumper Classic and on Sunday, February 21 with the $100,000 City of Ocala Grand Prix.

Todd Minikus for one is already looking ahead to the weekend, adding, “Babalou jumped fantastic in the first round. And to tell you the truth she’s been off her game a little bit this week and I think she just got a little down in the second round. She’s going to make a heck of a comeback in the Grand Prix.”

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com

Team USA Reigns Supreme in Furusiyya Leg at Ocala

Team USA (L to R) – McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, Lauren Hough and Todd Minikus. (FEI/Anthony Trollope)

Ocala (USA), 19 February 2016 – Team USA won today’s second leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 series on home ground at Ocala, Florida (USA), but had to rely on anchor rider, Beezie Madden, to clinch it with a last-to-go effort with Breitling LS. On a day of very mixed fortunes, and with many inexperienced horses and riders facing the biggest challenge of their careers so far, this opening round of the three-leg North and Central American and Caribbean League produced a fascinating contest.

The top-drawer American side of McLain Ward, Lauren Hough, Todd Minikus and Madden always looked strong favourites, but had to see off a determined effort from Team Mexico who lined up second, while Colombia put up a tremendous battle to clinch third spot ahead of Australia in fourth place.

The Irish, winners at last year’s edition at the same venue, had to settle for fifth this time around, while it was a disappointing day for Team Canada who slotted into sixth. A big first-round score put the writing on the wall for the Canadian foursome who only managed to leave New Zealand and El Salvador in their wake.

Winning Chef d’Equipe, America’s Robert Ridland, admitted afterwards that today’s success was no walk in the park. “We knew coming in that the competition was going to be tough, especially when you see the line-up. Since the Pan-American Games the level has gone up a notch and we needed to bring the best team to Ocala in order to have a chance to win. It was a bit stressful!” he said.

The hunt for points

Of the eight participating nations, there were four – Canada, El Salvador, Mexico and USA – in the hunt for the two places on offer at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final 2016 in Barcelona (ESP) in September. The team from El Salvador was vulnerable from the outset with only three horse-and-rider combinations, but they got off to a great start with one of just six clears in the opening round from Paulo Santana and his lovely 16-year-old gelding, Taloubet.

However, the Americans were in complete control when they produced three clears to lead at the halfway stage on a zero score, Lauren Hough’s four faults for a mistake in the middle of the Longines triple combination providing the discard.

Irish course designer, Alan Wade, presented a typically bold track, and just about every fence hit the floor at some stage during the competition. The wall at fence three was followed by a 1.50m-high oxer of green poles over a water tray which backed up a few, but the first big test was the open water at fence five which penalised six horse-and-rider combinations in the first round and continued to wield its influence second time out. Some found it difficult to re-group for the following vertical, but it was the triple combination off the following left-hand turn that produced much of the early drama, the vertical-oxer-vertical built on a one-stride distance, and demanding absolute accuracy.

Denied a brilliant clear

The double three from home also claimed a significant number of victims, opening up with a wide triple bar that drew horses on to the following oxer, but Australia’s Tom McDermott had tackled this, and the following vertical only to be denied a brilliant clear by what appeared to be a momentary miscommunication with his horse, Quick Petite Folie, who seemed to set his eye on the arena entrance and ran left of the final fence.

His 22-year-old rider had to circle and popped the last easily, but the 10 faults they collected proved expensive. Without those, his team would have finished the first round a very close second, carrying just the single time fault picked up by Matt Williams and Valinski S after Scott Keach and Fedor were fault-free.

Two fences in hand

As the second round began Team USA had two fences in hand over Colombia in second place while Mexico was close behind in third with just nine faults on the board. The Australians lay fourth carrying 11, but the Irish were already out of the picture with 21 while New Zealand carried 22 and the Canadians were trailing the field with a surprising 24.

The team from El Salvador decided to retire because, despite Santana’s lovely first effort, they were already on a 35-fault scoreline.

The US lead began to diminish, however, when McLain Ward’s feisty 15-year-old gelding Rothchild hit the second element of the double towards the end of the course and then Hough left the last two elements of the Longines triple combination on the floor. When Todd Minikus and Babalou piled on another 12 faults it was beginning to look a bit ominous, but Madden still had nine faults to play around with going into the arena for the last time.

The Colombians, meanwhile, had added 16 to their total despite a clear from Daniel Bluman and Conconcreto Sancha LS this time out, so Mexico had already moved ahead of them despite an alarming 19 faults for their opener, Alberto Michan. The Mexican rider’s stallion, Warrant, did almost exactly the same as Barnett, the 12-year-old gelding ridden by New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley who suddenly slammed on the brakes in front of the triple combination in the first round after giving himself a fright at the open water two fences earlier.

Hanging in the balance

Wordley retired, but Michan knew how much was hanging in the balance so continued on, collecting additional fence and time faults before getting through the finish. His team-mates kept their nerve, however, Eugenio Garza Perez (Bariano) and Federico Fernandez (Guru) both faulting just once at the second element of the double on the last line, and Santiago Labre adding four more at the middle element of the triple combination. Their final tally of 21 meant that Madden would need to pick up nine faults to draw level, and that three fences down would give Mexico the victory.

That never looked likely to happen, the 52-year-old double Olympic team gold medallist making it all look fairly elementary as she brought her 10-year-old stallion home with just a single time fault to clinch it.

“I was in a nice position because I could afford to have two rails down and win. As an anchor rider that’s the best position to be in!” she said afterwards. “My horse jumped great in the first round so I was confident he could do the same again. I wasn’t worried that things were falling apart for different people. The sun coming down and the shadows undoubtedly affected my vision a bit which is why I took a bit more time,” she explained.

She sees a great future for Breitling LS. “We got him when he was seven. He is now starting to become quite dependable and I couldn’t be more excited about him!” she added.

Delighted and relieved

American Chef d’Equipe, Robert Ridland, was both delighted and relieved. “We competed a bit differently than previous years whereby we have tended to start badly and finish well. This year was the contrary, so I was a bit worried to begin with! The liverpool affected the horses. One of the really unique aspects of the Nations Cup is the courses and it was a real mix today. We were fortunate to come away with the win. It’s clear after today that the next two qualifiers will be really tough. We are going to be in Mexico on their home patch next time, and we saw today how difficult it is going to be, given their result in particular,” he pointed out.

“Our biggest goals this year are the Olympic Games and the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona,” he continued. “The team events are what we are all about and it’s such a unique situation. A course like that today, and the way Lauren fought for the score in the second round, you don’t get that in a Grand Prix,” he said.

Course designer Alan Wade concluded, “Everyone thought the class was over at the break, and yet it all came down to the last horse – that was a great enjoyment for me.”

For further information on the second leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 series Ocala (USA), contact Press Officer Emily Glass, Emily@HitsShows.com, +1 845 246 8833.

Full result here.

Facts and Figures:

Ocala in Florida (USA) hosted the second leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 series today.

This was the first leg of the three-leg North America, Central America and Caribbean League from which two teams will qualify for the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 Final in Barcelona (ESP) in September.

8 nations lined out in today’s competition – Australia, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, USA.

4 countries were chasing points towards the Furusiyya Final – Canada, El Salvador, Mexico and USA.

There were just three team-members in the side from El Salvador.

The host nation team from the USA won through ahead of Mexico in second place and Colombia in third.

6 horse-and-rider combinations jumped clear in the first round, including three of the four members of the US team.

There were no double-clear rounds, with American anchor Beezie Madden producing the best result of the day when collecting only a single time fault in the second round to seal victory.

Course designer was Ireland’s Alan Wade.

The open water at fence five, the Longines triple combination at fence seven and the triple bar/oxer double at fence 10 proved influential throughout the competition.

The next leg of the North America, Central America an Caribbean League will take place at Coapexpan in Mexico at the end of April.


John Madden (FEI 1st Vice-President): “The FEI Nations Cup is such an important competition – it highlights the majesty and all the values of our sport that we cherish so much. This is what makes it better than any other sport – it’s because of the horse. We are in fantastic horse country here in Ocala. The FEI understands and sees the developments happening here in equestrian sport in the Americas. We thank Furusiyya, Longines, Ocala and all the folks at HITS.”

Todd Minikus USA: “My horse jumped fantastic although she was a bit flat in the second round. She is going to make on hell of a comeback in the Grand Prix!”

Lauren Hough USA: “This is the first time I jumped this horse in a Nations Cup. The horse is extremely competitive and he held himself on the triple a bit. I knew I had to ride him strong and was actually lucky to get out of that one with two down! We have a really strong team and with these guys you have to fight for every jump. I had a long way to go to make it home and the horse brought its game so that’s great – luckily I also had three fantastic riders to help out!”

McLain Ward USA: “Alan (Wade, course designer) did a great job again. I thought the course was a bit big to begin with, but it turned out to be relatively straightforward. I thought it may ride a bit easy, but there were no double clears due to the time.”

Alan Wade IRL (course designer): “The more often you compete at the higher standard, the easier it becomes. The distances were built at the right dimensions and I felt it needed to live up to the billing. It was enjoyable sport and, on the day, the riders that made the least amount of mistakes won.”

McLain Ward USA: “You are always proud to jump for your country, which is the ultimate goal. I have so much respect for these riders and the chef d’equipe so I certainly didn’t want to let them down! That’s what jumping for your country does to you. The Olympic Games is coming up as is the Furusiyya Final so it’s a big year and it was important to start things off well and see how the combinations would fare.”

Alan Wade IRL: “It was a great honour to be selected for the event here in the US… and all of the riders that were chosen as the best in their country – that’s something you cannot take away from them.”

For further information on the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping series, check out this link.

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

At Ocala:

Emily Glass
Press Officer
+1 845 246 8833


Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 46

Hermès US Show Jumping Team Wins Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping at CSIO4* Ocala

Beezie Madden and Breitling LS (ESI Photography)

Ocala, Fla. – The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team rode to victory today at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup presented by Edge Brewing Barcelona hosted at CSIO4* Ocala at HITS. The team of Lauren Hough, Beezie Madden, Todd Minikus, and McLain Ward put in a stellar first round, entered round two on zero faults, and were able to hold off a tough field of eight teams for the win. Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, the U.S. earned valuable qualifying points for the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final in September in Barcelona, Spain.

“We knew coming in the competition was going to be tough,” said Ridland. “We had to bring our best team to be able to have a chance to win and it was stressful – we did it a little differently than we have in the past few [Nations Cups] where we have eased off unintentionally in the first round and came back in the second round. We came with our best hand and we were fortunate enough to come away with the win.”

Starting off strong over the Alan Wade-designed course for the U.S. was pathfinder Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) aboard longtime partner Rothchild, Sagamore Farm’s 2001 Warmblood gelding. The Team Bronze and Individual Gold medal winners from the 2015 Pan American Games set the tone with a clear round. Following Ward in for the U.S. was Hough (Wellington, Fla.) with Paris Sellon’s 2004 Oldenburg gelding, Cornet 39. The pair had the only rail of the round for the U.S. at the second element of the triple combination. Both Minikus (Loxahatchee, Fla.), with Jack Snyder’s 2005 Oldenburg mare, Babalou 41, and Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.), with Abigail Wexner’s Breitling LS, a 2006 Dutch Warmblood stallion, produced brilliant clear rounds, sending the U.S. into round two on zero faults.

Round two proved to be a challenge for many of the combinations as clear rounds were much harder to come by. The first three U.S. representatives collected faults and with Mexico and Columbia trailing within striking distance the pressure was on Madden who entered the ring with two rails in hand. The steely veteran delivered a clear round that added only one time penalty aboard rising star Breitling LS, in the horse’s first Nations Cup appearance.

“I had a nice position because I could afford to have two rails down and still win; as an anchor rider that’s the best position you can be in. Thanks to [my teammates] we were in that position. My horse jumped great the first round so I had confidence that he could come back and do the same or at least come through so I wasn’t too worried,” said Madden.

The U.S. riders will all compete on Sunday in the $100,000 Grand Prix of Ocala, taking place at 2:00 p.m. ET.

From the USEF Communications Department

Madden Returns as Team Ariat Captain on February 26th to Defend “Best Performance” Title

Beezie Madden will be competing as captain of Team Ariat in the Best Performance Team Invitational at the EQUUS Foundation’s fête cheval étoile on Friday, February 26 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida.

Judged this year by Tim Kees and Frank Madden, with live commentary by Don Stewart and Jimmy Torano, the Best Performance Team Invitational tests the abilities of the teams of show jumping riders to effectively compete over a 1.35m course based on style, function and execution.

Madden rose to the top in 2015 claiming the title of Best Individual Performance with a score of 99 out of 100 on Lilly Higgins’ Zinnia.

“The EQUUS Foundation is a great organization not only for the horses but also for how horses can help people. We all do this sport because we love the horse,” Madden said. 100% of event proceeds directly benefit horse welfare in the United States.

Join us at 6pm in PBIEC’s International Club for cocktails, an auction and dinner followed by the tribute to the 2016 Horse Stars Hall of Fame Inductees and the 2nd annual Best Performance Team Invitational.

The EQUUS Foundation is the only national charitable foundation dedicated solely to ensuring the quality of life of horses and fostering the horse-human bond.

Don’t miss out on your chance to support the event of the season that gives back to horses! For more information, contact Shannon Coakley at shannon@equusfoundation.org or 203-259-1550. RSVP here to reserve your spot.

About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of horses, enabling the therapeutic use of horses for those in need, fostering the horse-human bond, and educating the public about the horse’s unique ability to empower, teach and heal. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.

About USEF: Established in 1917, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is dedicated to raising the level of access to and participation in equestrian sport at all levels by ensuring its continuing creativity, growth, and excellence. The USEF’s vision is to continue to lead equestrian sport in the United States while ensuring fairness, safety and enjoyment for an ever growing number of people. Learn more about the USEF at www.usef.org.