Tag Archives: FEI Nations Cup

Canadians Claim Clear Victory at Longines Leg in Ocala

Photo: Tiffany Foster and Brighton. (FEI/Shannon Brinkman)

Team Canada won the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America with more than a touch of class. The six-nation contest was a roller-coaster ride for most of their opponents, but double-clears from both ten-time Olympian Ian Millar (71) and Rio 2016 Olympic individual bronze medallist Eric Lamaze (49) ensured that all they had to add were single errors from team-mates Francois Lamontagne (34) and Tiffany Foster (33) for the winning total of eight faults. Brazil finished second on 16, while Ireland and USA shared third place with 24 faults in a competition filled with unpredictability.

“It sure switched around; it looked one way in the first round but then it changed like crazy in the second when the Germans got into trouble and the Brazilians came steaming out!” — Ian Millar (Team Canada)

Germany and Canada shared the lead with just four faults apiece at the halfway stage, but when Christian Heineking (NKH Caruso) was eliminated at the open water then 12-fault results from Andre Thieme (Conthendrix) and Markus Beerbaum (Cool Hand Luke) had to be added to the four collected by Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Daisy), dropping Germany right out of contention. Meanwhile, a second-round clear from Felipe Amaral (Premiere Carthoes BZ) consolidated Brazil’s eight-fault scoreline and they posed a real threat in the closing stages.

The Canadians began to look shaky when Lamontagne’s single second-round mistake with Chanel du Calvaire was followed by 16 faults from Foster and Brighton who had faulted just once first time out. But the amazing Millar, who made his Olympic debut 46 years ago, in Munich (GER) in 1972, steadied the decline with another rock-solid run from his 15-year-old gelding Dixson. And when Lamaze kept a super-cool head to back that up with Coco Bongo then it was a done deal because the Brazilians had added eight more to their tally.

As Millar, who long ago earned the revered title of “Captain Canada”, pointed out, “Eric and I are like the bookends – you just have to put someone in the middle and away we go and do our best to deliver!”

They did just that, each earning a half-share of the €50,000 bonus on offer to riders jumping double-clear this season in the process. And having bagged the maximum 100 points on offer to the three teams chasing points in the North/Central America and Caribbean League, the Canadians will be hoping to maintain their advantage over the next two legs of the series in Coapexpan (MEX) in April and on home ground in Langley (CAN) in June. The target is a coveted qualification spot for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2018 in Barcelona (ESP) in October.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

US Show Jumping Team Begins 2018 FEI Jumping Nations Cup Season at CSIO5* Ocala

Ocala, Fla. – The U.S. Show Jumping Team returns to action this week, taking on six countries in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA on Sunday, February 18 at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Fla. U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland will lead the team of Lauren Hough and Ohlala, Laura Kraut and Confu, Beezie Madden and Darry Lou, and McLain Ward and HH Callas as they compete for a strong start in the North American standings. The U.S. Show Jumping Team will compete second in the order. Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue will serve as the reserve combination.

The U.S. Show Jumping team placed second in the 2017 FEI Nations Cup CSIO4* Ocala.

Hough and Ohlala had a strong start to the 2018 competition year, finishing in the top 10 in the FEI NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* at the Winter Equestrian Festival on Saturday.

Kraut and Confu placed second in the $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington presented by Sovaro® at the Palm Beach Masters earlier this month.

Madden and Darry Lou last competed at the CP National Horse Show in Lexington, Ky., placing third in the $130,000 CP Grand Prix International Open Jumpers CSI4*.

Ward and HH Callas earned fifth-place finishes at the Palm Beach Masters in the $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Wellington presented by Sovaro® and $35,000 Sovaro Palm Beach Masters Qualifier CSI3*.

Career Highlights:

  • Hough: Member of the silver-medal winning 2017 Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final team, 2017 member of the first all-women’s FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Dublin gold-medal winning team and recipient of the Aga Kahn Trophy, team and individual bronze medalist at the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games, and member of the 2000 Sydney Olympics U.S. Show Jumping Team
  • Kraut: Member of the silver-medal winning 2017 Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final team, 2017 member of the first all-women’s FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Dublin gold-medal winning team and recipient of the Aga Kahn Trophy, 2017 recipient of the “Prize of the Federal Minister of the Interior” award at CHIO Aachen, and two-time Olympian, including a team gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games
  • Madden: Member of the silver-medal winning 2017 Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final team, 2017 member of the first all-women’s FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Dublin gold-medal winning team and recipient of the Aga Kahn Trophy, four-time Olympian, including team gold medals at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games, and a team silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games
  • Ward: Member of the silver-medal winning 2017 Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final team, first place at the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final, four-time Olympian, including team gold medals at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games, and a team silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games

Competition begins Sunday, February 18, at 1 p.m. EST at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Fla. The event will be streamed live on FEI TV.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Kiwis Are the Kings at Series Opener in Abu Dhabi

Photo: Daniel Meech and Fine. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

Samantha McIntosh (42) clinched victory for New Zealand in the nail-biting Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of United Arab Emirates staged in Abu Dhabi. This first leg of the new 13-round worldwide series went right down to the wire, the Kiwi rider settling the result in a jump-off against Ireland’s Shane Breen when the two countries were tied on 12 faults after the first two rounds. Italy lined up third, and when the host nation and Saudi Arabia shared fourth spot along with Switzerland, the two Middle East countries earned qualifying spots for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2018 Final in Barcelona (ESP) next October.

McIntosh said afterwards that the victory was totally unexpected. And along with her team-mates, she wondered if they had just made history as the first-ever winning Jumping Nations Cup side for their country.

“It’s ridiculous; it was like watching a movie. Honestly, I never thought we could do it!” — Samantha McIntosh (New Zealand)

Team pathfinder Daniel Meech (44) is a double-Olympian, but second-line rider Richard Gardner (47) is relatively unknown. “He doesn’t have a lot of experience and nor does his horse, but they have been together since Calisto was young and they know each other inside out. He believed in his horse and he was very grateful to get the chance to show what they could do,” McIntosh explained. “And as for Bruce Goodin (48), he’s the rock of our team. He borrowed this horse (Backatorps Danny V) and was riding it for the very first time at this show. He’s just amazing!” said the French-based rider.

New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Ireland and Italy all shared the lead at the halfway stage with just four faults on the board, but although the Saudi team lost their grip, it seemed Italy would also go into the jump-off if anchorman, Natale Chiaudani, could leave the poles all in place in the second round. However, two mistakes from the 19-year-old Almero put paid to that and it was McIntosh who was selected to take on Breen in the third-round race against the clock.

She had already been fault-free with her 15-year-old stallion Check In, so was guaranteed a half-share of the €50,000 bonus on offer for double-clear rounds along with Ireland’s David Simpson (Keoki). She threw down a jump-off target in 40.16 seconds and when Breen’s horse, Laith, hit the third fence this time out, eventually collecting 17 faults in total, it was all over.

The second leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2018 series will take place in Ocala (USA) 18 February, where teams from the North/Central America and Caribbean League will battle it out in the first of three qualifiers in their region.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

US Equestrian Announces US Show Jumping Team for FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Ocala

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian (USEF) has named the following athletes to the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the Longines FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Ocala. As part of the new 2018 FEI Nations Cup series format, the competition will occur on Sunday, February 18, taking the place of the Grand Prix, which will move to Friday, February 16. The Longines FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Ocala is the exciting finale to the Ocala Winter Festival running February 13-18.

Lauren Hough (Wellington, Fla.)
Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.)
Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.)
Devin Ryan (Long Valley, N.J.)
McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.)

Robert Ridland will serve as the Chef d’Equipe.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Germany Crowned FEI Nations Cup Eventing Champions 2017

(L-R) Felix Etzel, Anna Siemer, Andreas Dibowski and Jörg Kurbel. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)

Germany has won the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing for the fourth time since the series began in 2012. A fine performance for second place behind New Zealand at the final leg at Boekelo (NED) took Germany 80 points ahead of Great Britain on the series leader board, with France finishing in third overall.

FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing is contested over nine events across Europe plus The Plains (USA), and is the world’s only team Eventing series.

Germany contested seven out of nine legs of the 2017 FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing, scoring a remarkable five wins: at Strzegom (POL), Houghton Hall (GBR), Wiener Neustadt (AUT), on home ground at Aachen (GER) and at Waregem (BEL). The team was also third at Haras du Pin (FRA).

Britain, twice winners of the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing, travelled out to the US leg at The Plains as well as all eight European legs. Their seven best scores included five runner-up spots (at Strzegom, Houghton Hall, Tattersalls, Haras du Pin and Waregem) and they had a 10-point advantage over Germany going into the final leg. However, Boekelo proved a disappointing weekend with the horses and riders facing tough weather conditions: Laura Collett was eliminated for a cross country fall and both Tom McEwen and Matt Heath had to withdraw before jumping.

France, always enthusiastic supporters of FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing, which aims to give team experience to a wide range of riders, contested five legs and won two, at Tattersalls (IRL) and the home leg at Haras du Pin.

“A total of 18 nations took part this year, which is very exciting for the development of the sport,” says Catrin Norinder, FEI Director Eventing and Olympic. “We have seen countries field teams for the first time, including Austria, Hungary the Czech Republic, and there have been great performances from some of the world’s top athletes alongside many new names making their team debuts. This year we also welcomed a new venue, Wiener Neustadt in Austria, which attracted eight teams.

“This is a valuable series in terms of offering team experience to a wide range of athletes and we’re thrilled that so many have taken up the challenge.”

The final event of the series at Boekelo saw Team New Zealand lead throughout to triumph out of 11 starting nations, with Tim Price also taking the individual honours on Cekatinka. German Olympian Andreas Dibowski led his three less experienced team mates to a close second place, just 4.4 penalties behind, and Australia finished in third, with Christopher Burton and Cooley Lands the only combination to finish inside the time across country.

By Kate Green

Press contact:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Dutch Are Simply the Best in Barcelona

It was a clear-cut victory for The Netherlands on a thrilling night at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Final at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP) where a fused floodlight failed to spoil the party. Finishing with just a single time fault, the new champions pinned Team USA into runner-up spot while Belgium, who also finished on a four-fault scoreline, lined up third when combined times were taken into account.

It was almost two hours after the scheduled start-time when the action got underway with the lighting fully restored. But the man who clinched victory for his country, Harrie Smolders (37), said it didn’t matter.

“In Spain everything is always later. They start later in the morning, and they finish later in the evening – we wanted to win anyway.” — Harrie Smolders (Team Netherlands)

Another masterful course designed by Santiago Varela ensured that it came down to the last-line riders to decide the result of this 2017 title-decider, and it was cliff-hanger until Smolders sealed it with a copybook round from his European individual silver medal-winning ride Don VHP. Jur Vrieling (48) set the stage with a similarly impressive run with the fabulous stallion, VDL Glasgow V. Merelsnest and the only fault they would count would come from Michel Hendrix (30) and Baileys who went just over the time-allowed of 81 seconds. Third-line rider Marc Houtzager was the only one to post a single error, with Sterrehof’s Calimero, at the first element of the double at fence five for the discount score.

“Barcelona is wonderful and the Final of the Nations Cup is always thrilling. It’s very difficult already on the first day, you start with 15 countries and separating the teams is very hard. We saw that by what happened to Ireland who were the gold medal winners at Gothenburg (Longines FEI European Championships staged in August), but that is the jumping sport and that is what makes it exciting.” — Rob Ehrens (Team Netherlands)

Chef d’Equipe, Rob Ehrens, was delighted with the performances of all his team members and their horses.

“Jur is experienced but Glasgow is quite green; this year is his first time in a Championship and he was extremely good this week. That’s a horse for me to keep over the winter season because I think this should be a combination for the World Equestrian Games next year. Michel Hendrix is an up-and-coming rider, very talented; he produced this horse himself. And Harrie is in brilliant form this year; he’s in the flow. I’m very happy for him and also for the country. He is a top jockey and an unbelievably good team player.” — Rob Ehrens (Team Netherlands)

Smolders was delighted to bring it home for The Netherlands, but admitted that it took a bit of an effort.

“I felt he (Don VHP) started to get a little tired and that I had to carry him around a bit in the second round today, but he gave everything. He gets a rest now that he really deserves. I’m super confident this season because he jumps clear after clear, but still you have to do it, and it was a big track today, a big challenge; the time was really tight so I couldn’t afford to leave it somewhere. I had to be really on it, but my horse was incredible.” — Harrie Smolders (Team Netherlands)

Rob Ehrens is an exceptional team manager, leading the Dutch to a series of brilliant results in recent years and now adding the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 title to his long list of spectacular achievements. With typical humour, however, he said that the success has little to do with him but was all down to his team.

“The only thing I have to do is tell them what time to get out of bed, what time to get into bed and what time to walk the course. I have an easy job and I’m a happy coach.” — Rob Ehrens (Team Netherlands)

Rob Ehrens – Team Netherlands Chef d’Equipe (winners): “This formula in the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Final is excellent and very exciting. Also when we had a little struggle starting tonight, a yes, a no, lights on, lights out, they are professionals and they finished the job really well so we are very, very happy. This is a bit of a new team, new horses, and they were in a good shape already at the European Championships, although we had a little bit of a slow start there. But we had a good feeling and here on the first day on Thursday the horses also jumped very nicely; they were fit to compete, the riders were motivated and today again they showed that they can do what they have to do.”

Lauren Hough – Team USA (2nd), talking about her brilliant mare, Ohlala, and the performance of the US team: “She’s been amazing this week. I’m so proud of her double clear. There was a lot of waiting obviously; being the first rider I think I got on three times to do that round so under the circumstances I’m absolutely thrilled and so proud to be part of such an extraordinary team. Everyone performed brilliantly; both Laura and Beezie are on younger horses, but they are incredible riders and they kinda held their horses’ hands and we are thrilled with the result today.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

UAE Springs a Big Surprise with Victory in Longines Challenge Cup

Photo: Victory gallop for Team United Arab Emirates (FEI/Libby Law)

It was history in the making when the United Arab Emirates crushed their considerably more experienced opponents to win the Challenge Cup at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final under the lights of the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP). They finished second-last of the 15 participating nations in the first qualifier when collecting a total of 34 faults so looked way out of contention going into this competition reserved for the seven teams that didn’t make the cut into the series title-decider.

But they never touched a pole, and even more impressively they came out on top without having to call up their fourth team member. It was something of a walkover, with their three time faults leaving them six faults clear of the recently-crowned European champions from Ireland, while Team Brazil slotted into third with an 11-fault finishing score.

They even had the worst of the draw, with 33-year-old Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri first to take on Santiago Varela’s 13-fence course which demanded both accuracy and speed. With his mare, Sama Dubai FBH, he made it look easy when picking up just two time faults, and then Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi and Cha Cha Cha posted an extraordinary clear only to be followed by a single time fault for Mohammed Ghanem Al Hajri and Pour le Poussage. There was a look of near-disbelief on many UAE supporter’s faces when they realised that, even without the help of anchorman Sheikh Majid Al Qassimi and Celtion, they already had it all wrapped up.

Delighted UAE Chef d’Equipe, Karl Schneider, reckoned it was their poor start that spurred his side to success.

“Sheikh Majid is normally our best rider, but yesterday he was first to go and he didn’t have a good time – maybe his horse didn’t travel well, but anyway I think that shocked all the other boys and that’s why they didn’t ride well. So we changed the team order for today and put him in last, and I was only joking when I said that maybe he might not have to jump tonight.” — Karl Schneider (Team UAE)

This result is no fluke, however; it’s the result of years of effort.

“We’ve been working really hard setting the basis for the sport in our country, and for the first time we had more than four riders to choose from for a Nations Cup which was brilliant, and we chose the four that were in form and thankfully we did well.” — Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri (Team UAE)

He is based in France where he works as a policeman and has been training with America’s Alice Debany Clero for the last 12 years.

“The other three boys are in my stable in Bonn, Germany, the same place as Henrik von Eckermann (SWE), and they were all the summer with me. So we made a good plan about Abdullah’s shows and he came with Alice to join us, and the boys got a bit of experience of being together and finally it worked really well.” — Karl Schneider (Team UAE)

Alice Debany Clero, who suffered a badly-broken leg in a fall from a young horse five months ago and has been course-walking all week on crutches, explained her connection to the winning team.

“I started working for Princess Haya back in 2000 and I coached her at the Olympics in Sydney and we remained very close friends. She hired me in 2005, so I’m about to start my 13th season with Dubai.” — Alice Debany Clero (Team UAE)

Princess Haya, Former FEI President and wife of Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai, said:

“I’m so thrilled, so proud of this success – after all the hard work they’ve invested over the years they really deserved this.” — Princess Haya

Karl Schneider – Team UAE (winners): “To win with only three riders, that was really amazing, especially after yesterday when we didn’t have best start. But there was good team spirit, they didn’t give up, they were still fighting tonight, and finally it came good for us.”

Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri – Team UAE, talking about his mare Sama Dubai FBH: “I have her for six years and I know her very well. She always had potential; I always believed in her and I’m glad she was able to shine in such an amazing place.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

French Stand Firm to Win Last Qualifier in Gijon

Photo: Nicolas Delmotte and Ilex VP. (FEI/Xurde Margaride)

Team France won the last qualifying leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Europe Division 2 series in Gijon, Spain where, in a roller-coaster of a competition, The Netherlands finished second ahead of Ireland in third.

The French were already out in front on a zero score at the halfway stage, but were being closely chased by Canada carrying just a single time fault. However, the course designed by Spain’s Avelino Rodriguez-Miravalles saw some serious shuffling of the pack as the second round progressed. And the Dutch, lying joint-third with Spain and Mexico, and Irish who were in joint-sixth with Great Britain, were rewarded for holding their ground while those around them lost theirs.

When Kevin Staut (36) and For Joy van’t Zorgvliet HDC hit the middle element of the triple combination three fences from home and Gregory Cottard (39) and Regate d’Aure lowered the bogey final fence to also collect four faults second time out, then it fell to French anchorman Nicolas Delmotte (39) and Ilex VP to save the day as the best three scores per team would be counted and his side was now carrying four faults. Edward Levy (23) and the fabulous stallion Sirius Black had followed up their single first-round error with a great clear, but only the same from Delmotte would prevent a jump-off against the Dutch who, like the Irish, were fault-free at their second attempt.

“Being last to go I felt the responsibility, but I had confidence, and I had a horse that responded brilliantly!” — Nicolas Delmotte (Team France)

One mistake and France would be on level pegging with The Netherlands on eight faults and forced into a jump-off. Any more than that and victory would be lost. But Delmotte held his nerve to bring Ilex home with a classic clear when posting one of four double-clear rounds on the day.

Ireland lined up third on their first-round total of 12 faults and the Canadians, hampered by second-round elimination for Jaclyn Duff and Eh All or None who had collected just a single time fault in the first round, had to settle for fourth place with 13 faults on the scoreboard. Great Britain (20 faults) finished fifth, Mexico (24 faults) lined up sixth, Germany (28 faults) finished seventh and the host nation (29 faults) finished eighth. Team Egypt collected 18 faults in the first round so didn’t make the cut into round two.

French Chef d’Equipe, Philippe Guerdat, was delighted with his country’s eleventh FEI Nations Cup™ success at the famous Las Mestas Arena in Gijon. “This is a lucky venue for us!” he said.

Kevin Staut FRA (winning team): “I am very happy – this is my second Nations Cup win in this city!”

Shane Breen IRL (3rd placed team), talking about the bogey fences: “Fence eight was like a gate, a stile type fence and it was narrow. There was a roll-back up to it and some lost a bit of balance on the turn and found they didn’t have the space to jump it. It was very light and short and it looked quite tall. The last fence came after the triple bar and there was a floaty six strides to it. It was cleverly designed with a white plank at the bottom and on the top, and some horses slightly misjudged it.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Eventing Gold for Great Britain and Germany’s Ingrid Klimke at Strzegom

Photo: The victorious British team at the FEI European Eventing Championships at Strzegom in Poland: Nicola Wilson (also individual bronze), Ros Canter, Oliver Townend and Kristina Cook (FEI/Jon Stroud)

A jubilant British team was celebrating after jumping three superb clear rounds in the final phase to hold onto their overnight lead and clinch the longed-for team title at the FEI European Eventing Championships in Strzegom (POL).

“We are very excited to be back on top. We’ve got some amazing riders and horses and we’ve worked hard for this.” — Kristina Cook, British gold medal team member

Ingrid Klimke, who has been such a key member of the German team for 17 years, also delivered a jumping perfect round under pressure on Horseware Hale Bob to win her first individual title and lead Germany to team silver.

Triple European champion Michael Jung’s winning run finally ended and the German sportingly settled for individual silver with a clear round on fischerRocana.

“You just have to keep going and after 20 years it will happen! I always want to be a team player, but this was my dream” — Ingrid Klimke (GER), new European champion

Sweden held onto team bronze, but Sara Algotsson Ostholt had a less than happy jumping round on Reality 39 and dropped from third to ninth.

Britain’s Nicola Wilson went clear on Bulana to take bronze, her first individual medal, while Cook and Canter lined up behind her in fourth and fifth. Oliver Townend, who was the discard score, did not present Cooley SRS at the final horse inspection.

Ten teams and 56 riders completed the competition, although there was disappointment when host nation Poland’s best rider, Pawel Spisak, was denied a fairy-tale finish after Banderas did not pass the final horse inspection.

www.strzegom2017.pl

By Kate Green

FEI Press contact:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

It’s Ladies’ Day in Dublin as Team USA Sweeps to Victory

Laura Kraut, Lillie Keenan, Lauren Hough and Beezie Madden with Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

Team USA secured a definitive victory in the eighth and last leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Europe Division 1 League in Dublin (IRL) when producing the only zero score in a hard-fought competition. On level pegging with the Irish at the halfway stage they stood firm while their hosts lost their grip to drop to fifth behind Spain.

In the closing stages the Netherlands and France threw down a challenge, and American anchor Laura Kraut (51) was under pressure when last to go with Confu. But the double-Olympian didn’t crumble, posting the second US double-clear of the competition to seal it ahead of the runners-up from France, while the Dutch slotted into third place.

This was the first all-female team triumph in the 91-year history of Nations Cup Jumping for the world-famous Aga Khan Cup in Dublin.

“We said at the beginning of the year this was one of the shows we are bringing our ‘A’ team to… it’s our view that the Aga Khan is the greatest trophy in our sport. And more than that there are many ways to win a Nations Cup; sometimes you get lucky, but today in my view there was no luck. These four riders did an unbelievable job!” — Robert Ridland (Chef d’Equipe Team USA)

The time-allowed of 80 seconds proved difficult for many over Irish course-builder Tom Holden’s track, and a speedy turn to the final oxer was often costly. Beezie Madden’s (53) mistake here with her new ride Darry Lou was the American drop score in round one, but the pair got it absolutely right in round two after pathfinders Lauren Hough (40) and the brilliant mare Ohlala produced their second clear of the day and rising talent Lillie Keenan (20) made her only mistake at the first element of the penultimate double with Super Sox.

Kraut clinched it with a crisp, clear run to leave a five-fault margin between the winning US side and the French in second while the points earned by the third-placed Dutch, whose final tally was just seven faults, saw them overtake Italy at the top of the Europe Division 1 leaderboard at the end of the eight-leg series.

Beezie Madden – Team USA (winners), talking about her horse Darry Lou: “He’s a new horse. He came from Mexico and the highest he jumped there was 1.55m or so. I got him in May and this was only his third 1.60m course today. It was my mistake in the first round. He’s like a Cadillac to ride!”

Laura Kraut – Team USA, talking about the similarities between her winning ride, Confu, and her legendary 2008 Olympic team gold medal winning horse Cedric, who is now retired: “Oddly enough I found out when we were in Aachen that they share the same grandmother or something. I had no idea that they were remotely related so that’s very exciting. He (Confu) is as much of a cheeky monkey as Cedric, so for me he’s wonderful. I love him, he’s a trier, he’s a pet and he’s fun to ride and be around. But Cedric can’t be replaced.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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