Talk about a nail biting experience. Tonight’s Bronze Medal U.S. Show Jumping victory at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy was just that. The final result was tight and it was thanks to Beezie’s final clear round that the U.S. team of McLain Ward, Kent Farrington, Lucy Davis and Beezie nailed a Bronze medal.
That clear round also put Beezie in the lead individually. So, spirits are high here in Normandy.
Just before Beezie entered the ring the final rider for the German team, Ludger Beerbaum, took his tour around the course. It would have been no surprise if he had a clear round. And in fact had he done that the German team would have been sitting where the Americans were. But when a rail fell that opened a door for Beezie to ride through.
When I asked Beezie what her plan was going in, the first word out of her mouth was “excited.” You see, Beezie didn’t know for sure that her team had a chance for a medal but when Ludger dropped the rail it meant that if she could nail another clear round the U.S. would claim the Bronze.
“I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it but I was just excited that we still had a chance,” she admitted.
Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland made sure that Beezie knew that her round was the difference between a medal or not. You’d think that saying that to a rider would make them more nervous but Beezie maintains that same calm cool spirit no matter what the pressure.
When I asked Robert if he was keeping tabs of the score throughout the night and did he realize how close everything was he was quick to respond.
“To be honest the only thing I was concerned about was our strategy going in.” The initial strategy was to win a Gold medal and so that was the plan and had one more rider had a clear go, our U.S. Team could have been sitting in the Gold Medal spot was what McLain remarked adding, “I’m sure the Germans are thinking the same thing right now.”
One rail left up would have moved the U.S. score from 16.72 to 12.72 and a Gold medal because the Dutch won the Gold on a score of 12.83. France was Silver with 14.08. And the Bronze that the U.S. team won was really golden because the difference in scores of the next two teams was so close that luck was really with our team. Germany’s score for 4th place was 17.82, just .10 of a point behind. Brazil placed 5th with 16.95. Those scores are so close that it makes you realize how strong the show jumping riders are around the world.
“We aimed for the Gold. We came in with quite a bit of confidence. It was great sport and we came here giving it our all,” commented Robert at the press conference.
When asked about the downed rails the U.S. riders were all in agreement that there horses all went great they all just had some unlucky rails.
“I was super happy with my horse. He had one rub at the end and unfortunately it came down,” commented the youngest rider on the team (Lucy) about her horse Barron.
“I think we all agree that the courses this week have been excellent. In the end the top teams are all within a medal. Both days I thought my horse jumped great. We just had a little bit of bad luck. My horse touched two rails and they came down,” remarked Kent about Voyeur.
“The sport is phenomenal. I am thrilled with my little horse he gave his heart out. The rail that came down was my fault. I pushed too hard,” commented McLain.
McLain concluded his remarks adding, “We’ll take the Bronze medal and congratulations to the other teams!”
In fact, many of us sat in the stands thinking all was lost for the U.S. and a medal until Ludger dropped that rail. Then we watched in anticipation jumping every fence with Beezie. We knew that our U.S. team was in good hands with Beezie at the helm.
And best of all, their medal now qualifies them for the next Olympic Games, when Robert will again be aiming the team for the Gold.