Lexington, KY -The full spectrum of the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team's talent was on display Friday as mixture of veterans and young stars claimed the third CSIO5* Nations Cup victory for the U.S. in one week at CSIO5* Dublin, while a group of rising talents gained valuable experience at CSIO3* Bratislava.
Four members of the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Short List for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games headed into Dublin's Furusiyya FEI Nations presented by Longines looking to secure top honors for the United States. Led by Chef d'Equipe Robert Ridland, the team of Charlie Jayne, Jessica Springsteen, Katie Dinan, and Beezie Madden did just that as they jumped to an impressive victory to claim the prestigious Aga Khan Trophy following two rounds of jumping over Alan Wade's demanding track on Friday.
"We haven't won the Aga Khan in a very longtime and I'm very happy," said an excited Ridland. "To see our next generation of riders step up like this is amazing."
Jayne (Elgin, IL) and Alex Jayne and Maura Thatcher's 11-year-old Zangersheide stallion, Chill RZ, served as the pathfinders for the U.S. jumping an impeccable clear in round one to finish on a clean sheet, setting the tone for the day. Springsteen (Colts Neck, NJ) was next up for the United States and followed Jayne's lead, jumping Stone Hill Farm's 12-year-old KWPN gelding, Vindicat W, to a clear round that never looked in doubt.
Dinan (Wellington, FlL) was next up for the U.S. and looked on track to produce a clear of her own with Grant Road Partners LLC's Nougat du Vallet, however, an unlucky rub jumping out of the penultimate combination by the 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding meant they would finish on four faults.
Madden (Cazenovia, NY) anchored the American effort in Dublin with her winning partner from the 2013 Rolex/FEI World Cup Jumping Final, Simon. The pair had an uncharacteristic performance, as Abigail Wexner's 15-year-old KWPN gelding stalled heading into the triple combination resulting in rails at the A and B elements for an eight-fault round.
The U.S. headed into round two in joint third with Sweden on four faults.
In round two the U.S. left nothing to chance as they jumped three fault-free rounds that no other Nation could match, vaulting the United States to the top of the podium. Jayne and Chill RZ, the reserve combination from the 2012 London Olympic Games, duplicated their previous fault-free effort on their return performance to be one of only four double clears on Friday afternoon. "This is my first double clear in the Aga Khan and it's really amazing," said Jayne.
Joining Jayne on the double clear list was Springsteen who produced a second immaculate round of the day with Vindicat W to help build the American momentum. "My horse jumped amazing and I'm really proud to be part of this team," said Springsteen following her first ever double clear in a CSIO5* Nations Cup. Dinan returned to the turf field of Dublin, riding like a woman on a mission as she set out determined to match her teammates' second round clear. Nougat du Vallet answered at every turn producing a fault-free effort. "It was a tough course," commented Dinan of the Wade-designed track that saw fences fall throughout the afternoon. "But my horse was great and I'm very thankful for my teammates."
With the clear rounds by Jayne, Springsteen, and Dinan, the U.S. was assured of finishing the second round on a score of zero and on an overall total of four, meaning that Madden and Simon would not need to return. "I love these guys," commented Madden about her teammates. "I'm really happy to have them as teammates and really proud."
Great Britain finished as the runners-up on Friday with a score of eight faults, while the Ukraine collected third-place honors on a score of 16.
Learn more about CSIO5* Dublin here.
Chef d'Equipe DiAnn Langer led a promising group of riders, all under the age of 23, into CSIO3* Bratislava's Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup to jump Eduard Petrovič's 12-obstacle track. The team of Kaitlin Campbell, Paris Sellon, Wilton Porter, and Lillie Keenan got off to a quick start in round one, finishing on a score of four faults to head into the second round in joint-third place. In round two, the U.S. was unable to replicate their clears from the first round and added 16 faults to their overall score, dropping one place to fourth on a two-round total of 20.
"I thought they all rode great, it's a young team and they have all learned a lot from this tour and they're thankful for it," said Langer. "We just had a few unlucky breaks and without those it would have been a very different result."
Leading off for the young team were Campbell (Georgetown, KY) and her own Rocky W. The pair set the pace for the U.S. in round one, producing a fault-free round. They came back later in round two looking to add their names to the double-clear list, but it was not meant to be after the 16-year-old Holsteiner/Dutch Warmblood gelding collected eight faults.
Sellon (Los Angeles, CA) was next up for the Americans with her own 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Heracross. In the first round, the pair faulted a single time to finish on a score of four. The combination returned in the second round, producing an eight-fault effort.
Jumping third for the United States were Porter (Bartonville, TX) and Sleepy P Ranch LLC's 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding, Paloubet, who jumped eight faults in the first round. The reigning Individual Gold medalist from the Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championship presented by Gotham North produced an improved effort in round two, to finish on four faults.
Riding in the anchor position was Keenan (New York, NY) with Chansonette Farm's Pumped Up Kicks. The 2013 USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year showcased the form that has earned her titles in the equitation, hunter, and jumping ranks with an immaculate clear in the first round. They looked poised to join the double-clear list, but a rail midway through the course meant the 11-year-old Warmblood gelding would finish on four faults in round two.
Germany proved victorious in CSIO3* Bratislava's Furursiyya FEI Nations Cup finishing on a total of four faults, with Switzerland finishing in second place on eight faults and Canada earning third-place honors on a score of 11.
Learn more about CSIO3* Bratislava here.
Follow the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team here.