Buenos Aires, Argentina - The United States Show Jumping Team finished fifth during the FEI Nations Cup at CSIO-W Buenos Aires in Argentina held November 25, 2011 at Haras El Capricho, with 29 faults. The Jumping team included Charlie Jacobs of Buffalo, NY, aboard Leap of Joy, Ali Wolff of New Albany, OH, with Blacklick Bend Farm's Lanoo, Cara Anthony of Redmond, WA, riding Potcreek Partners, LLC's Woodpecker de Villars, and Cara Raether of Bedford, NY, aboard Trelawny Farm's Lyonell. Jacobs also won three individual classes, including the Ericsson Grand Prix with Leap of Joy and the Nissan International Speed Derby with Flaming Star.
Following a strong first round of competition, the United States Show Jumping Team, competing in the FEI Nations Cup at CSIO-W Buenos Aires on Friday, had to settle for a fifth place at the end of the day. Three of the U.S. horse and rider combinations, Jacobs and Leap of Joy, Anthony with Woodpecker de Villars and Raether on Lyonell, all had four faults in round one. The first round drop score was that of Lanoo and Wolff who had two knockdowns. The team total of 12 faults had the US squad sitting seven faults off the lead in third place following the first round of action.
In round two, Anthony was the best for the United States, picking up just a single knockdown, while Jacobs had a rail and what turned out to be a costly time fault. Wolff duplicated her first round score of eight faults and Raether had the drop score in round two with 20 faults. Canada claimed the Nations Cup victory, while Argentina 1 and Brazil 1 tied for second place with 26 faults. Fourth place went to Chile with 28 and the United States finished fifth with 29 total faults.
"We had a great trip with the exception of the Nation's Cup on Friday, we just couldn't catch a break," explained Jacobs. "It was tough going for us, but couldn't seem to get any luck on our side. Chef d'Equipe John Madden knew that we all wanted it really badly and we just needed to focus our energy on being calm and poised. It was good advice; he was a great coach."
On Sunday, Jacobs topped off a great week by claiming the victory in the Ericsson Grand Prix with Leap of Joy. The pair completed a clear first round, and was the first to return for the four-horse jump-off. Once again they left all the fences standing, setting the unbeatable pace at 43.77 seconds. Canada's Angela Lawrence came the closest to catching Jacobs, finishing second after crossing the finish line without fault riding Utan. Their time of 44.84 seconds was over a second off of the winning pace set by Jacobs. Wolff also advanced to the short course, but a costly rail with Lanoo, eventually earned fourth.
"Leap of Joy was spectacular today," said Jacobs. "Olaf Petersen did the courses, and this is a World Cup Qualifier, so it was a meaty course. There were over 40 horses and only four jumped clean. I had to go first in the jump-off and I knew the riders behind me were really fast, so I had to lay a good lick down and do my best, and I was fortunate that my horses responded really well."
Earlier in the week, Jacobs piloted his second mount Flaming Star to victory as well, winning the 1.45m Open Jumper class on Thursday, and then the Nissan International Speed Derby on Saturday.
"Flaming Star was full of energy, even in this heat," noted Jacobs. "We had a long course, with over 15 obstacles in a big field, during the Speed Derby and he held up wonderfully. He did a great job of keeping his composure." Jacobs concluded, "It's a great honor to represent the United States, and a real privilege to be a part of this group. There were a lot of great people here and I really hope I have the opportunity to do it again soon."
The United States Equestrian Team Foundation (www.uset.org) is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America's elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.
For more information on the USET Foundation, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org.
Photo Credit: Charlie Jacobs and Leap of Joy won the Ericsson Grand Prix at the CSIO-W Buenos Aires. Photo By: Haras El Capricho.