Barcelona, Spain - The Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final began Thursday with the opening round at CSIO5* Barcelona. Competing in a field of 18 nations, the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team of Audrey Coulter, Lucy Davis, Lauren Hough, and Laura Kraut, led by Chef d'Equipe Robert Ridland, secured a berth in Saturday's final with a zero-fault round-one total.
The U.S. was one of three countries to finish round one on zero faults, joined by Germany and defending Champion, Belgium. Also moving forward to the final are Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, and The Netherlands.
The U.S. drew 13th in the order of nations and was led off in strong fashion by Hough (Wellington, Fla.) and The Ohlala Group's Ohlala, a 2004 Swedish Warmblood mare. Hough and the mare produced a clear round over the technical Santiago Varela-designed course.
"I thought it was a good course," said Hough. "It is a difficult event to build for with so many countries and having riders at all levels. [Santiago Varela] asked enough good questions to present a challenge without over-facing some of the less experienced countries. I am very comfortable going first with Ohlala. I stuck to my plan and put in some adds where maybe some others wouldn't and she jumped fantastic."
Riding next in the order was Coulter (San Francisco, Calif.) and Copernicus Stables, LLC's Capital Colnardo, a 2005 Holsteiner stallion. The pair gave a solid effort, but ran into trouble during toward the end of the course, tipping rails at the B element of the triple combination at 12, and at the final fence. Fresh off a Team Silver medal-win at the Rio Olympic Games, Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Old Oaks Farm's Barron, a 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding, delivered another clear round for the U.S. Anchor rider, Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Old Willow Farms, LLC's Zeremonie, a 2007 Holsteiner mare, brought home the third clear round of the day, securing America's place in the final.
Speaking to the format of the competition, Hough noted, "This is always a tough day for us with the added pressure of getting into the final. Everyone rose to the occasion - Laura, as our anchor on her young horse, pulled through and Lucy delivered a strong round. We are all feeling good going into Saturday."
The final round of competition will feature the top eight teams from Thursday's opening round, all starting off on zero faults. Competition will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. ET and can be watched live on FEITV.org. Teams ranked ninth through 18th will move forward to the Longines Challenge Cup on Friday at 3 p.m. ET. That competition can be viewed live on the FEI YouTube channel.