Wellington, FL- Nations Cup action at CSIO4* Wellington continued with Young Riders, Juniors and Child Riders taking over the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center's International Arena on Saturday afternoon and evening. The FEI Nations Cups presented by Hollow Creek Farm tested future stars of the sport over Steve Stephens' 12 obstacle courses at the competition hosted as part of Week Eight of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. Competition got underway with the afternoon session hosting the first round of all three divisions, before the top six teams came back for second rounds under the lights.
In Young Rider competition the U.S. team of Frances Land, Wilton Porter, Lillie Keenan and Michael Hughes stormed to victory for the second consecutive year. While Lucas Porter, Hayley Waters, Sophie Simpson, and Chloe Reid earned a second-place finish for the United States in Junior competition. Rounding out the show case of America's youth riders was the Children's team of Addison Piper, Sophie Howell, McKayla Landmeier, and Madison Goetzmann who jumped to a fourth-place finish.
Di Ann Langer was serving as Chef d'Equipe for the U.S. teams for the first time and was proud of all three Americans teams. She also believes that competitions such as the FEI Nations Cups presented by Hollow Creek Farm are vital to the United States' pipeline. "I think we got the very best teams; I think it was exciting for all of them. I couldn't be more proud of them," said Langer. "All in all this was a positive, positive experience for everyone and thank you to all the sponsors for making this happen."
FEI Young Riders Nation Cup presented by Hollow Creek Farm
The Young Rider team kicked off the day for the U.S. with a strong start by lying in equal first place with Germany at the end of round one in the FEI Young Riders Nation Cup presented by Hollow Creek Farm on four faults. Leading the way for the Americans in round one were Porter (Bartonville, TX) and Hughes (Allendale, NJ) who jumped immaculate clear efforts with Radio City and Luxina, respectively.
Land (Alpharetta, GA) with her own 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Vieanne and Keenan (New York, NY) on Chansonette Farm, LLC's 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Londinium also helped the U.S. to stand in pole position following the afternoon session by producing four-fault rounds. Both combinations appeared to be poised for clear rounds until rails late in the course, with Land faulting at 8A and Keenan lowering the penultimate oxer at 11.
The second round of the Young Riders Nations Cup closed out action in the International Arena on Saturday evening with results being determined by the final riders.
Hughes and Christina Fried's 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare was the second-to-last combination to contest round two, knowing that with a fault-free effort they would seal the win for the Americans. The talented pair held their nerve to produce an efficient, immaculate round to be one of three competitors to jump double clear in Young Rider competition.
"I think these team opportunities are a great chance for us to fight together rather than against each other," said Hughes of the importance of the FEI Nations Cups presented by Hollow Creek Farm. Heading into round two the successful Young Rider tried not change his plan from round one. "After the first round, I just tried to think what I did and tried to do that again under the lights."
Land and Keenan also jumped spectacular clears in the second round to help secure the second consecutive victory for the home nation. "I love these team competitions; I think this is a really good experience if we want to be on the bigger teams," said Land. "We're all friends and this is a really good opportunity for us to get this experience."
Porter and Sleepy P Ranch's 2001 Holsteiner mare, jumping second for the United States, returned under the lights trying to secure a double clear. However, a rail at fence three and a time fault resulted in a five fault trip in round two.
Finishing in second behind the U.S. was the team from Germany on a score of eight faults, while Mexico earned third-place on a total of 23.
FEI Junior Riders Nations Cup presented by Hollow Creek Farm
The time allowed proved elusive to many in the first round of junior competition, with only four combinations being able to post faultless rounds; half of which belonged to Americans pairs. Jumping in the second position for the U.S., Waters (Sparr, FL) and Chuck and Dana Waters' 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare Qurint posted the first clear of the day in a tidy and efficient effort.
Reid (Washington, DC), riding in the anchor position for the United States, produced a stylish trip on Chloe D Reid LLC's nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Athena to also finish round one without fault.
Porter (Bartonville, TX) riding Phineas and Simpson (Royal Palm Beach, FL) with Why Not were among those that were plagued by the time allowed, as both left all the rails in place in the first round but posted a single time fault. The U.S. headed into round two holding the lead on a single fault.
The juniors returned for the second and final round of the FEI Junior Riders Nations Cup presented by Hollow Creek Farm during the evening session under the lights of the International Arena. Once again the time proved challenging, in addition to some horses taking exception to the open water at fence 10.
Reid and Athena duplicated their faultless effort to be one of only three combinations to post a double clear. Not only was she pleased with this accomplishment but also was proud to represent the United States in junior competition for the second consecutive year. "Whenever you get a chance to represent your country you do the best you absolutely can," said Reid. "On top of that to jump double clear is amazing."
Waters was also in contention to join the double clear list but a single time fault in round two kept her from claiming the coveted achievement.
Porter and Simpson both entered the second round on a mission to provide the American team with fault-free rounds, however both incurred 13-faults during the evening session. Porter and Sleepy P Ranch LLC's 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding were among the group that got caught at the open water, resulting in a refusal, the pair also incurred four faults for lowering 11B and added a further time fault. Simpson Show Jumping's 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare was a bit unsettled entering round two lowering the heights of fences two, three and 5A but Simpson was able to refocus Why Not to end with 12 jumping faults and one time fault.
The team from Brazil claimed victory for the second year in the FEI Junior Riders Nations Cup presented by Hollow Creek Farm on a total of 11 faults, the U.S. finished second on a two-round score of 15, with Mexico finishing third on 18 faults.
FEI Children's Nations Cup presented by Hollow Creek Farm
Saturday's afternoon session came to a close with the first round of FEI Children's Nations Cup presented by Hollow Creek Farm competition, and saw the U.S. standing in third place on a score of four.
Once again combinations riding in the second spot and anchor position posted clear rounds for the United States in round one. Howell (Wellington, FL) rode Cardine to an impressive clear that never looked in doubt over the 12-obstacle track. While, Goetzmann (Skaneateles, N.Y.) and Wendalineke closed out the afternoon as the final riders to tackle round one competition with a flawless performance.
Leading-off the for the U.S. in the Children's Nations Cup were Piper (Wellington, FL) and Louise W. Otten and No Trump Farm, LLC's 19-year-old Selle Francais mare Halbi D' Ariane, who were on track for a clear in the afternoon until the rail fell at fence nine. Langmeier (East Granby, CT) and Missy Clark's 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding Looping Star also incurred four faults after rolling the pole at 10 in round one.
The U.S. returned in round two looking improve upon their third-place standing but it was not meant to be for the American Child Riders. Piper kicked things off for the United States with an improved round, producing a clear effort. While, Howell and Stadium Sport Horses, LLC's Swedish Warmblood mare were looking to add their names to the double clear list but a rail at 11A left them on a score of four in round two. Goetzmann and her own 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare also saw their effort for double clear marred by a rail late in the course and a single time fault during the evening session. Rounding out the U.S. Child Riders' effort was Langmeier who lowered the heights of the first and sixth fences in round two.
The U.S. finished on a two-round total of 13 faults.
Mexico claimed victory in the FEI Children's Nations Cup presented by Hollow Creek Farm on a score of zero, with Brazil claiming second on a total of four, and Venezuela finishing on five faults.
For more information about CSIO Wellington visit: http://www.equestriansport.com/.