Bronze Medal for U.S. Jumping Team in FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA
Thursday, February 21, 2019
The NetJets® U.S. Jumping Team fought for their podium spot on Sunday in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA, finishing on 12 faults for the bronze medal. In a last-minute substitution, reserve rider Lucy Deslauriers replaced Margie Engle who was feeling under the weather, joining the Olympic ensemble of Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden, and McLain Ward, led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.
In a battle for points and the lead in the North and Central America and Caribbean Division, Mexico took the gold medal with four faults and Israel picked up the silver medal on nine faults. With a bronze-medal finish, the U.S. picked up 80 points in the North and Central America and Caribbean FEI Nations Cup™ standings.
Lucy Deslauriers Steps Up for the Team
“You always want to win, so we’re not too excited about not winning, but honestly, a podium finish though [is still good],” stated Ridland. “It was sort of spread out, we had our moments. I think the main thing is how dependent the league is getting. Mexico had a phenomenal victory, but it’s not a surprise; they beat us all at Dublin last year. They have a fabulous team and they had a great day. I think we had a good day, but we needed a great day.
“Unfortunately, Margie [Engle] wasn’t feeling well, and she just thought it was in the best interest of the team that it would be better for her to scratch,” noted Ridland on the U.S. team’s substitution. “So that puts Lucy [Deslauriers] at a little bit of a disadvantage. She walked the course when we did, but we only made the call officially an hour and five minutes before [competition started]. She didn’t have quite the preparation that she wanted, but she really rose to the occasion, and certainly her second round was great.”
Tough First Round
In a tough first round, where the lead fluctuated throughout the rotations, the U.S. team ended the first round on eight faults. Pathfinder combination Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Breitling LS, Abigail Wexner’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion, started the U.S. off with a flawless round. Ward (Brewster, N.Y) and HH Azur, Double H Farm and Ward’s 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, as well as Kraut (Wellington, Fla.) and Confu, St. Bride Farm’s 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, dropped one rail each. As a result, the U.S. dropped the eight-fault round of Deslauriers (New York, N.Y.) and Hester, Lisa Deslauriers’s 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding.
The U.S. entered the second round tied with Ireland on eight faults. Mexico led the way, concluding the first round with zero faults. The U.S. needed clear rounds to find themselves in the top position. An unfortunate rail caused Madden and Breitling LS to miss matching their first round performance. Deslauriers and Hester improved upon their first round with a clear second round, and Kraut and Confu’s additional clear kept the U.S. team in the hunt for a podium finish. However, Mexico produced a crucial clear round when Ward and HH Azur ended on four faults, resulting in a bronze medal for the U.S. team.
The top two teams in the North and Central America and Caribbean Division will qualify for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, Spain, in October. Mexico currently leads the way, followed by the United States.