The Plains, Va. – July 10, 2016 – The United States made history on Sunday, winning the first ever inaugural FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing competition in North America at the Land Rover Great Meadow International (GMI) presented by Adequan®. The team was made up of the same riders that will be representing the U.S. at the Olympic Games in Rio in just three weeks, and they proved that they are ready for the challenge down south, laying down a dominating performance in the CICO3*.
Clark Montgomery led the way with Loughan Glen, kicking off Saturday’s dressage phase with a score of 36.3. He was then clear over the fences in the show jumping and cross country phase, finishing with only 1.2 additional seconds added to his overall score of 37.5, winning the individual title as the top finisher overall.
“I had a couple hairy moments on the cross country course today,” he admitted. “My horse came out in his true form of his nickname Beasty. I think because I have been running him quite fast all year, he came out and was a little unadjustable for me, but it was good it was here at Great Meadow and not at Rio. I had to argue with him a little bit, but he’s such an honest horse and wants to jump the fences, so that never became a problem.”
Boyd Martin aboard Welcome Shadow and Phillip Dutton riding Fernhill Fugitive both finished on 50.4 penalties, riding their reserve mounts for the Games and finishing six and seventh individually. Lauren Keiffer was also riding her reserve mount Meadowbrook’s Scarlett, but ended the day on 55 penalties to be the drop score and finish in ninth place individually. Their U.S. total was 138.3 penalties, finishing well ahead of Canada’s final score of 177.6 penalties and Great Britain’s score of 254.3 penalties.
Martin stated, “Team USA looks strong. All four horses and riders look really good. I think we are in good shape for a good Games in Rio. All four horses need to keep working hard the next couple weeks. Each rider and each horse need to polish up bits and pieces of their performance, but Coach David O’Connor is making sure that we are going for it and I think we in for a good chance.”
Chef d’Equipe David Connor commented, “I am excited because I think these are the four best that we have – they are four really good horses. They are good cross country horses and good cross country riders, so I am excited about that. Our whole deal is about four clear cross country rounds. We haven’t had four clear cross country rounds in this country in a very long time. We are in it for a shot at a medal. I think this is a good group. I’ve been around a few, and I think this is a good group!”
The second place prize individually went to the United States’ Marilyn Little aboard RF Demeter, who finished on her dressage score of 43.8 penalties. Great Britain’s Jodie Amos and Wise Crack , who also finished on their dressage score of 49 penalties, rounded out the top three.
Keiffer, Martin and Dutton will now travel to the CICO3* in Aachen, Germany, and at the end of the month the entire team will gather in Ocala, Florida to make final preparations before traveling to the Olympic Games in Rio.