Gothenburg, Sweden – April 7, 2019 – The battle for the FEI Jumping World Cup Finals title continued on Sunday with the final two rounds in Final III in the Scandanavium arena in Gothenburg, Sweden. In a tight race to the finish, the top ten competitors entered the arena with less than six penalties separating them from the top position. In the end, it would be Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Martin Fuchs going one-two, with Sweden’s Peder Fredricson earning third. The U.S. combinations fought to the finish with Beezie Madden earning the highest place for the Americans in sixth place.
Two-time World Cup champion Madden guided Breitling LS, Abigail Wexner’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion, through three very tough rounds, including a jump-off in Final II and two rounds in Final III, to finish the week on 11 penalties. Santiago Varela’s courses proved to be big and technical, yielding just 32 clears of 118 rides over four rounds and one jump-off.
“I thought everything really basically went well,” said Madden after her last ride. “[Breitling LS] felt good coming into the week. I thought he went well all week. We were really close to winning the first [round] (Final I) and close to winning the second [round] (Final II). Other people can say that too, but I really thought we were so close to being really, really high up. We are still going to get a decent result out of [the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final], even though things didn’t quite go our way. So that is pretty good … I can’t be disappointed really, it was so close to being brilliant. But that is the way it goes, that’s why we do this.”
Fellow U.S. competitors Eve Jobs, Kelli Cruciotti, and Georgina Bloomberg found themselves finishing the World Cup Final in the top 17. In their World Cup Final debuts, Jobs and Venue d’Fees des Hazalles, her 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, advanced from the 22nd position in Final II to finish 15th with 30 penalties, while Cruciotti and Hadja van Orshof, her 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, advanced from 18th to 16th, finishing with 35 penalties.
In her second World Cup Final appearance, Bloomberg and Chameur 137, Purple Road, LLC’s 11-year-old Westphalian gelding, would advance from 20th in Final II to finish 17th with 41 penalties, just behind their American teammates. Devin Ryan and Cooper, his 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, remained in their 22nd position to finish with 32 penalties prior to the final round of Final III.
HEAR FROM THE OTHER US RIDERS
On her round:
“Everything felt great. I’ve never done a championship with her before so I was interested to see how she would feel today and if she was tired – she actually felt great. She jumped in beautiful form. The two mistakes that we had were just a little bit of green mistakes – the liverpool with a little bit of the fake ground line and then the last jump we both were a little tired. I was really happy with her.”
On the course:
“I thought the whole thing [was difficult]. For me, [the toughest part] was probably the entrance to jump one because there was kind of a jungle to go around so you had to find your line and the horses were looking at different jumps and you had to see the first jump which was a big oxer so that was probably the hardest thing for me.”
On her experience:
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m so grateful to be here so every chance I get to go in the ring is awesome and continue gaining experience. There are so many things I can go home and work on and improve. There’s a laundry list of things I want to try and fix and then come back next year and try again.”
On her round:
“Today felt great, I was a lot more calm and confident. My horse jumped well so I’m really happy. I went fifth so I didn’t have that much time to sit and think, which is a good thing for me, to be honest. I walked and thought everything looked big but knew I could do it.”
On her experience at World Cup Finals:
“First of all, I learned that I can actually deal with pressure and ride confidently and not succumb to all of the outside pressures. Jumping these tracks indoors is big too. I’ve never seen anything like this so to be able to feel like I can do it is huge for me.”
On her experience at World Cup Finals:
“I feel good – it’s a relief. We have to sit and wait to see if I make it into the second round or not but either way I’m really happy with my horse. He really proved himself and we’ve learned a lot from each other. I think for our first indoor experience we’ve done really well.”
On Chamuer and Sunday’s course:
“He felt super. I thought [the track] was nice. We’re so used to seeing big jumps here now that it didn’t shock me, which is nice. It’s nice to feel confident and know that your horse can jump it. I thought that it was a really fair course. The horses are tired by now — they’ve done a good bit of jumping. I thought my horse jumped really well. I made a little mistake to the liverpool. I thought that I was going to have to move up a little bit more than I did, but then I pressed him through it. I felt like I needed to ride to the triple a little bit harder. Sometimes in an indoor track you have to take the distance that comes, you don’t have a huge say in the matter.”
Devin Ryan (USA)
On Sunday’s course:
“Today, Cooper was jumping great the first two-thirds of the course and I just felt I lost a little bit of rideability. The course was tall — it is a championship, that’s what it should be. Throughout the whole course, especially at the end, I really asked for some scope. The course brought the technicality, between the placement [of the jumps], the different illusions with the materials and how he [the course designer] used it to try to make faults. Things like that change the game. Every day we’ve had a little different look out there and it’s been great. Great footing, jumps, and course designing.
On how this will help Cooper’s development:
“Cooper was a top horse for me and as my other horse, Eddie Blue, came up through the ranks I used him as a second horse, and backed up Eddie a lot last year when we were traveling around Europe and he did a lot of speeds so I didn’t really work on his big track game and so he really hasn’t had experience jumping at this level. He has jumped some nice 1.60m tracks but nothing at a championship level. It was great for him to come here and a lot of the hard parts he did easy, he has such a big heart and great character about it all, he loves his job, so if it isn’t me on his back in the future, someone will have a solid horse that loves his job, he really shined through this week.”