NetJets® U.S. Jumping Team Earns Podium Finish in $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO4* Wellington | USET Foundation

NetJets® U.S. Jumping Team Earns Podium Finish in $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO4* Wellington

By US Equestrian Communications Department

The NetJets U.S. Jumping Team finished in third place following two rounds of Nations Cup competition at Wellington International in Wellington, Fla. The first of two international team jumping competitions hosted in the U.S. this year, the NetJets U.S. Jumping Team produced a two-round final total of 24 faults. The team was led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland and competed in front of an energetic hometown crowd for the $150,000 Jumping Nations Cup CSIO4* presented by Florida Coast Equipment.

The NetJets U.S. Jumping Team
(Devyn Trethewey/US Equestrian)

“Overall, today went well for us. We knew going in there would be some teams here with their big guns and we stuck to our plan – and ultimately gave solid experience to our up-and-coming combinations. Bisquetta jumped great for Laura in both rounds – it’s great experience for that mare and an upward trajectory with just some fine-tuning,” explained Ridland. “We had an experienced horse, but with a new rider in McLain, so that’s a very exciting combination for the team and they handled the atmosphere well. You then have Zayna and Karl who are finding their way at this level, and this is why this Nations Cup is so important for our program.

“You don’t get Nations Cup experience without doing it,” continued Ridland. “You can tell yourself how you’re going to handle your nerves and/or the pressure, but you don’t really know how to do that until you go through it. In some moments it can be uncomfortable, but you learn through experience, and that’s what’s going to make our combinations better in the long run. We don’t want to sacrifice the opportunity to give this kind of experience to younger horses and/or younger athletes because it’s a launch point for the rest of the year and you can learn a lot about your horse and yourself in this type of environment.”

In the first round, Kraut (Wellington, Fla.) and Bisquetta were the trailblazers for the team, testing the 1.55m track set by Steve Stephens (USA). The first round started late in the afternoon at 4:30 p.m., before the top eight teams returned for the final round under the lights. Kraut and Bisquetta were efficient in their first Nations Cup start together for the team, just adding four faults at the tall and delicate vertical after the open water.

Earning her first start for the senior U.S. Jumping Team at just 18, and the youngest competitor in the field, Zayna Rizvi (Wellington, Fla.) rode Exquise du Pachis to an eight-fault score. Rizvi was accurate and confident through the first three-quarters of the course, with both faults accumulating in the final line of the course.

Karl Cook (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) and Caracole de la Roque pushed through a challenging first round, adding a total of 12 faults to their score, with McLain Ward and Ilex still to come as the anchor combination for the team.

With pressure mounting to qualify for the second round settling on the shoulders of Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Ilex, the combination showcased their potential and budding partnership, producing a clear round for the team in the first team competition for the duo together. Ultimately, the team’s 12 faults in the first round placed them safely inside the top eight teams and returning just a place off the podium to start the second round.

Aboard the cheeky mare Bisquetta, Kraut and the 2014 Zangersheide mare owned by Cherry Knoll Farm and cared for by Alex Tyler-Morris, Kraut adjusted after the open water to keep the tall vertical in the cups, but the A element of the triple caught the pair, with Bisquetta just nudging the front rail of the oxer out and finishing in 68.4 seconds.

Rizvi and Exquise du Pachis, a 2010 Belgian Warmblood mare owned by The Exquisite Group and cared for by Hector Garay, rode a collected and composed second round, navigating through the challenging triple combination and several of the delicate questions. The pair faulted at the second-to-last fence, which proved challenging for combinations in both rounds, adding a late four faults with the final oxer also coming down for a total of eight.

With the second round proving difficult for the returning teams, Cook and Caracole de la Roque, a 2012 Selle Français mare owned by Signe Ostby and cared for by Tessa Falanga, looked to improve from their first-round total and help bring the team closer to the podium. The pair was fast and forward-thinking, but a foot down in the open water added four faults to their score with one final combination in the rotation to decide the team’s final placing.

In an impressive debut for the NetJets U.S. Jumping Team, Ward and Ilex, a 2013 KWPN gelding owned by McLain Ward & Bonne Chance Farm and cared for by Virginie Casterman, were poised throughout their returning round, with the flashy gelding showcasing his tremendous scope. The pair was clear up until the triple combination, where the C element fell from the cups, but even with the added four faults, the team still secured their podium finish, securing third place behind Canada on 20, and Ireland on 10.


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