By US Equestrian Communications Department
The NetJets U.S. Jumping Team made consistent improvements over the course of two rounds to finish sixth in the FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Ireland hosted at the Dublin Horse Show. The team saw three combinations produce clears in their second effort around the massive grass arena – a testament to the team’s ability to adjust and improve with each round. The team finished on a total of 20 faults carried over from the first round, adding nothing to their score in the second round. Ireland finished atop the podium hoisting the Aga Khan Trophy, with France finishing in second and Switzerland taking third.
The first round of Alan Wade’s (IRL) course, which featured fifteen total jumping efforts set at 1.60m specs, proved to be challenging for the team. Lillie Keenan (New York, N.Y.) and Queensland E were the trailblazers in their debut as a combination for the team and added twelve faults to their score in the first round. Spencer Smith (Wellington, Fla.) and his own Untouchable 32, a 2013 Hanoverian mare, still gaining experience at CSIO5* level together as a combination also added twelve faults to their first-round total.
“This was a tremendous comeback effort for our team. We went over what didn’t work one-on-one and each combination had a different area to fix, but they were fixes that were easy for them to address. Each of them executed what we discussed in their second rounds,” said Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “Laura [Kraut] just needed to do the same thing in the second round and it went to plan. The grit and the determination, and the ability to turn the switch, fix the problem, and not get down with the result or where we were, but to come back and fight was just amazing. It was a tremendous second round effort on everyone’s part and it was great to see from this team.”
Katie Dinan (New York, N.Y.) and Brego R’N B dropped two rails to their first round, crossing through the timers in 77.48 seconds, putting the pressure on Kraut and Confu, a 2007 Holsteiner gelding owned by St. Bride’s Farm, to produce a clear to help the team’s second round position. The seasoned pair delivered, crossing through the timers in 75.16 seconds, leaving all the jumps intact.
In the second round, the team rebounded, with Kennan and Queensland E, a 2009 Zangersheide gelding, owned by Dani G. Waldman and Israeli Equestrian Partners, notching a clear round for the team and finishing in 77.86 seconds to start the rotation off strong. Smith and Untouchable 32 ran into a bit of trouble after Smith lost his stirrup at fence six and added eight and a time fault to their second-round appearance.
With two combinations left in the rotation, the team needed strong rides from Dinan and Kraut to stay on their 20 faults from the first round. Dinan delivered with Brego R’N B, a 2006 KWPN gelding owned by Grand Road Partners LLC, securing a clear round, and stopping the timers in 76.67 seconds, another impressive improvement from their first tour of the course to help the team secure another clear effort.
Showcasing the strength of their partnership and experience, Kraut piloted Confu to a second clear effort around the 1.60m track, one of only seven combinations in the entire class to produce a clear effort in both rounds. The pair navigated the challenging triple and final combination with scope and finesse to help the team complete the competition on their first-round score of 20.