Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 16, 2019 – CSIO5* week during the 2019 Palm Beach Masters Series hosted team competitions on Saturday for Children’s, Junior and Young Rider show jumping athletes in a traditional Nations Cup format, going head-to-head in two rounds of competition over courses designed by Quintin Maertens (NED). At the end of the day, the United States emerged victorious, showcasing their dominance by sweeping all three events in the Sand Arena at Deeridge Farms.
Chef d’Équipes DiAnn Langer and Anne Kursinski assembled a top group of developing athletes, with Langer leading both the U.S. Children’s and Junior Jumping Teams, while Kursinski guided the U.S. Young Rider Jumping Team in the FEI Jumping Young Rider Nations Cup™.
In the Children’s Nations Cup competition, four teams competed for top honors, but the Red, White and Blue team finished as the only team with 0 faults to their name, with three of the four riders jumping double-clear. Earning the gold for the United States was Ansgar Holtgers Jr. and Gut Einhaus LLC’s Emember, Mia Albelo and her own Cassandra Dreams, Caroline Mawhinney and her own Flashback VDS and Zayna Rizvi riding Peacock Ridge LLC’s Calvaton Z.
“It was really cool to represent the USA and work as a team. I think it all made us really close. It was really fun and I loved it a lot,” said Rizvi of her first time ever riding on a team.
“The whole process for developing the team and having official team competitions is to give [riders] experience at the earliest age possible,” said Langer. “These riders are 12 to 14 years old. They’re jumping 1.20m–1.25m, and a couple of them are jumping up to 1.30m. We believe that if we educate, promote and give plenty of opportunities for our youngest riders, we will end up in 2028 with our top riders.”
Four teams also made up the Junior Nations Cup and the U.S. team, which consisted of Mimi Gochman and Michael Whitaker’s Street Hassle BH, Tanner Korotkin and Sandalwood Farms’ Armagedon, Catalina Peralta and Signe Ostby’s Basimodo and Yasmin Rizvi and Peacock Ridge LLC’s Lumiere, finished the first round on 4 faults, which tied them with Team BraCan, led by Beth Underhill, heading into round two. With the advantage of a drop score, the U.S. team finished the second round on 0 faults for a total score of 4 faults to secure the gold medal, while Team BraCan, who had only three riders, earned the silver medal with a total of 8 faults.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of these [Junior] riders and all that they have accomplished so soon in their career,” said Langer. “They were excellent today. We were tied going into the second round and it came right down to the last couple of rounds, with Tanner being the anchor. Everyone really came through, did what they were supposed to do and delivered. They were fantastic.”
“I think the most important part about being on a team is communication and the camaraderie that you develop with each other,” said Peralta. “[Yasmin] and I have actually been on a team before so it was nice to reconnect with her. It’s not like we’re all strangers. We show together on the same circuit, but it’s nice to come together, when you’re previously competitors, to produce something more than that.”
Making it a clean sweep for the three United States teams, the FEI Jumping Young Rider Nations Cup™ was also clinched by the stars and stripes, represented by Samantha Cohen, Katherine Strauss, Madison Goetzmann and Lauren Fischer and led by Chef d’Équipe Kursinski. Boasting a two-round total of 12 faults between them, the four riders and their respective mounts finished the afternoon with a commanding lead over the three other teams, accumulating 13 penalties fewer than the next-closest squad, the team from Mexico. In the first round of riding, Cohen and her own Carmen led the way for the American troupe, navigating a clean trip to set the standard for their teammates, which was later matched by the team anchors, owner-rider Strauss and All In. At the conclusion of phase one, USA held a 4-fault score, which was matched by Mexico.
In the second round, Goetzmann and her own Prestigious proved their prowess with a successful ride that left all of the fences intact, while Cohen and Carmen, as well as Fischer and Madame Juliette Antona’s Royal de Licques, both turned in valiant 4-fault efforts, which negated the need for Strauss to return to the ring and allowed her to save her horse for another day. Thanks to the careful riding of the initial three pairs, the victory was clinched to secure the coveted title for the team from the United States. Having competed together in the past, the camaraderie between the four teammates was a welcome addition to their incredible combined talent, two factors that helped them earn the highest place on the podium.
“They are a great team to work with,” said Kursinski. “They know each other and some have ridden on teams before, either on North American teams or maybe a little bit in Europe. The camaraderie was right there, and they are all good friends, which is very helpful. I got to help select the team, and these really are the top ones. The best thing about this event is that these are the future riders of our sport — everybody out there. In Europe, there are Nations Cups starting in the ponies. We don’t get that in this country. For these kids to have an event like this, to ride in and to learn about the two rounds, as well as to really ride for their country, there is just nothing like it. It’s an amazing experience and I’m so thankful to the Jacobs family. This is the future of the sport.”
“This was such a fun event, and I am so thankful to the Jacobs family for hosting it,” said Strauss. “We are all friends and have all competed on teams before, so it is even more exciting to have this moment and this win with your friends. It was such a gaining experience as I think we all aspire to be on the senior team one day. Having this experience was unparalleled and I’m so excited.”
“I think it is really amazing to be able to ride on a team with such great riders and have such a great coach to help show us the ropes,” added Fischer. “I think one day in the future, the four of us will be sitting here in the same situation but with a senior win. I feel really grateful to be working with this team and these great girls at this amazing venue.”
Nations Cup competition continues on Sunday at Deeridge Farms with the $290,000 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America CSIO5* beginning at 1:30 p.m. EST in the Grass Arena. Stay up-to-date with the NetJets® U.S. Jumping Team as they kick-off the 2019 FEI Nations Cup season by following the USET Foundation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For full results from the Children’s Nations Cup, click here.
For full results from the Junior Nations Cup, click here.
For full results from the FEI Jumping Young Rider Nations Cup™, click here.
The USET Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international and high performance horses and athletes in partnership with US Equestrian.