Ocala, Fla. – Feb. 18, 2018 – Nations Cup week at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit culminated on Sunday with the highly anticipated $450,000 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the USA CSIO5*, which kicked off the 2018 season of the North/Central America and Caribbean division of the brand new Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series. After two rounds of tough competition, the U.S. show jumping team of Lauren Hough, Laura Kraut, McLain Ward and Beezie Madden finished on a total score of 24 faults to claim the bronze medal.
Led by Chef d’Équipe Robert Ridland, the U.S. drew second in the order out of six nations for the first round. The course, designed by Brazil’s Marina Azevedo, posed a great challenge to the international field of athletes, which consisted of 10 Olympic veterans, as rails fell all over the course, but particularly in the triple combination across the diagonal (triple bar-oxer-vertical) and over the very last fence, a tall Longines vertical.
The USA’s leading combination, Hough and The Ohlala Group’s Ohlala, picked up 8 faults in the first round, while Kraut and St. Bride’s Farm’s Confu and Madden and Abigail Wexner’s Darry Lou collected 4 faults. Ward and HH Callas, owned by Double H Farm, added 12 faults, which was dropped for a first round total of 16 faults.
Returning in reverse order of their standings for round two, the USA sat tied in the third place position with Ireland, who also finished round one with 16 faults, and was third in the order-of-go. Hough and the 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood kicked off the second round successfully completing the course and jumping fault-free to deliver the first clear round for the U.S.
Kraut and Madden picked up 4 faults each in round two, while Ward incurred another 12 faults to be the drop score once again for a total of 8 faults and a cumulative score of 24 faults.
In the end, it was Team Canada who claimed the gold medal with 8 faults and Team Brazil who took the silver medal with 16 faults. With 24 faults, the U.S. team tied for bronze with Team Ireland, however since Ireland competes in the Europe Division 1 group, the USA was able to pick up the third place points towards qualifying for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in October.
After Sunday’s results, Canada currently leads the way in the North/Central America and Caribbean division standings with 100 points, followed by the USA in second with 75 points and Mexico in third with 55 points.
The next leg in the North/Central America and Caribbean division of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series will be CSIO5* Coapexpan in Xalapa, Mexico, on Sunday, April 22, followed by CSIO5* Langley at Thunderbird Show Park on Sunday, June 3.
For full results from Sunday’s Nations Cup, click here.
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