The US team rode out as the winners of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain, held at the All England Jumping Course, Hickstead on Friday. The quartet of McLain Ward on Rothchild (Artos x Elegant de L'Ile), Reed Kessler on Cylana (Skippy II x Darco), Margie Goldstein-Engle on Royce (Cafe au Lait x Grandilot) and Beezie Madden on Cortes C (Randel Z x Darco) led from the start in Friday's feature class of the Longines Royal International Horse Show. After the first round, they were the only nation to finish on a zero score, having discarded 20-year-old Reed Kessler's eight faults.
But Ireland and Belgium were very much still in the frame at this stage, carrying four faults apiece after round one, with Germany and the Netherlands on eight faults each. The other three nations were starting to lag behind the leaders at this point with France on 12 faults, Great Britain on 16 and Sweden on 18 - and these were the teams that eventually took the bottom three places, with Great Britain and France in equal sixth (28 faults) and Sweden in eighth (38 faults).
The Netherlands and Germany tied for second when three out of their four riders posted clear rounds in part two of the competition, while Ireland and Belgium added eight faults to their tally in round two both ending fourth on a total score of twelve faults. Riding on the Dutch team was Wout-Jan van der Schans on Capetown (Oklund x Carlino), Bart Bles on Lord Sandro DDH (Lordanos x Sandro), Frank Schuttert on Winchester HS (Numero Uno x Nimmerdor) and Jur Vrieling on VDL Bubalu (Baloubet du Rouet x Nimmerdor). The latter posted a double clear, one of five in the competition. The German team was made up by Marco Kutscher on Liberty Son (Clooney x Lord Z), Andre Thieme on Contanga (Catoki x Contango), Hans-Dieter Dreher on Embassy II (Escudo I x Silvio I) and Marcus Ehning on Plot Blue (Mr. Blue x Pilot).
USA kept nailing the clear rounds, with McLain Ward posting a double clear and Beezie doing the same to prevent a jump-off with Netherlands and Germany and put them in the lead with just four faults in total.
"I felt like we've been having a great time the past few weeks. I never got to ride in a winning team so this is a first for me and it's very special to be a part of," said Rob Ridland – Chef D'Equipe of the American team.
It was a fantastic return for Beezie Madden, who had a competition fall in May that left her with a plate in her left collarbone. "I don't notice it much at all anymore. My main goal is to hopefully make the team for the World Equestrian Games, so I worked out when I needed to come back," she said.
US team veteran Margie Goldstein-Engle was making her Hickstead debut. "I've heard all about it – there's a great crowd out there, we don't have anywhere quite like it in the US," she said.
Source: Press release from the All England Jumping Course
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