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Debutants dominate as American team wins the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup at CHIO Aachen

Friday, 17 September 2021
CHIO Aachen 2021

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping All smiles from Aachen-debutants Lucy Deslauriers, Brian Moggre and Jessica Springsteen alongside veteran Laura Kraut after USA's Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup win at CHIO Aachen. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



It was a combination of young talent and decades of experience that proved to be the winning formula in Thursday night’s CSIO5* Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup at CHIO Aachen as the US team came out on top after a roller coaster of a competition. 

Jessica Springsteen and Don Juan van de Donkhoeve (Bamako de Muze x Heartbreaker) as well as Laura Kraut and Baloutinue (Balou du Rouet x Landor S) – two of the members of the US Olympic team that won silver in Tokyo back in August – were as the two most experienced riders given the task as first and last to go by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, accompanied by 22-year-old Lucy Deslauriers with Hester (Wandor van de Mispelaere x Palestro vd Begijnakker) and 20-year-old Brian Moggre with Balou du Reventon (Cornet Obolensky x Continue) as second and third. 

The American young guns did not disappoint tonight, with all three Aachen-debutants delivering clears in the first round. 29-year-old Jessica Springsteen made it look effortless as the pathfinder of the Nations Cup, piloting her wonderful Don Juan van de Donkhoeve beautifully around the delicate twelve-fence track set by Frank Rotherberger. As second in the US line-up, Lucy Deslauriers also impressed with Hester – helping her team to the best possible start with another clear round. But, the most stunning performance of all came from Brian Moggre and the one-and-only Balou du Reventon – that jumped a breathtaking round to put the American team on a score of zero even before their veteran Laura Kraut went in the ring. Kraut did not get quite the start she hoped for though; a miscommunication on the way to the upright at fence eight caused Baloutinue to jump through it rather than over, and the pair finished with the team’s drop-score. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping The winning American team: Lucy Deslauriers and Hester, Brian Moggre and Balou du Reventon, Jessica Springsteen and Don Juan van de Donkhoeve as well as Laura Kraut and Baloutinue. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Eight teams had lined up for tonight's € 1.000.000 Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup at CHIO Aachen. Breathing the Americans in the neck after round one were the Belgians, Swedes and Germans – all on a score of four faults. Following on a score of eight were France and Italy, while the Dutch were sitting on twelve faults and Brazil on seventeen.

Unfortunately for the hosts, the Germans had the disadvantage of being left with only three riders on the team – which was disappointing news for the home crowds that had met up to support their heroes as five-star showjumping finally returned to Soers after the Covid-19 pandemic. With Marcus Ehning side-lined after a fall in the warm-up ring, it was down to Daniel Deusser, Christian Ahlmann and David Will to defend the German colours. 

It was not to be for Germany though. Despite a double clear round from world no. one Daniel Deusser and Killer Queen VDM (Eldorado vd Zeshoek x For Pleasure), Germany finished on a score of 24 penalties after Ahlmann recorded eight faults and Will twelve in round two. Surprisingly, Belgium also sailed down the result list in the second round as none of their riders could keep a clean sheet, while France on the other hand climbed upwards – all the way to third place. Double clear, it was Marc Dillaser and Arioto du Gevres (Diamant de Semilly x Qualisco III) that were best of the French – accompanied by Nicolas Delmotte and Ilex VP (Diamant de Semilly x Darco) that with their clean sheet in round two helped push France up on the podium.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Double clear for the US team: 20-year-old Brian Moggre and Balou du Reventon. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Like on many previous occasions – most recently at the Olympic Games in Tokyo – it came down to the American and Swedish teams to battle it out for the two top spots on the podium. With Brian Moggre on Balou du Reventon double clear for USA, as well as Jens Fredricson on Markan Cosmopolit (Cohiba x Calido I) and Angelie von Essen on Alcapone des Carmille (Diamant de Semilly x Heartbreaker) for Sweden, only one rail separated the two teams as US anchor rider Laura Kraut entered the ring as last to go. With USA on four faults, and Sweden on eight, a pole down for Kraut would mean there would be yet another jump-off between the two nations to determine the win. 

“Robert said that I either had to jump clear, or if I had one, we would have to go in the jump-off with Sweden. I could not stomach that thought one more time, so I just made sure I did not knock one down!” Kraut laughed afterwards about how she secured the victory for the US team ahead of Sweden, when using all her experience to guide Baloutinue around clear. 

“Winning in Aachen is the pinnacle; it is as simple as that,” Ridland smiled after his team had secured the victory. While fielding a young team anchored by 55-year-old Kraut, the US Chef d’Equipe had plenty of confidence in his riders and said: “These were four of our final six riders for Tokyo so this was pretty simple: We just went straight down the list. We had our Olympic quarantine here, so it gave you guys a good idea as to what to expect a few weeks later,” he said – nodding towards his Aachen-debutants Deslauriers, Moggre and Springsteen.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Jens Fredricson and Markan Cosmopolit delivered one of two double clears for the Swedish team that finished in second place. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Delivering the only double clear round for the US team, it was the young talent Brian Moggre who was in the spotlight after the Nations Cup victory. “Last November, I started getting help from Laura and Nick Skelton. I came over here for the summer to Europe, wanted to play the big game and they have helped me along the way tremendously," Moggre said. "Aachen is something I have dreamed of since I was a little kid so to be here with a great horse and great teammates could just not be any better."

Moggre has endless admiration for the incredible Balou du Reventon, which he partnered up with at the end of last year after the now 15-year-old stallion’s owner Ann Thompson gave him the ride. “I love Balou, I am obsessed with him!" Moggre smiled. "I never had a horse before that has gone and jumped great things, I only had young horses and my junior jumpers moved up, so it was a lot of pressure I put on myself to step up to the plate. He is so reliable and so kind and I could not ask for any more – I just love him so much.”

“There is no place like Aachen,” Lucy Deslauriers smiled after the victory. “It is an incredible honour to be here. To come out with a win is, well... who would have thought? Not I! It was a huge team effort; all of my teammates were amazing, their horses are incredible and there are so many people behind the scenes that made this happen!”



No reproduction without written permission, copyright on all images © World of Showjumping

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