The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team battled from behind to win the Spruce Meadows’ BMO Nations Cup in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on Saturday, September 9, 2017 with the help of an incredible triple clear performance from Beezie Madden and Darry Lou.
Tied with Brazil on eight faults after the second round, Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland tapped his only double-clear combination to seal the victory in the jump-off. With the pressure on, the two-time Olympic team gold medalist and Dutch Warmblood stallion crossed the finish line just ahead of Brazil’s Pedro Jungueira Muylaert and Prince Royal Z MFS, who had an unfortunate slip on course costing them time and the gold. Germany followed with nine faults for the bronze medal. Madden, along with Lauren Hough, Charlie Jacobs, and Lillie Keenan, gave the U.S. its eighth Nations Cup podium appearance and fourth gold medal of the year.
“I thought I had some very good turns, and a little bit of foot speed, but I thought my horse could beat on foot speed. My plan going first was to put in a real solid round that they had to go a little to beat. I probably left the door a little open, but I made him go a little too which was the goal,” said a pleased Madden. “I’m so excited for this horse; he is a new one for me, and he is only nine-years-old. This was the first time I went really fast with him and over big jumps in a jump-off so I am so happy with him.”
Known as one of the toughest courses on the nations cup circuit, the U.S. had unlucky rails early as Lauren Hough (Wellington, Fla.) and Waterford, Laura and Meredith Mateo’s 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Charlie Jacobs (Boston, Mass.) and Cassinja S, CMJ Sporthorse LLC’s 11-year-old Zweibrücker mare, and Lillie Keenan (New York, N.Y.) and Fibonacci 17, Chansonette Farm’s 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, each had one rail. However, anchor combination Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Darry Lou’s clear round dropped one four-fault score.
“We felt we had four solid rounds the first round so there was not a whole lot to fix [going into the second round], and we figured we could fix things. So many times in a Nations Cup, the second round isn’t free; it doesn’t ride like the first round. More often than not things change in the second round, so we expected this outcome,” said Ridland.
After the first round, the U.S. sat tied for bronze with Canada on eight faults, while Brazil held the top spot on zero faults, even after the elimination of pathfinders Eduardo Menezes and Quintol. Germany held the silver-medal position on one time-fault. With a medal on the line, the U.S. dug deep in the second round as Hough and Waterford and Jacobs and Cassinja S each put in clear round efforts. Even though Keenan and Fibonacci 17 had one rail, the U.S. secured the silver medal through three rotations. However, the U.S.’ chance at gold increased as Madden and Darry Lou went clear and Brazil’s Pedro Veniss and Quabri de LIsle dropped a rail, which initiated the jump off.
“It doesn’t get any better than a jump-off. To see what all four of them did, and for Beezie to clinch the win in a jump-off in indescribable. We had to crawl up the ladder a bit as Brazil set the bar early on, but that’s why it is a two round class, and they did the job,” said Ridland.
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-via USEF Communications