Weekend Review: Team USA Sizzles in Jump-Off to Win the CSIO4* Nations Cup in Wellington

Weekend Review: Team USA Sizzles in Jump-Off to Win the CSIO4* Nations Cup in Wellington

The 2019 competition season is absolutely in full swing now as all three equestrian Olympic disciplines saw top riders and future stars stretching their legs around the world. Here's a roundup of some of the most exciting action.

$150,000 Nations Cup CSIO4*, Wellington, Florida

For the second time in the 18-year history of the Nations Cup at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, there was a jump-off to determine the winning team. The United States ultimately won their seventh team victory in this class, topping teams from eight other nations. McLain Ward raised his hand for the jump-off round against Ireland’s Daniel Coyle and cruised to an easy clear.

“[The jump-off] was not such a hard job. But I thought it was nice the horse jumped his best round in the third round,” McLain said.

Alongside teammates Beezie Madden, Adrienne Sternlicht, and McLain, Wilton Porter competed in his first senior Nations Cup competition. Riding 12-year-old Caletto Cabana, he made a great first impression producing two double-clear rounds.

Wilton Porter and Caletto Cabana receive a job well done from Chef d'Equipe Robert Ridland. Photo by Sportfot.

“I’m very excited to say the least,” Wilton said. “I’m honored to have been able to ride with three riders who have gold medals in senior championships. That’s a pretty big honor for me, so I definitely felt like the rookie coming into it, but I have a great horse and he gave me a lot of confidence to get the job done tonight.”

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Longines Global Champions Tour, Doha, Qatar

The 2019 Longines Global Champions Tour season kicked off at the stunning AL SHAQAB Equestrian Centre in Doha, Qatar. Uliano Vezzani built a challenging course for the CSI5* Grand Prix, and out of 35 starters only five made it to the jump-off.

The Frenchman Julien Epaillard and Usual Suspect D’Auge were the first pair to go in the jump-off, setting a blistering, unmatched pace to qualify for the LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Prague Playoffs.

Julien Epaillard and Usual Suspect D’Auge. Photo by Sportfot.

“It is crazy for me today. I had planned to ride a different horse. But I changed my plan I was so surprised to be clear in the first round. And I was first in the jump-off. I was not thinking to win the grand prix but it was fantastic,” Julien said.

“I feel very happy. I have had three second placings this weekend, and when Ben [Maher] started [on course] I thought one more time I would be second. My horse doesn’t look fast but he is. I was number one to go so I tried my best and the horse was amazing.”

Guess what Julien did when he realized he’d won?

In the Global Champions League team competition, Daniel Deusser and Pius Schwizer, a.k.a. the Shanghai Swans, earned the only faultless team score to top 15 other duos. See how the rest of these riding celebrities performed.

Daniel Deusser and Calisto Blue compete for the Shanghai Swans. Photo by Sportfot.

$50,000 Liftmaster Grand-Prix Eventing at Bruce’s Field, South Carolina

In the unique eventing showcase format, Liz Halliday-Sharp led from start to finish with her old friend Fernhill By Night, a very experienced 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse. Laying down a beautiful dressage test in torrential conditions Friday, they held their position throughout show jumping and the shortened cross-country. In addition to a handsome check for themselves, they earned $2,500 for the charity Friends of the Animal Shelter.

Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. Photo by Anthony Trollope/Red Bay Group.

Take a ride around the course with Doug Payne and Vandiver, who is returning to the Advanced level after having most of last year off to address a lingering stifle issue. He looks better than ever and their foot-perfect performance saw them finish second. Find full results here.

Florida International Youth Dressage Championships, Wellington

The next generation of stars competed on the big stage last weekend at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. Natalia Bacariza Danguillecourt, 17, from Madrid, Spain, won the FIYDC overall champion title for the second year in a row after having won both the FEI Young Rider and FEI Junior Rider divisions (and six out of six classes) aboard Dhannie Ymas and Romantico Ymas, respectively.

“They are completely different,” Natalia said of her two horses. “Dhannie is more with you and he loves being the center of attention. When he goes in the ring he’s like, ‘I’m a star.’”

Need an excuse for a quick break? Take five and watch Natalia and Dhannie’s freestyle.

Natalie Pai, 21, won the Under 25 division, presented by Diamante Farms, aboard the 18-year-old KWPN Unlimited, her partner of two years. “We’ve come such a long way,” Natalie said. “This was a long week and for him to come out there every single day and just give me everything, that’s amazing. Especially on the very last day when it was really hot, that was great. I’m really proud of him.”

The FEI Children division title went to 12-year-old Justine Boyer and Lentisco XVIII, a 18-year-old P.R.E stallion. “We both enjoy showing. He’s very sweet and very strong,” Justine said.

Scarlett Hansen, 14, from Quebec, Canada, won the FEI Pony Division with her mount of the same age, Reve De Glatigny. “My relationship with my pony is really strong. We love to play together, and he loves treats because he is a pony,” Scarlett said.

Read more from the Florida International Youth Dressage Championships

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Feature photo by Sportfot.