Articles: Horse News
U.S. Show Jumpers Storm to Victory in $75,000 FEI Nations Cup presented by
McLain Ward and Sapphire Jump Flawlessly
Sport Fot Photo
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2011
By Joanie Morris
Wellington, FL - Four of the United States' classiest veterans represented
the United States in the $75,000 FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm and
did not disappoint a packed house of fans. They dominated the field of eight
teams to win on a score of eight faults over Canada on 16. Three teams tied
for third: Great Britain, Australia and Ireland, all on 37 faults.
Under the lights in the International Ring at the Palm Beach International
Equestrian Club, McLain Ward on Sapphire, Mario Deslauriers on Urico,
Margie Engle on Indigo and Beezie Madden on Coral Reef Via Volo dominated
the field in an heroic effort under the guidance of Chef d'Equipe George
"It was a great night," said Morris. "Thanks to the sponsors, the horse
show, the course builders. I was getting some indirect rein pressure this
year... and I was just able to put great horses and riders forward. Some
years I try to save the older horses. This year it worked out and we were
finally able to beat our neighbors to the North, by a squeak."
Ward led off the U.S. Team with his two-time Olympic Gold medalist Sapphire
(owned by Ward, Tom Grossman and Blue Chip Bloodstock) and the superstar
16-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare skipped around Steve Stephens' track, not
once but twice. She made it look easy on a night where clear rounds were
hard to come by. There were only two horses to jump two clear rounds,
Sapphire and Niack de L'Abbaye. She's had a quiet winter, Ward has been
busy with his other horses, but the rust didn't show and Sapphire delivered
the performance her fans were expectation.
"It was a great class, a very good crowd and a very good course," said
Ward. "Steve Stephens does a really good job, it was the hardest Nations Cup
course I've seen here. These are four very exciting horses, mine is
obviously a veteran and Margie's is younger. They jumped very well, very
solid. It was a very solid win."
Teammates on the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Team with Ward and
Sapphire, Deslauriers returned with Urico to the big stage after a similarly
light campaign over the winter. Urico, a 10-year-old Dutch gelding (owned by
Jane Forbes Clark), jumped confidently around the course, but picked up an
unlucky rail at the bogey fence, fence 10, the double combination after the
open water. He barely touched the plank and he put in a very professional
effort around the course. Urico did not return for the second round, as only
three horses from each country had to jump twice.
"For me it was a first to represent the U.S. here in Palm Beach," said
Deslauriers, who rode for Canada until 2009. "It's a good week to represent
the U.S. here, it's good to win at home. It was a great night."
Engle and the exciting 11-year-old Dutch gelding, Indigo (owned by Garber,
Griese, Hidden Creek Farm and Gladewinds Farm) made light work of the course
in the first round and made it all the way to the last fence in the second
round without putting a foot wrong. Luck ran out at the liverpool for the
pair but Engle gave the relatively inexperienced horse all the confidence in
the world to put in professional efforts over the two rounds.
"I got a little too confident after he jumped the wall (at the second to
last) and relaxed a little," said Engle. "He got a little confused going to
the last jump."
The striking grey gelding looks to be an exciting horse for the future for
Engle and the United States.
"It's exciting to be back on the team," said Engle. "It's important for us
to do well. It's the first team for my horse. I'm very pleased."
Ward's teammate from both Olympic Gold medal-winning teams, Beezie Madden
had Coral Reef Via Volo (Coral Reef Ranch) well prepared for the 13-year-old
Belgian mare's first Nations Cup in the United States. An error in the line
that caught the majority of those that made mistakes caught Madden too in
the first round, as the yellow plank fell at fence 10a after the open
water. She made up for it in the second round, where she jumped a beautiful clear round on a far more settled horse.
"I think we made a big effort, it was a high priority to win tonight," said Madden. We haven't fielded the strongest teams here in the
past. We aimed the horses here and it paid off
- it was important to win in front of the home crowd."
The U.S. dominated the international field, and Wellington CSIO4* welcomed
teams from Venezuela, Mexico, Australia, Ireland, Great Britain, Canada and
Colombia. The U.S. Team never really looked in danger of sacrificing their
lead, although the defending champion Canadians fought back in the second
round to finish on 16 faults.
Highlights of all the action are available on www.usefnetwork.com, which
will also broadcast the $35,000 Hermes Puissance at 8 pm on Saturday night.
Please contact Joanie Morris at email@example.com for more information.
The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation is to provide
for equestrian sport in the United States of America by promoting the
of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a
foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare
of its human and equine athletes.