Articles: Horse News
U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team Finishes Sixth; Fellers and Ward Advance to
Beezie Madden and Via Volo
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
By Joanie Morris
By Joanie Morris
Greenwich, UK - Hard luck continued for the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team
as they rallied for a sixth place finish in the Team Championship at
Greenwich Park. American anchor rider Rich Fellers said "Clear rounds win
medals" and today that proved true as Great Britain won Team Gold for the
first time since 1952. They did it in classic style in front of a home crowd
of 20,000 fans, jumping off with Holland for the Gold medal. It was a
masterful effort by the home team. Saudi Arabia won Bronze.
Bob Ellis' track proved incredibly tough and scopey and only eight of the 51
starters managed clear rounds. The water line, from fences three to five
proved very influential. The best American effort was turned in by Beezie
Madden (Cazenovia, NY) who rebounded back from a rough start to the Olympic
Games on Via Volo to fault at the third to last fence, a massive oxer.
"For sure its harder without saying," said Madden. "And more technical. The
water is more difficult and the double to the vertical is quite
difficult... and the last three jumps are just plain old big."
Madden and Coral Reef Ranch's 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare jumped a
confident effort up to that point and were in good company on four faults.
"I don't think she was so much tired as just a little aggressive," said
Madden of her rail. "Instead of backing up there she went at it."
Madden feels like her mare is back on track after being eliminated in the
First Individual Qualifier.
"She felt great," said Madden. "It felt like a normal round out there for us
Fellers (Wilsonville, OR) on Flexible and McLain Ward (Brewster, NY) on
Antares F both go forward to the Individual final on Wednesday despite the
fact that they each had eight-fault efforts in the second round of the
Nations Cup. They bookended the team and Ward and Grant Road Partners
12-year-old Baden Wurtenburger gelding were unlucky to have the second fence
down, followed by a mistake in the triple combination.
"I think you have to assume the horses are fatigued," said Fellers. "But
mine felt ok."
Fellers and Flexible hadn't had a first-round fault since March so their two
rails were a surprise. But Fellers is still looking for an Individual medal
- they had a cheap rail at fence six and then Fellers overrode Harry and
Mollie Chapman's 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion at the front rail of
the massive oxer at fence eight.
"It was quite a wide fence, probably the widest on the course, and I stepped
on the gas pedal a little hard off the ground, thinking about the back rail
and disregarding the front rail and ran him into it a little bit. I felt
like he finished up great," said Fellers. "It will be nice to have a day of
rest and then come back really good on Wednesday."
Everyone who starts the Individual Final starts on a score of zero.
Rookie Reed Kessler (Lexington, KY) was the youngest competitor in the
entire field at age 18 (and the youngest ever on the U.S. Equestrian
Team). She rode beyond her years and despite a 12-fault effort on Cylana she
proudly represented her country along side two double Gold medalists (Madden
and Ward) and the reigning Rolex/FEI World Cup Champion (Fellers).
"It gets bigger and bigger each day," said Kessler. "It's been a real
test. I wish I could have turned in a clear for my team but this is my first
major championship. I think she got little tired by the last line and I
think the five (to the last fence) was a little far and reachy. But she
jumped great and I couldn't ask for a better horse. For her to take someone
of my age with my experience to the Games is more than anyone could ask."
The Individual Final is Wednesday - the top 35 (a maximum of three riders
from each country) advance to the final.
Times and results are available at http://www.london2012.com/equestrian/
For more information about the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team visit
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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