Articles: Press Release
U.S.A. Wins Samsung Super League at Aachen, Germany; Leads in Series
with Only Barcelona Remaining
Kenneth Kraus and Ken for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International Braddick
Mason Phelps, Jr. of Phelps Media Group, Inc. at (561)
753-3389 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
AACHEN, Germany - Aug. 26 - Riding two clear rounds with a broken collar
bone, McLain Ward led the United States to victory in the Samsung Super
League on Friday before 48,000 fans at the World Equestrian Festival.
The victory was the second in the eight-event premier international
league of show jumping and put the United States back atop the standings
with only one event remaining, that in Barcelona, in mid-September.
The U.S. team consisted of Ward, of Brewster, New York on Double H
Farm's Sapphire, Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, New York on Authentic,
owned by Abigail Wexner, Laura Kraut of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin on Pasmore
Stable's Miss Independent and Jeffery Welles of Ridgefield, Connecticut
Riding Armani, owned by Kimmel-Yeager Equine. They became instant
celebrities after their win which led to an emotional celebration that
embraced the Chef d'Equipe, George Morris of Flemington, New Jersey with
demands from the riders that he remain the leader of the U.S. show
American fans were mingled with the huge crowds for the win in the
double-round competition that pits the world's top eight show jumping
nations against each other at eight different European venues. The
Netherlands and France tied for second place while the Germans, despite
fielding a team that included Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, formerly of
Los Angeles but now a German citizen, and her brother-in-law, Ludger
Beerbaum, finished in seventh place. Germany had held hopes of victory
on their home turf, especially as Aachen is the site of the 2006 World
Ward's broken collar bone, sustained during a Super League competition
in Hickstead, England four weeks ago, had kept him out of competition
until this week because he wanted to be available to ride for the United
States. The seriousness of the injury was virtually unknown to the
crowds and the European media until after Friday's competition. He was
one of only two riders to go clear twice.
When the condition of his health became known to the media, he was
flooded with questions.
"We have great doctors at the U.S. Federation," he said. "They told me I
should allow three months to mend. 'But you're not going to do that, are
you?', one of them asked me. I said, 'Are you kidding?' So they said if
it felt right, I could ride again in three weeks but if I fell, it would
not be great. This week was the first week back riding."
"My horse was amazing. I was just kinda hanging on," Ward laughed. "She
jumped incredible. I had not been riding well all week. I was pretty
frustrated last night, really. My horses have been in great form all
week, but I've been just average and very rusty," he said. "Today, I
knew she was going to jump well and I just wanted to stay out of her
way. All I can say is what a wonderful horse Sapphire is. I'm only half
a rider and she carried me around to two clear rounds."
"McLain was absolutely incredible today," said Jeffery Welles. "This is
really big for us. The United States hadn't won in Aachen since 1987, so
today's win was huge." Welles, who had won in Germany before, but had
never competed at Aachen, talked about walking in that show ring for the
first time. "Incredible. That stadium is just unbelievable. To compete
here is an honor," he said.
Kraut's horse, Miss Independent, which has shown in six of the seven
Super League competitions so far this year, threw a shoe right before
the 10th fence in the second round, causing her some problems down the
Madden, anchoring the team for the third time this season on Authentic,
said that she felt less pressure in the second round than the first
because of the large cushion created by her teammates. Madden, as the
last to go, knew she had a two knock down margin.
Morris became the team leader at the start of the Super League in April
this year, the second season the U.S. has been a participant. The U.S.
won that first event, in France, and has since remained at or near the
top of the standings.
"I had a premonition about this class and although we didn't have a
great show at Aachen leading up to the Super League, I felt we would do
well today," said Morris.
"This was very big victory," Morris said. "And we won it handily
considering McLain had a broken collar bone and Miss Independent cast a
shoe in the last round. I thought the Germans would be much stronger,
but they didn't have their best day," Morris admitted.
In a team meeting last night, Morris talked to his team and told them,
"This is an American team and I want it ridden the American way. I made
that very clear," he said. "We have the best system in the world and we
should stick to it and not get distracted by other systems. It's all
about being over here and building depth and we're doing that now."
"Now I have to keep it going," Morris said. "This feeling is fabulous.
I'm happy when I'm winning and I'm unhappy when I'm not winning."
The United States riders are competing in Aachen with the help of grants
from the United States Equestrian Team Foundation.
Your contributions to the United States Equestrian Team Foundation
support America's High Performance athletes at international
competitions. Please contribute online at
Visit the official website of the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen,
Germany at: http://www.chioaachen.de or
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