Articles: Press Release
US Show Jumpers Look Sharp Tied for Lead after First Round of Team
Competition at 2008 Olympic Games
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2008
Hong Kong, China - The US show jumpers were all business when they
returned to the main arena at Sha Tin tonight for the first round of the
Nations Cup, the US riders finished on 12 faults, tied with Switzerland
for the lead.
Bookended by two members of the 2004 Gold medal winning team, Team USA's
performance was impressive, although somewhat unpredictable.
McLain Ward and Sapphire started it off for the US but they had plenty
of time to watch as they were the 52nd combination in the ring, due to
the advantageous draw of the team based on their impressive performance
in the first individual qualifier two nights earlier. The top eight
teams did not even begin jumping until 9.40 pm.
Ward, from Brewster, NY is always professional and Sapphire knows her
job. They jumped one of five double clear rounds.
"She was great," said Ward. "I don't think she has touched a fence yet."
The 13-year-old Belgian mare (owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock, Ward and
Tom Grossman) was flawless over the difficult course designed by Steve
Stephens and Leopaldo Palacios.
"The course was very technical, very difficult and very careful," said
Ward. "She was very comfortable in there. She is as solid as a rock."
Sapphire had been suffering from heat rash since she arrived in Hong
Kong, but Ward said she is much better, due in large part to the
terrific team he has assembled around him.
"This is not a one man show," said Ward. "I have to thank everyone back
in the barn and back at home."
Seven horses later Happy Hill Farm's Cedric defied gravity for Laura
Kraut. The 10-year-old Dutch gelding had the very last fence down, which
Kraut took complete ownership of.
"I have trouble making the time on him because I can't hurry him" said
Kraut, who lives in Wellington, FL. "I was feeling confident down to the
last and I should have taken one more tug and had a time fault. It was a
mental error on my part."
The winner of the USEF Selection Trials in March is one of the least
experienced (and smallest) horses in the competition but watching him in
the ring wouldn't give it away.
"My horse is one of the greenest," said Kraut, who lives in Wellington,
FL. "So I'm glad I didn't let my team down. I'm thrilled with my horse,
he gave me a funny jump at the wall - which he can do, but then he went
down through the triple like it was a gymnastic. I'm really pleased with
The US horses were coming up quickly and after another seven horses,
Will Simpson rode an exciting round on a lively Carlsson vom Dach. Owned
by El Campeon Farm, Carlsson vom Dach was fresh starting off, he put a
toe on the tape at the water jump at fence four, and then the second
part of the triple down for eight faults.
"We had a bobble at the water," said Simpson. "Other than that the
course rode pretty good. I miscalculated the four stride and ended up
too far into the corner before the triple. I was too far away from B, he
was a good horse to even try."
The 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding has continued to improve all year and
both Simpson (from Thousand Oaks, CA) and Carlsson were certainly not
outclassed in their Olympic debut.
"The water comes up quickly with that blind turn early in the course,"
said Simpson. "He jumped it fine but just landed on the tape. I think
he'll be fine for tomorrow."
The very last horse in the ring was Abigail Wexner's Authentic
(Sapphire's teammate from 2004). Dependable as any horse in the world,
Authentic had a strange thing happen to him right before the triple. His
rider, Beezie Madden couldn't explain why he began shaking his head and
never saw the first part of the combination.
"Something was bothering his ear," said Madden. "He started shaking his
head and he never even saw the jump. He was still shaking his head
through the combination. He felt great, I was shocked. He never even saw
it. He was like a horse with water in his ear."
The 13-year-old KWPN gelding jumped in his usual form for the rest of
Team USA and Switzerland are tied on 12 faults and Sweden has 13. The
top eight scores (which means nine teams as Germany and Australia are
tied on 20 faults) will jump again tomorrow night at 7.15 pm.
For complete results please see: www.equestrian2008.org
. For more information, please contact
Joanie Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation(r) is to provide
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of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a
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of its human and equine athletes.