First ever all-female side to win the coveted Aga Khan trophy; third-placed Dutch win Europe Division 1 League.

Team USA secured a definitive victory in the eighth and last leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Europe Division 1 League in Dublin (IRL) today when producing the only zero score in a hard-fought competition. On level pegging with the Irish at the halfway stage they stood firm while their hosts lost their grip to drop to fifth behind Spain.

In the closing stages the Netherlands and France threw down a challenge, and American anchor Laura Kraut (51) was under pressure when last to go with Confu. But the double-Olympian didn’t crumble, posting the second US double-clear of the competition to seal it ahead of the runners-up from France, while the Dutch slotted into third place. This was the first all-female team triumph in the 91-year history of Nations Cup Jumping for the world-famous Aga Khan Cup in Dublin.

“We said at the beginning of the year this was one of the shows we are bringing our “A” team to…it’s our view that the Aga Khan is the greatest trophy in our sport. And more than that there are many ways to win a Nations Cup, sometimes you get lucky, but today in my view there was no luck. These four riders did an unbelievable job!” Robert Ridland, USA Chef d’Equipe

The time-allowed of 80 seconds proved difficult for many over Irish course-builder Tom Holden’s track, and a speedy turn to the final oxer was often costly. Beezie Madden’s (53) mistake here with her new ride Darry Lou was the American drop score in round one, but the pair got it absolutely right in round two after pathfinders Lauren Hough (40) and the brilliant mare Ohlala produced their second clear of the day and rising talent Lillie Keenan (20) made her only mistake at the first element of the penultimate double with Super Sox.

Kraut clinched it with a crisp, clear run to leave a five-fault margin between the winning US side and the French in second while the points earned by the third-placed Dutch, whose final tally was just seven faults, saw them overtake Italy at the top of the Europe Division 1 leaderboard at the end of the eight-leg series.


1. USA 0 faults: Ohlala (Lauren Hough) 0/0, Super Sox (Lillie Keenan) 0/5, Darry Lou (Beezie Madden) 4/0, Confu (Laura Kraut) 0/0.

2. France 5 faults: For Joy van’T Zorgvliet HDC (Kevin Staut) 0/4, Cliffton Belesbat (Marc Dilasser) 20.0, Cenwood Delle Lame (Marie Hecart) 1/Elim, Eros (Olivier Robert) 0/0.

3. Netherlands 7 faults: Whitney BB (Michael Greeve) 0/0, Charly (Donor Kuipers) 1/0, Baileys (Michel Hendrix) 1/8, Chianti’s Champion (Frank Schuttert) 8/5.

Facts and Figures:

 All 8 nations from Europe Division 1 will compete at the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final 2017 which will take place at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP) from 28 September to 1 October.

France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland earned their places when finishing within the top-seven cut-off qualification zone after today’s final leg. 

The Spanish, who finished last on the Europe Division 1 league table, will compete as host nation in Barcelona and this will be the fifth successive FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final to take place at the Spanish venue.

4 double-clear rounds in today’s competition - from USA’s Lauren Hough (Ohlala) and Laura Kraut (Confu), French rider Olivier Robert (Eros) and Dutch pathfinder Michael Greeve (Whitney BB).

Team USA has now won the Aga Khan trophy for the Nations Cup in Dublin on seven occasions. They recorded their first victory in 1948 and were also winners in 2014.


Beezie Madden USA, talking about her horse Darry Lou: ”He’s a new horse. He came from Mexico and the highest he jumped there was 1.55m or so. I got him in May and this was only his third 1.60m course today. It was my mistake in the first round. He’s like a Cadillac to ride!”

Lauren Hough USA: Ohlala is fantastic, she’s my partner now for five years and I feel like I’m still learning but today she made my job feel easy. I’m always happy to be lead-off rider, I have a bit my own plan with her because she has a very small stride and I made my plan and stuck with it. She jumped both rounds fantastic, sometimes you really feel like you’re fighting (with her) and its hard work but I have to say today she made it easy and fun!"

Lillie Keenan USA: “There’s no other feeling like winning a Nations Cup for your country and to be winning in Dublin is extra special. Competing here and having a result like this has been a goal since the beginning.”

Laura Kraut USA, talking about the similarities between her winning ride, Confu, and her legendary 2008 Olympic team gold medal winning horse Cedric, who is now retired: "Oddly enough I found out when we were in Aachen that they share the same grandmother or something. I had no idea that they were remotely related so that’s very exciting. He (Confu) is as much of a cheeky monkey as Cedric, so for me he’s wonderful. I love him, he’s a trier, he’s a pet and he’s fun to ride and be around. But Cedric can’t be replaced."

Standings in FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Europe Division 1 after round 8 (final leg) in Dublin (IRL):

1. Netherlands - 360

2. Italy - 345

3. France - 337.5

4. Switzerland - 330

5. Germany - 325

6. Sweden - 307.5

7. Ireland - 305

8. Spain - 275

FEI press release by Louise Parkes

image: The US team of Laura Kraut, Lillie Keenan, Lauren Hough and Beezie Madden with Chef d'Equipe Robert Ridland hold the Aga Khan Trophy aloft after winning the eighth and final leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Europe Division 1 League in Dublin (IRL) (FEI/Christophe Taniere)