1 August - Team USA clinched a quality victory in the seventh leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2014 Europe Division 1 series at Hickstead in Great Britain today.  Already qualified for the Furusiyya 2014 Final through participation in the North America, Central America and Caribbean League, the Americans have been campaigning the European circuit in recent weeks in preparation for the forthcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA).  And they showed once again that they are a serious force to be reckoned with as they cruised into the lead in the early stages, and held on with conviction to claim the coveted Edward Prince of Wales Cup.

There were eight teams in the line-up and a lot riding on today’s result as five nations were battling for the last remaining qualifying points.  With just one further leg left to run, at Dublin (IRL) next Friday, it is right down to the wire as only seven of the 10 countries competing in Europe Division 1 will make the cut. The Irish and Belgians challenged strongly at the halfway stage, but it was the Dutch and Germans who shared runner-up spot at the end of the day when finishing just a fence off the winning team total on a final tally of eight faults.

And it was a disappointing day for the British hosts who struggled to finish joint-sixth with France while Sweden lined up last on a big score of 38 faults.

As the action gets underway in Dublin next week, the Irish will be under severe pressure along with the British and Ukrainians, because these three countries now fill the final three spots on the Europe Division 1 leaderboard.

For American Chef d’Equipe, Robert Ridland, it was a case of everything falling perfectly into place.

Very significant

“It was very significant, just as it was two weeks ago at Aachen (GER)” he said.  “We planned our CSIO tour that began in Rotterdam (NED) after already qualifying for the Furusiyya Final at Spruce Meadows (CAN) in June.  The tour schedule was Rotterdam, Aachen, here at Hickstead and then Dublin and I always emphasised that this was more about preparation (for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy) than selection.  We’ve been really lucky with the weather and we’ve been enjoying the highest quality of showjumping at every event” added the team manager who has 10 riders on his WEG longlist.

Ridland was delighted with McLain Ward’s double-clear result. “This was his first show in Europe, he came straight from Calgary (CAN) where he showed super form, and Rothchild has been jumping fantastic.  Beezie, in addition, has bounced back from her injury and the timing wasn’t all that bad considering that she had to adjust her schedule - she has managed to be close to 100 per cent (fit), in fact I think she is 100 per cent!” he declared.

Madden was injured in a fall from a young horse at a show at Old Salem Farm in the USA on 18 May this year.

Back riding

“I’m back riding four or five weeks now” she said today.  “First I did two smaller competitions with Simon and Cortes C and a 5-Star (show) with two other horses.  I tried to time it to come back in time to peak for the WEG which is my goal” she explained.

“I was out of action for six weeks with a broken collarbone - I had surgery to put it back together.  I had a fall competing on a young horse, he left a stride out at the water and I was lucky that the event is held close to New York city where there are so many specialist surgeons” she continued.

She believes her two top rides, Simon and Cortes C, “are both ready for the WEG” but she added that “after today I suppose I’d favour Cortes but I have two great horses and I hope I have a difficult decision to make!”

For some of the teams going to Dublin however there is a more imminent issue - qualification for the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ 2014.  The last leg of the Europe Division 1 qualifying series looks set to be a sizzler in seven days’ time.

 1.    USA 4 faults: Rothchild (McLain Ward) 0/0, Cylano (Reed Kessler) 8/4, Royce (Margie Goldstein-Engle) 0/4, Cortes C (Beezie Madden) 0/0.

2.    Netherlands 8 faults: Capetown (Wout-Jan van der Schans) 4/8, Lord Sandro (Bart Bles) 4/0, Winchester (Frank Schuttert) 4/0, VDL Bubalu (Jur Vrieling) 0/0.

2.    Germany 8 faults: Liberty Son (Marco Kutscher) 4/0, Contanga (Andre Thieme) 0/8, Embassy ll (Hans-Dieter Dreher) 4/0, Plot Blue (Marcus Ehning) 8/0.

4.    Ireland 12 faults: Imotherp (Darragh Kenny) 0/0, Golden Hawk (Shane Breen) 4/8, Molly Malone (Bertram Allen) 0/8, Antello Z (Cameron Hanley) 4/0.

4.    Belgium 12 faults: Dream of India Greenfield (Pieter Devos) 0/0, Challenge vd Begijnakker (Nicola Philippaerts) 12/4, Domino (Jos Verlooy) 4/8, Conrad de Hus (Gregory Wathelet) 0/4.

6.    Great Britain 28 faults: Zaire (Guy Williams) 8/4, Catwalk lV (Robert Whitaker) 12/12, Touchable (Jessie Drea) 4/4, Wings Sublieme (Ben Maher) 4/4.

6.    France 28 faults: Number One D'Iso Un Prince (Nicolas Delmotte) 4/8, U2 (Mathieu Billot) 4/4, Myself de Breve (Marie Hecart) 4/4, Qarat de la Loge (Julien Epaillard) 8/16.

8.    Sweden 38 faults: Click and Cash (Niklas Arvidsson) 0/8, Echo de Laubry (Royne Zettermann) 14/21, Jordan ll (Angelie von Essen) 4/9, Caral (Niklas Jonsson) 17/4.


Beezie Madden (USA) - “I knew my horse was comfortable in this ring, we were double-clear here last year, but Hickstead has an unusual atmosphere and the jumps are a bit different.  The face of the water jump is so wide and that causes problems, but they did a beautiful job with the course”.

Margie Goldstein-Engle (USA) - “it’s great to be part of a strong team. This is my first time in Hickstead, we don’t have anything like it in the US and I truly enjoyed it”.

Beezie Madden (USA) - “I’ll be taking Simon and Cortes to Dublin”.

McLain Ward (USA) - :this is a great team and I thought we had a real chance today. My horse has a huge heart, and I am so proud of him!”

Reed Kessler (USA) - “My horse jumped beautifully, I mis-rode the first line but my horse was fantastic. Rob always tries to put teams with experienced riders and bringing some new ones as well and it’s so amazing to be able to learn from such great riders”.

Standings after Round 7 of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Europe Division 1 League 2014 at Hickstead (GBR):

1.    France        -    345

2.    Netherlands    -    345

3.    Belgium    -    295

4.    Spain        -    282.5

5.    Switzerland    -    280

6.    Germany    -    255

7.    Sweden    -    220

8.    Ireland    -    205

9.    Great Britain    -    187.5

10.    Ukraine    -    170
by Louisa Parker

Photo: FEI/Jon Stroud.Beezie Madden and Cortes C clinched victory for the USA at the seventh leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Europe Division 1 series at Hickstead (GBR) today.