USA clinch closely fought Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup

America wins the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup leg of Great Britain

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The USA team rode out as the winners of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ of Great Britain, with the quartet of McLain Ward (Rothchild), Reed Kessler (Cylana), Margie Goldstein-Engle (Royce) and Beezie Madden (Cortes C) leading from the start. After the first round, they were the only nation to finish on a zero score, having discarded 20-year-old Reed Kessler's eight faults. But Ireland and Belgium were very much still in the frame at this stage, carrying four faults apiece after round one, with Germany and the Netherlands on eight faults each.

The other three nations were starting to lag behind the leaders at this point with France on 12 faults, Great Britain on 16 and Sweden on 18 - and these were the teams that eventually took the bottom three places, with Great Britain and France in equal sixth (28 faults) and Sweden in eighth (38 faults).

The Netherlands and Germany took second and third places respectively by posting clean team sheets in round two, while Ireland and Belgium added eight faults to their tally in round two. But the USA kept nailing the clear rounds, with McLain Ward posting a double clear and Beezie doing the same to prevent a jump-off with Netherlands and Germany and put them in the lead with just four faults in total.

"I felt like we've been having a great time the past few weeks. I never got to ride in a winning team so this is a first for me and it's very special to be a part of," said Rob Ridland - Chef D'Equipe of the American team.

It was a fantastic return for Beezie Madden, who had a competition fall in May that left her with a plate in her left collarbone. "I don't notice it much at all anymore. My main goal is to hopefully make the team for the World Equestrian Games, so I worked out when I needed to come back," she said.

US team veteran Margie Goldstein-Engle was making her Hickstead debut. "I've heard all about it - there's a great crowd out there, we don't have anywhere quite like it in the US," she said.

The Brits had mixed fortunes, with Ben Maher jumping two good rounds except for a foot in the water each time with Wings Sublieme. Jessie Drea and Touchable - making their Hickstead Nations Cup debut - had just the penultimate fence down both times, but the 22-year-old rode polished and mature rounds. Guy Williams improved on his eight faults in round one to have four faults in round two, while Robert Whitaker and Catwalk IV were the discount score in both rounds, with 12 faults each time.

The pressure is now on the British team to deliver a win at the final leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup series in Dublin next weekend, where they must score maximum points if they are to stay in the top division next season. "If we win in Dublin we're alright and we won't get relegated," said chef d'equipe Rob Hoekstra. "It was a very mixed day today - I was very pleased with Jessie and also with Ben, he rode fantastically like he always does, but his horse was just a bit green at the water."

The winner of this morning's Bunn Leisure International Stakes was Ireland's Darragh Kenny on Quiz, while British riders Steven Whitaker and Douglas Duffin filled second and third spots. In the showing, Lancashire rider Jonny Stevens won the TAAS BSPS Heritage Mountain and Moorland Supreme Ridden Championship, riding Balmoral Erica. The pair took the overall honours having won the Heritage Mountain and Moorland Open Ridden Championship for Fells, Dales and Highlands earlier in the day. Balmoral Erica is a Highland pony, owned by Her Majesty The Queen, who is also a patron of the Longines Royal International Horse Show.

Prolific show producer Louise Bell won the Horsedeals.co.uk Supreme Working Hunter Championship riding W Get Smart. The pair took the overall honours having won the Heavyweight Hunter Championship earlier in the day. Louise also competes this horse at Advanced level dressage.

Adam Winbourne won the Topham Barnes Supreme Riding Horse Championship, riding Kathryn Pitt's 'China Rose'.

Tomorrow's highlight is the prestigious national showjumping final, the Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup.

 

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