WELLINGTON, Fla. — Despite a clear round from Beezie Madden, the NetJets® U.S. Show Jumping Team finished seventh in the $150,000 FEI Nations Cup, presented by U.S. Trust/Bank of America Merrill Lynch, at CSIO4* Wellington on Saturday, March 3.
The pathfinders for the U.S., Lillie Keenan (New York, N.Y.) and Fibonacci 17 owned by Chansonette Farm, LLC, finished the first round with 12 faults for jumping and one fault for time. Their score was dropped.
Catherine Tyree (Chicago, Ill.) rode next, finishing on eight faults with Mary Tyree’s 11-year-old KWPN gelding, Bokai.
It was then up to Adrienne Sternlicht (Greenwich, Conn.) and Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) to produce clear rounds for the U.S., and both the U25 athlete and the four-time Olympian delivered. With clear efforts from Sternlicht on Cristalline, the nine-year-old Bavarian Warmblood mare owned by Starlight Farms 1, LLC, and Madden aboard Breitling LS, the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Abigail Wexner, the U.S. finished round one on eight faults.
However, with only the top six teams from a highly competitive field of nine countries advancing to round two, the NetJets U.S. Show Jumping Team’s night ended following round one.
“It’s pretty unusual that you come out of the first round on eight faults and don’t make the second round. It’s certainly a first in a long time,” said U.S. Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “It’s a very competitive Nations Cup. We’ve now had two Nations Cups in a row that have been extremely competitive, and the courses have been right on.”
While the Saturday night FEI Nations Cup did not end in the winning outcome that the NetJets U.S. Show Jumping Team always strives for, it served as a valuable learning tool and opportunity to test new partnerships.
“One of the reasons Lillie Keenan was on the team with Fibonacci was to really give her a chance to get to know that horse,” said Ridland of Keenan’s partnership with the 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding. “You have to do a lot of that in the ring, in the field of play. I guess one of the shocks is not even being in the second round because we had a totally different game plan that we were going to do for the second round. It would have been nice to see how that worked out for Lillie.
“What tonight shows though is that this is a strong sport,” Ridland concluded. “The teams that are coming to play are real. It doesn’t afford you much of a margin for error, and we certainly saw that tonight.”
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