AACHEN, Germany--The U.S. Jumping Team finished fourth in the Nations Cup CSIO5* under the lights on Thursday, June 29 in the Main Stadium at CHIO Aachen in front of an electric crowd packing the stands.
The U.S. team, led by chef d'equipe Robert Ridland, finished on a total of 12 faults over two rounds, with Switzerland winning on four faults, Great Britain taking second place on eight, and Belgium taking third, also on eight faults but with a slower aggregate time.
On Friday, the U.S. Eventing team was in fourth place following dressage and show jumping, with the cross country scheduled for 4 a.m. Saturday morning Eastern time, but the team standings as well as individual standing are very close.
Great Britain leads on 80.8, with Germany second on 89.1, New Zealand third, 90.3, U.S. fourth, 91.1,Australia fifth, 95.5, France sixth, 112 and Ireland sixth, 114.7.
Individually, Tom McEwan leads on 24.3, Michael Jung is second on 24.4, followed by Yasmin Ingham, third on 25.5, Tim Price, 26, Will Coleman on Off the Record fifth on his dressage score of 28.10, with Tamie Smith on Mai Baum ninth on 30.4, Elizabeth Halliday-Sharp on Miks Master C 14th on 32.1 and Phillip Dutton on Z 18th on 32.8.
Ridland said Aachen was packed and the atmosphere electric on Thursday evening.
“We always aim for the podium, and we just missed it here, but these are eight of the top teams in the world and I think overall we were quite encouraged,"said Ridland. "McLain’s double clear was a masterpiece, and for Natalie, it was a great performance for her as well."
"THIS IS the big stage and on a Thursday night in Aachen, there’s never an empty seat in the house," he said. It’s something you live for in this sport, and it’s great to see Devin and Eddie Blue back here for the team too. They jumped very well and good to see them jumping these big classes again. Laura’s horse was very on edge with the atmosphere, and she really tried to manage it the best she could, but overall it’s a good experience that will make him an even better horse in the future. Overall, we’re feeling good about where we are as a group looking ahead to the fall.”
"Fourth place is not my favorite place," said Ridland. "But I feel better about it today. We didn't have our top team here, as we had our top team at the Nations Cup in California to qualify for Barcelona, and the top eight teams in the world were here. Look at who we beat, Germany, Sweden, France and Netherlands."
Devin Ryan of Long Valley, N.J., on Eddie Blue went first for the team, and third in the overall order.
Ryan was nearly perfect in the first round over the big track built by Frank Rothenberger of Germany, but just nudged the last vertical from the cups to end on four faults.
Natalie Dean of Palo Alto, Calif., on Acota M, riding in her first Nations Cup at Aachen representing the U.S. Team, had the Rolex vertical down for four faults.
Kraut of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., on Baloutinue was third in the order, but had two rails for a total of eight faults.
"Baloutinue as definitely affected by the atmosphere," said Ridland. "He was even wired in the warm-up area."
Ward of Brewster, N.Y, went last as the anchor rider on Callas and went clean, so the team went into the second round on a team total of eight faults.
In the second round, Ryan corrected his earlier approach to the last fence to go clean.
Dean again had one rail down, and Kraut also had one down.
Ward was clean again to have the team finish on four faults in the second round for a total of 12 over the two rounds.
“First and foremost, as the anchor rider for the team, and knowing we were having a bit of bad luck with four fault rounds, I wanted to deliver the best performances I could with Callas for the team," said Ward. For me personally, it was also the only opportunity for me to qualify for the Grand Prix on Sunday and sometimes when you really have your back against the wall, you have to push those things out of your mind and only focus on executing the job."
"She’s just a spectacular mare and has a wonderful character," said Ward. "The Revers, who also own Contagious, their daughter, Annie, rode Callas at the Grand Prix level successfully for many years. They’ve put their trust in me to ride the horses at this level and I’d like to thank my friend Max Amaya for helping to make this partnership happen.”
It was extremely important for Ward to qualify for the Grand Prix as it is the third leg in the Rolex Grand Slam, and Ward has two legs on the most prestigious award, having won the first two on HH Azur, who went clean in an earlier class in Aachen to enable her to compete in the Grand Prix, which is scheduled for 8 a.m. Sunday morning, Eastern time.
Ward was one of six double clear in the Nations Cup.
Kraut on Haley won a Jumping, two phases class on Friday, finishing in 30.23 to beat Alain Jufer, 30.68, and Ben Maher, 31.45.
All Aachen events can be live streamed on ClipMyHorse.