In front of record crowds, the fourth day of the Spruce Meadows Masters tournament saw both the American and German flag fly above the international ring.
With nine nations represented in the $300,000 BMO Nations’ Cup, 35 horse/rider combinations took to the International ring. The Leopoldo Palacios course featured 15 jumping obstacles over 560 meters of track. After Round 1, the 2011 BMO Nations Cup winners, team France, were forced to withdraw after only two of their three riders completed the course.
After finishing first in the second round with a combined total of 4 faults, team Germany rode to victory for the first time since 2007. Mentored by Chef d’Equipe Sonke Sonksen, the team of Christian Ahlmann, Hans Dieter Dreher, Daniel Deusser and Philipp Weishaupt completed the course with a combined total of 12 faults over two rounds. This win came as a surprise to Weishaupt, who was competing at Spruce Meadows for the first time. “This place is incredible,” Weishaupt said after the competition. “You hear about how good it is, but it’s nothing compared to what it feels like to actually be here.”
The German victory was so assured that their last rider, Christian Ahlmann on Taloubet Z, did not have to return for the second round. They triumphed easily over Ireland and the Netherlands. The U.S. team finished in a tie for fifth with Canada.
The U.S. team’s bright spot was 18-year-old Reed Kessler, who jumped to 4 faults in Round 1 and a clean go in Round 2 on her mount for the London Olympic Games, Cylana. Ashlee Bond rode Cadett 7 to scores of 4 and 8, while Leslie Howard posted a score of 12 in Round 1, and a clean go in Round 2. Brianne Goutal recovered from an elimination in the first round to jump with 16 faults in Round 2.
Earlier in the day, with 80,961 spectators watching in the stands, 25 horse/rider combinations saddled up for the Suncor Energy Winning Round, spread over 495 meters with 15 jumping obstacles. The top eight riders returned to the course designed by Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela, and in the end veteran U.S. rider Beezie Madden took home gold aboard Coral Reef Via Volo,
“It’s a good win for her,” Madden commented about her 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. “She’s been pretty consistent all week; I couldn’t have asked for much more from her today.” Madden is busy preparing for tomorrow’s $1,000,000 CN International Grand Prix, where she is one of three riders qualified for a $50,000 bonus, after winning the ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup in July.
On Sept. 9, Spruce Meadows is host to the biggest day of show jumping on the FEI calendar, the $1,000,000 CN International Grand prix which kicks off at 12:00 PST.