Caen, France—Sept. 3
“It was pressure, but it was fun pressure,” said Beezie Madden.
What’s considered fun pressure? For Madden that’s riding last on the Hermes U.S. Show Jumping Team and knowing your team has already qualified for the final day of competition, but a clear round will make your position at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games even stronger. And if anyone can handle that anchor spot—and manage to call it “fun pressure” along the way—it’s Madden, who has multiple Olympic team gold medals and a Rolex FEI World Cup Final title to her name.
Madden and Cortes ‘C’ jumped a clear today, on the second day of jumping, to put the United States into a second-placed position heading into tomorrow’s final team day. Lucy Davis on Barron and Kent Farrington on Voyeur each earned 4 faults, and McLain Ward jumped clear on Rothchild as the first rider in the ring. (Read a report from the morning rounds.) The Netherlands lead, but they’re only one rail ahead.
“My horse is so fantastic, and he seems to love the place,” said Madden. “He jumps the fences so easily, and he makes my job easy. It’s so nice if you have confidence in your horse that he’s going to jump clear. Knock on wood, he’s been right there for me for quite a while now.”
Though their clear never looked in doubt, Madden still had a few critiques for her own ride. She said Cortes was a little strong getting to fence 8 and just ticked it, and the triple, at 4ABC, didn’t ride 100 percent to plan either.
“McLain told me that coming to the triple was coming up deep for everyone,” Madden said. “I guess in the beginning a bunch had the front rail down. I was getting to it, and I thought, ‘McLain warned me about this, and I’m still getting there a little too deep!’ He jumped it great anyway.”
Thanks to her clear, Madden is also in a good individual position. She’s currently second behind France’s Patrice Delaveau on Orient Express HDC.
“It’s always more difficult on the first day,” said Delaveau. “It was a great relief at the end of yesterday to have done so well on the first part of competition. But we need to remain focused. One clear round is not enough.”
And despite her own placing, Madden’s not thinking about the individual competition until after the team portion concludes.
“I want to do my best to try to win a gold with the team, and the rest will be icing on the cake if it happens,” said Madden. “We’re guardedly excited, I’d say. We have a lot to do tomorrow. It’ll be quite tough, and all the top teams will be in, and everything will happen a little quicker. Usually the last day is what you remember as being big. That’s usually the impressive one.”
The top 10 teams (the Netherlands, United States, Germany, France, Brazil, Canada, Sweden, Ireland, Colombia and the Ukraine) all jump tomorrow for medals. The Dutch team feels confident about their first-placed position, but they know there’s still work to be done.
“I was really happy today and yesterday that all four of my riders did marvelous rounds and were really motivated and concentrated. The horses are all in good shape,” said Rob Ehrens, coach for the Dutch jumping team. “We’re realistic. It’s another very difficult day to go tomorrow. But for now we’re really happy, and we’re ready for the battle.”
The scariest moment of the day came when Chilean rider Tomas Couve Correa fell after his mount Underwraps crashed through fence 8. Screens were put up around him while medical personnel attended to him. A Fédération Equestre Internationale press release stated he was conscious when he was taken away, and that his injuries weren’t life threatening. Underwraps walked away without apparent injury.
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