Katie Dinan has had a busy few months. It’s her first year representing the United States in senior competition, and she’s not been wasting any time. She’s competed at Nations Cups in Hickstead (Great Britain), Dublin and Spruce Meadows (Alberta), scoring clear rounds at Hickstead and Spruce. Then she had strong finishes at the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix (N.Y.) and the American Gold Cup (Ohio). So this fall she’d been planning to settle in and focus on her sophomore year studies at Harvard University (Mass.).
But one phone call changed everything.
After a long biology lab last Tuesday, Dinan was heading back to her dorm when U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland called, asking her to fill in at the Furusiyya Nations Cup Final after Laura Kraut had to withdraw Cedric due to an injury.
“He said I was going to be part of the U.S. team this week,” said Dinan, 20. “It was so exciting. It’s such an honor to be a part of the U.S. contingent. Obviously I said, ‘Yes, I’ll do everything I can to be there.’ I called [my trainer] McLain [Ward] again to go over logistics, and he informed me that we were leaving Monday, so I had to figure out how to miss the entire week of school. I’m really lucky that my teachers and everyone at school was super supportive and very flexible.”
Dinan, New York City, scheduled a flurry of meetings with professors to explain that she had to head to Barcelona, Spain, to serve as the reserve rider for the U.S. squad at the inaugural Final, held at the Barcelona CSIO. She figured out how to reschedule a midterm or three, tossed a few textbooks in her suitcase along with her breeches, and headed to Spain.
So far, she and her teammates are off to a good start. In this morning’s Coca-Cola Trophy speed class, which served as a warm-up for most riders, Glory Days ticked a single rail but performed well.
Ward kept a clean sheet on his Nations Cup mount, Rothchild. He said the conditions favor his mount, so he feels confident heading into tomorrow’s Final.
“He likes predictable footing,” said Ward. “He’s a little horse, so when it gets muddier or soggy grass, that’s a little tough for him. He’s a hot horse, so the warm weather is really good for him.”
Lucy Davis, fresh off a win at the GCT Lausanne Grand Prix, will also be riding for team USA. Her partner Barron had the first rail down.
“The plan was definitely training, for me to try to get consistently to every jump, same distance, so he’s relaxed and jumping loose,“ she said. “By the end, I didn’t have to do anything.”
Colombian rider Rene Lopez and Polissonne des Neyes won the class.
Fellow U.S. team members Beezie Madden and Reed Kessler are scheduled to compete in this afternoon’s La Vanguardia Trophy class.
For ongoing coverage of the Furusiyya Nations Cup Final and CSIO Barcelona, check back at chronofhorse.com, and look for a detailed report and analysis in the Oct. 14 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse. You can find results from today’s class at the official Barcelona CSIO website.