Dublin, Ireland—Aug. 8
On a day of extraordinary sport, Team USA made it a spectacular three-in-a-row with victory at the eighth and last leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping in Dublin, Ireland today.
It was a roller-coaster ride from start to finish, with drama from the outset and intense pressure all the way through. But as the Hermès U.S. team climbed the podium, they were all smiles and celebration. Charlie Jayne hoisted the famed Aga Khan cup over his head, then he and Jessica Springsteen and Katie Dinan examined it closely.
USA Chef d'Equipe Robert Ridland, Beezie Madden, Charlie Jayne, Katie Dinan,
the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Ireland His Excellency Abdul Aziz Abdul
Rahman Aldriss, and Jessica Springsteen. Photo by Tony Parkes/FEI
Last week, at Hickstead , Beezie Madden’s last round as the anchor was crucial to clinch the title, but at Dublin, she didn’t even have to jump again. Her young teammates—Springsteen, Jayne and Dinan—all went clean in Round 2, allowing the U.S. team to finish on the 4 faults they’d earned in Round 1 without Madden needing to jump.
Springsteen and Jayne both jumped clean in both rounds, turning in two of the four double-clean performances of the day.
“We always expected a thriller here—Dublin is very special in our sport,” said U.S. Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “To see the next generation come here and do what they did is fantastic.” he added.
He knows he has some serious ammunition for his side that will contest the forthcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy (France) and some big decisions to make over the coming days.
“We have 10 riders on our short list and I’ve been shuffling the decks for the last few weeks—our team last week [at Hickstead] was very different to this week, just Beezie was on the Hickstead team last Friday. I’m really happy with the way things worked out here, Ridland added.
And when pressed to confirm if any of the four riders in today’s side will be travelling to France he replied, “You’ll find out about that next Wednesday.....”
Today’s result showed great strength in depth for the American team.Jayne was rock solid and 21-year-old Katie Dinan continued to amaze with her gifted gelding Nougat du Vallet. “I was very lucky to get my horse in 2011 and I’m lucky he became the horse he did and that we can compete at this level,” Dinan said modestly.
She has been seen on numerous occasions around the Royal Dublin Society showgrounds this week with her tiny little dog, Delilah, who has been attracting a lot of attention. “We adopted her at the Young Rider Championship and she goes everywhere with me because she brings me luck!” Dinan explained.
Springsteen was also attracting attention throughout the week as her father, rock legend Bruce Springsteen, was on hand to watch his daughter in action. But Jessica showed she’s entitled to attention on her own merits rather than her family connections. She was on fire when winning Aug. 7’s Winning Round at the Dublin fixture and cruised through two fabulous rounds today to help clinch another historic victory for her country.
“I’ve never been on a team before at this level and I was nervous today, but my horse is incredible and we have a great partnership—he’s so brave and confident. I couldn’t ask for more from any horse, and he’s not as strong as he looks!” she said with delight tonight.
Jessica Springsteen turned in two critical clear rounds aboard Vindict W for the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping team at Dublin. Photo by Tony Parkes/FEI
Three of the European nations were in a fierce fight to stay in Division 1 of the Furusiyya European series, but the U.S. has nothing to fear as they qualified for the Final through their regional series two months ago and have been on a roll ever since. With the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ on the horizon they’ve been building to a crescendo, scooping a sensational hat-trick over the past seven days with victory at the Europe Division 1 qualifier in Hickstead (England)  last Friday, another at the penultimate leg of Europe Division 2 in Gijon (Spain)  last Saturday and then in Dublin today.
They are a formidable force right now, but Ridland isn’t going to let anyone get too carried away. “We are confident, but we are keeping it in perspective,” he said.
The British were one of three nations fiercely fighting to fend off a spell in Europe Division 2 next season, and they succeeded in style when filling runner-up spot at the end of the day. But for Ukraine it was deep disappointment as, despite lining up joint-third with France and Sweden, they remain at the bottom of the 10-team leaderboard and drop out of the top league for the near future at least.
It was also an unnerving day for the Irish hosts who failed to make the cut to the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2014 Final in Barcelona in October along with Ukraine and Switzerland when finishing joint-sixth alongside the Netherlands. Lying ninth in the final Europe Division 1 standings, the Irish must now wait to see how the second team that qualifies from Europe Division 2 fares at the Barcelona final before they will learn their fate for 2015.
The elimination of German maestro, Ludger Beerbaum, as first man into the ring for the day gave the crowd some inkling of what might lie ahead. The packed stadium of enthusiastic spectators gasped with near-disbelief when his 15-year-old stallion, Chaman, took a severe dislike to the first element of the Longines triple combination at fence 8 and refused to continue. Chaman repeated that performance in Round 2m leaving the Germans with no drop score. When Patrick Stuehlmeyer’s horse stopped twice at another fence and was eliminated, the team was out of the competition.
U.S. anchor, Beezie Madden also experienced an uncomfortable moment at the triple combination first time out with Simon who hit the first and second elements after hesitating and losing impulsion on the approach. The fence continued to play its part throughout the second round, both Irish anchor Dermott Lennon (Loughview Lou-Lou) and Ukrainian pathfinder Cassio Rivetti (Sea Coast Forlap) eliminated for two refusals at the opening element this time out.
By the end of the second round, it was up to the U.S. team and the British. By the time British anchor Scott Brash cantered into the ring, the U.S. team was resting comfortably on a total of 4. The British also had 4, but Brash’s score had to count. It was still quite possible that the British could push the Americans to a jump-off decider if Brash could leave all the fences up, but the vertical at 9 hit the dirt and it was all over.
The USA had the win in the bag, recording only their sixth victory in the 141 editions of the Dublin Horse Show. Their first was way back in 1948 when Capt. J.W. Russel (Airmail), Col. J.F. Wing (Democrat), Lt. Col. C.H. Anderson (Riem) and Lt. Col. C.A. Smyroski (Nipper) claimed the coveted Aga Khan Trophy. They won again in 1964, 1968, 1980 and in 1993 when Michael Matz (The General), Lesley Lenehan (Howard) (Gem Twist), DD Matz (Tashiling) and Anne Kursinski (Suddenly) were on the team. A full 21 years later it was a special feeling for a U.S. side to follow in those hoofprints.
1. USA 4 faults: Chill RZ (Charlie Jayne) 0/0, Jessica Springsteen (Vindicat W) 0/0, Nougat du Valet (Katie Dinan) 4/0, Simon (Beezie Madden) 8/DNS.
2. Great Britain 8 faults: Cella (Ben Maher) 4/4, Utamaro D'Ecaussines (Joe Clee) 0/4, Wondery Why (Spencer Roe) 0/0, Hello Sanctos (Scott Brash) 0/4.
3. Ukraine 16 faults: Sea Coast Forlap DC (Cassio Rivetti) 4/Elim, Valentino Velvet (Oleksandr Onyschenko) 4/0, Chadino (Ferenc Szentirmai) 0/0, Quabracho Semilly (Katharina Offel) 8/8.
3. France 16 faults: Padock du Plessis (Timothee Anciaume) 4/0, Rubis de Preuilly (Cedric Angot) 4/0, Equador van't Roosakker (David Frederic) 4/12, Quartz Rouge (Jerome Hurel) 0/8.
3. Sweden 16 faults: Lunatic (Jens Fredricson) 8/4, H&M Tornesch (Malin Baryard-Johnsson) 0/4, Cafino (Alexander Zettermann) 4/8, Cantinero (Henrik Von Eckermann) 0/4.
6. Ireland 20 faults: Imotherp (Darragh Kenny) 4/0, Molly Malone V (Bertram Allen) 8/0, Quidam's Choice (Cian O'Connor) 4/8, Loughview Lou-Lou (Dermott Lennon) 4/Elim.
6. Netherlands 20 faults: Quinlan (Vincent Voorn) 24/0, VDL Groep Zidane (Leopold van Asten) 0/8, Vignet (Johnny Pals) 0/16, Capetown (Wout-Jan van der Schans) 0/12.
8. Germany, Elim: Chaman (Ludger Beerbaum) Elim/Ret, Lacan 2 (Patrick Stuehlmeyer) 16/Elim, Conthendrix (Andre Thieme) 4/5, First Class van Eeckelghem (Daniel Deusser) 4/4.