The NetJets U.S. Show Jumping Team of Laura Kraut, Spencer Smith, Beezie Madden, and McLain Ward earned the silver medal with 8 faults at the FEI Jumping Nations Cup CSIO***** Rome on Friday, May 25. Switzerland tied with the U.S. for the silver, finishing with 8 faults, while the Italian team scored a home win with 4 faults.
Laura Krautand St. Bride’s Farm’s 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding Confu were the pathfinders for the U.S. team and set the tone with a clear round in Round 1. Spencer Smith, riding on his first senior Nations Cup team for the U.S., rode Ashland Farm’s Theodore Manciais, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding, to 8 faults in the first round, which served as the drop score.
Beezie Madden and Abigail Wexner’s 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding Coach and McLain Ward on Francois Mathy and Double H Farm’s 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare HH Azur closed out the U.S. team’s first round effort with clean trips, allowing the team to conclude the first round with a score of 0 faults, making a tie for the lead with the Swiss and Italian teams.
Kraut led the U.S. team into the second round with just a rail at the penultimate fence for a score of 4 faults. Smith put another 8 faults on the scoreboard, and then Madden and Coach incurred a foot in the water for 4 faults. Ward’s clear second round put the U.S. team on an eight-fault total.
The Swiss team had a clear round at the start of the second round. Three rails put them on an eight-fault total, tied with the U.S.
The last rider of the class, Italian Bruno Chimirri, turned in a clear round to clinch the win for Italy. The U.S. and Swiss teams shared the podium for the silver medal.
“I think it was a strong performance,” said Ward. “Laura Kraut’s young horse performed well, and even though Spencer had the drop scores, he showed a lot of maturity and promise. Beezie was a little bit unlucky at the water, which was a shame, and Azur was really on good form. We always would like to win, but it was a good result.”
“A lot of things turned around in that second round for everybody, which often happens in Nations Cups,” said U.S. Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “It was a top-class field, and being second at Rome is a great way to start the summer off. There’s so much history in Rome. It’s the 86th version of the Nations Cup here and, it’s an important event on the calendar.”
Ridland noted that while Smith is a newcomer to Nations Cup competition, he turn in an impressive performance. “He rode great,” Ridland said. “You don’t normally start your career off in Rome at a five-star Nations Cup on five days’ notice, which is what he got, but he’s unflappable and did a great job. We’re looking forward to his career and this was a great start at the high level. It’s a big feather in his cap.”
See the full results of the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ CSIO5* Rome.