Saturday, May. 18, 2024

The U.S. Gives Belgium A Run For The Money At La Baule

The first Samsung Super League Nations Cup wasn’t over until the last horse jumped.

Victory in the Samsung Super League Nations Cup at the La Baule CSIO was briefly within the grasp of the U.S. team, but in the end they had to settle for a three-way tie for second while Belgium led the victory gallop.

“When people say that there’s drama in this sport, they really aren’t kidding,” said Charlie Jayne.
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The first Samsung Super League Nations Cup wasn’t over until the last horse jumped.

Victory in the Samsung Super League Nations Cup at the La Baule CSIO was briefly within the grasp of the U.S. team, but in the end they had to settle for a three-way tie for second while Belgium led the victory gallop.

“When people say that there’s drama in this sport, they really aren’t kidding,” said Charlie Jayne.
Jayne rode Urbanus on his first Super League team, joining Anne Kursinski on Roxana 112, Kate Levy on Vent du Nord and Will Simpson on Carlsson vom Dach at La Baule, France, on May 9.

The U.S. riders put themselves into a good spot in Round 1—into a four-way tie for second place with 8 faults with Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden.

“We did decently in the first round,” Jayne said. “I was the drop score with my 8 faults. When Will went clear, we were tied for second and Great Britain was winning.

“In the first round, the third jump was going into the stands, which were completely packed,” Jayne continued. “I had that one down, and then I got to the triple combination a little bit early at the end of the course and had one down there. When we came back for Round 2, ‘Ernie’ fixed his mistake a little bit—we took some more time over fence 3—and I fixed my mistake and got him to the triple better and we jumped clean.”

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Things got interesting when the first few riders for most of the teams had faults at the start of Round 2.

“The first two British riders had 5 and 9 faults,” Jayne recalled. “Anne goes in and has just 4 again and I go clear, and all of a sudden we’re looking pretty good.”

Jayne’s clear performance in Round 2 will be a great memory for him. “It was the biggest rush I’ve ever had in my life. Going through the timers and hearing the crowd clapping was very cool,” he said.

Kursinski’s two four-fault rounds led the U.S. team. “Roxana was amazing. She was very focused and wanted to jump clear rounds,” Kursinski said. “In the first round, she just barely touched the tape at the water jump. And in the second round, she jumped super, and I didn’t even know that she had the in of the triple combination down. She barely rolled it off the cups.”

The British riders couldn’t put together a clear trip in Round 2, while the Belgians seemingly couldn’t put a foot wrong. Philippe Le Jeune led off for the Belgians with a clear round, while Niels Bruynseels picked up the drop score of 8. Judy-Ann Melchior had just one rail on Aktion Pur Z, and then Ludo Philippaerts rounded out the Belgian effort with his second clear round of the day. The Belgians finished with 12 faults.

When Simpson took the field for Round 2 on Carlsson vom Dach, a heavy weight rested on his shoulders. If he jumped clean, the U.S. team would tie for first with Belgium. One rail, and they’d be all alone in second. But it was not to be, as Carlsson vom Dach dropped two fences, and the U.S. team had to settle for a three-way tie for second.

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“The spirit of the team was great; we were all working together. It was so close at the end of the Nations Cup. If Will had gone clean, we would have been right up there. But it was great. Even though a lot of the team didn’t have a lot of experience in Nations Cups, they rode well,” Kursinski said.

Kursinski was the only U.S. rider with previous Super League experience. Levy, Jayne and Simpson have all ridden on regular Nations Cup teams but not on the Super League.

Roxana 112 and Kursinski ended the weekend as the top-placed U.S. pair in the Longines Grand Prix Ville de La Baule. They had a quick round, but a rail in the nine-horse jump-off left them fourth.

“In the grand prix, Roxana was amazing. We had to go first in the whole class, so to jump a clear round was terrific,” she said. “She didn’t touch a fence. Of course, that meant we had to go back first in the jump-off.

“There were nine clear, and I knew they were all fast, good horses,” Kursinski added. “She jumped great. I left a stride out of the first line and rolling back to a vertical that had a liverpool on the back side of the fence, where she barely rubbed the top rail off. She finished up fast and was outstanding.” 

Molly Sorge

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