The CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America kicked off Wednesday at Deeridge Farms with the horse inspection and the $8,000 CSIO5* 1.40m Warm-Up competition. The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA, which will take place Sunday, February 17, is the only qualifier in the U.S. for the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona, Spain, next fall.
All 115 CSIO5* horses and 53 horses from CSIO youth divisions passed inspection for the world-class event taking place February 13-17. The event is the second of three elite, high performance events being held at the picturesque Deeridge Farms in Wellington, FL, as part of the 2019 Palm Beach Masters Series®.
Rain forced the switch of the afternoon’s CSIO5* Warm-Up to the sand arena. The competition featured top riders from across the globe, with Andy Kocher taking the win. Riding Dundee, Kocher finished on the fastest clear-round time of 60.28 seconds and was pleased with claiming the first contest of CSIO5* competition.
“You can’t win them all unless you win the first!” said Kocher. “I came in thinking that I would just give him a nice school, and I thought since half the guys were training for the Nations Cup or the [CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix], I’d give him a go. I got lucky; I went for it, and it worked out for me.
“The weather didn’t really affect anything in the sand arena,” he added. “The footing was good, and the jumps were nice. He’s a young horse, and I just started riding him. It’s just my second show with him. We’re just getting him going, but he can do more.”
Show jumping action continues on Thursday, Feb. 14 with the $10,000 CSIO5* CP Welcome Stake and the $50,000 CSIO5* Suncast® Grand Prix Qualifier, which will set the field for Friday’s $210,000 CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix. The week’s highlights also include FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Youth competitions for Young Riders, Juniors, and Children, showcasing the next generation of elite show jumping talent.
Nations Cup week at Deeridge Farms is showcasing 60 Olympic-caliber athletes from 13 countries; they will compete with 115 horses for $716,500 in prize money. On Sunday, the marquee event will take place: The $230,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA will showcase teams from Canada, Colombia, Ireland, Israel, Mexico and USA that will navigate courses set by one of the world’s most respected course designers, Ireland’s Alan Wade.
The five-member NetJets® U.S. Jumping Team features a powerhouse contingent comprising four Olympic veterans, the last two Longines FEI World Cup™ Champions and two of the four members of the U.S.’s gold medal team from the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™. The U.S. team features Beezie Madden, a four-time Olympic veteran, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and the reigning Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final Champion; McLain Ward, a fellow four-time Olympian with two gold medals and winner of the 2017 Longines FEI Jumping WorldCup™ Final; 2008 Olympic and 2018 WEG team gold medalist Laura Kraut; 2000 Olympic veteran Margie Engle; and Lucy Deslauriers, who at age 19 is already a veteran of numerous FEI Nations Cup competitions.
The roster of riders from the other nations’ teams includes some of the biggest names in the sport. Canada’s athletes include Mario Deslauriers, an Olympic veteran who won the 1984 FEI World Cup Final; Hyde Moffat; Erynn Ballard, Tiffany Foster, Susan Horn, Amy Millar, and Keean White.
Mexico is represented by five athletes, including Eugenio Garza Perez, Enrique Gonzalez, Manuel Gonzalez Dufrane, Fernando Martinez Sommer, and Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado. The Irish contingent is strong, as it features Cormac Hanley, Darragh Kenny, Paul O’Shea, Conor Swail, and Shane Sweetnam.
Daniel Bluman, a two-time Olympic veteran, heads the list of entries from Israel. That group also includes Ashlee Bond, Ilan Ferder, and Danielle Goldstein. Riders from Colombia include Juan Pablo Betancourt, Ilan Bluman, Juan Manuel Gallego, John Perez Bohm, and Roberto Teran Tafur.
In addition to the six countries sending teams to compete, Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and Venezuela have riders competing as individuals. Headlining this group of riders are some of the sport’s most accomplished riders, including Great Britain’s Ben Maher, currently the seventh-ranked rider in the world according to the Longines Jumping Rankings, and Martin Fuchs of Switzerland, who made his Olympic debut in 2016 and was the individual silver medalist at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™.