USA Team 1 Gold, Europe Silver, USA Team 2 Bronze at Nations Cup in Wellington
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, April 14–USA Team 1 captured the gold medal, as expected, in the first non-championship Nations Cup in the Western Hemisphere, with Europe claiming silver and USA Team 2 the bronze in a Saturday night competition described as one of the most exciting and fun shows ever held in Florida’s rapidly growing winter circuit.
The final result came down to the last musical freestyle ride late in the night under lights that the teams confessed produced nail-biting moments and a fitting conclusion to the $35,000 Nations Cup that was the finale of the inaugural Global Dressage Festival housed at its new multimillion dollar show grounds.
The winning USA Team 1 comprised Christopher Hickey on Witness Hilltop, Caroline Roffman on Pie, Shelly Francis on Doktor and Devon Kane on Destiny with the top three scores counting toward the total of 210.125 points.
The European squad was second with Kevin Kohmann of Germany and Klouseau, Mikala Gundersen of Denmark and My Lady and Katharina Stumpf of Austria and For My Love compiling 209.375 points and USA Team 2 of Laura Graves on Veradades, Tom Noone on Fred Astair and Jane Cleveland on Rodeo Queen on 203.750.
Latin America I with Marco Bernal of Colombia on Farewell IV, Alejandro Gomez of Venezuela on Revenge and Irina Moleiro de Muro of on Sambuca was fourth on 197.225 points and Latin American 2 fifth with scores from Mica Mabragana of Argentina on Cuatrero IV, Jessica McTaggart of the Cayman Islands on Ray of Light and Luis Reteguiz-Denizard of Puerto Rico on Nalando scoring 186.425.
In the Intermediaire 1 earlier Saturday, the Canadian team swept the top three places with David Marcus on Chrevi’s Capital with 69.211 per cent, Chris von Martels on Udon P second on 67.974 per cent and Diane Creech on Hallmark third on 66.132 per cent.
The event presented by Stillpoint Farm drew a packed VIP Founders Pavilion of hundreds of partygoers but spectator seating was only half full as the Nations Cup came two weeks after the end of the Winter Equestrian Festival of jumpers and hunters that is staged within the same Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
This year’s CDIO3* was at small tour, the medals decided by the Intermediaire Freestyle of the top five of the eight teams that began the competition. The Prix St. Georges determined which teams would move to the freestyle and which would compete in the Intermediaire I that was held earlier Saturday.
The palpable excitement, cameraderie extending beyond individual teams but serious competitive spirit at show grounds created as a gathering place for all levels of dressage produced a Nations Cup that riders overwhelmingly said they will fight for a chance to participate in future years.
This year’s Nations Cup was the first phase of a three-year program to elevate Olympic qualification at the Pan American Games to Grand Prix on par with the European Championships. The teams in 2012 were at small tour which is the same level as the Pan American Games. Next year the teams will comprise a mix of big tour and small tour horses. In 2014, all will be at Grand Prix, part of a costly undertaking by the organizers, Equestran Sport Productions, to help raise Olympic qualifying to the same level as the European Championships by the time of the next Pan Ams in Toronto in 2015.
Nations Cup TeamResults
Intermediaire I results