Rich Fellers & Flexible Win Jumping World Cup, 1st USA Victory in 25 Years

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Rich Fellers of the United States holding aloft the 2012 World Cup. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

‘S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands, April 22–Rich Fellers of the United States and his 16-year-old stallion Flexible won the jumping World Cup Sunday, the first victory for an American at the annual global championship in a quarter century.

The final day’s competition was perhaps the most exciting since the World Cup was created in 1979 with Rich and Flexible going clear for the two rounds over a course of towering jumps and going into a jumpoff against Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets who finished second. Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer and Carlina were third.

Rich of Sherwood, Oregon, and the father of two children, came second on Flexible at the 2008 World Cup Final.

The last American victory before this year was in 1987 when Katherine Burdsall won on The Natural.

Asked how he felt after the long drought for the U.S., he referred to the scarlet-coated American riders by saying: “We were due. That’s a long time with all the red coats that come to this final!”

As a footnote, American dressage photographer Susan J. Stickle won the Rolex award of two large bottles of Veuve Cliquot Champagne when her name was drawn by Rich from those who picked the American combination to win the World Cup. She donated one of the bottles to Rich.

Rich Fellers with American dressage photographer Susan J. Stickle whose name he drew from the Rolex raffle of media who picked Rich and Flexible to win the World Cup. Sue donated one of the two bottles she won to Riich. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com