At the tail end of what had already been a dramatic afternoon of show jumping, Robert Ridland had four riders to choose from to go in and either secure a silver or a gold in the Nations Cup at Spruce Meadows. Beezie may seem like an obvious choice, but the young nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood Darry Lou had yet to be put under this amount of pressure in his career. Could Beezie help him rise to the occasion a third time under such immense pressure?
The answer was yes, as a third perfect round from Team USA’s top woman secured the Nations Cup victory in Spruce Meadows over a no less extraordinary Brazilian Team who survived a rollercoaster day to finish second.
What a great way to end our week here in Calgary! Clear in Round 1 and a top 8 finish in Sunday's $3 Million CP International Grand Prix at the Spruce Meadows 'Masters' CSIO5*. A huge thank you to my incredible mare Ohlala and my entire team! Watch Lala's first round effort below:
Posted by Lauren Hough on Sunday, September 10, 2017
Four strong and steady performances throughout the competition kept Team USA firmly in the hunt for success, with Lauren Hough and Waterford, Charlie Jacobs and Cassinja S and Lillie Keenan and Fibonacci 17 each having a single rail and Beezie and Darry Lou going clear, but ultimately leaving the USA on a score of 8 after round 1.
Brazil first looked doomed to a rough day when their lead-off rider Eduardo Menezes had a terrible fall with Quintol (both are doing okay now, though Eduardo could not continue due to concussion protocol), but the remaining riders rallied with clear rounds to put the underdogs into first place on a 0 score.
Germany would sit behind them in second with just a single time fault, but that same fault would come to haunt them when it was all said and done.
Time for a Good Old American Comeback
Team USA went into Round 2 dead set on improvement, and improve they did, with Lauren Hough and Charlie Jacobs both bouncing back with clear rounds, and new partnership Lillie and Fibonacci (the former ride of Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) maintaining with another rail to keep USA competitive.
Brazil had only three riders in round two and the rollercoaster continued as Pedro Veniss and Pedro Junqeira Muylaert both had rails to put them in a tie with USA for the gold, and Yuri Mansur Guerios putting in a clear with Babylotte to keep them in that position.
Team Germany was in a prime position to take advantage with just the single time fault, but with just Marco Kutscher putting in a clear round they would stay on a score of 9 to ultimately finish in the bronze position.
It was a day of mixed results for the home team of Canada, with no one having a perfect day, but clear rounds mixed in throughout to ultimately finish in fourth.
A Race to the Finish
With 8 faults apiece over two rounds, Team Brazil and Team USA would jump off for the title. Brazil’s Chef d’Equipe Pedro Paulo Lux LaCerda selected Pedro Junquira Muylaert and Prince Royal Z MFS to face off with Beezie and Darry Lou in the final, and the difference between them was ultimately .54 seconds.
“I thought I had some very good turns, and a little bit of foot speed, but I thought my horse could beat him on foot speed,” said Beezie after the event. “My plan going first was to put in a real solid round that they had to go a little to beat. I probably left the door a little open, but I made him go a little, too, which was the goal.”
In fact, the hustle of the speed may have contributed to a slip between fences for Pedro, which was the difference between gold and silver.
“It doesn’t get any better than a jump-off. To see what all four of them did, and for Beezie to clinch the win in a jump-off in indescribable,” said USA Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “We had to crawl up the ladder a bit as Brazil set the bar early on, but that’s why it is a two round class, and they did the job.”
See the Full Results Here, and the highlights video below. Go Jumping!