The Hermès U.S show jumping team in the Nations’ Cup at Aachen wasn’t quite the Olympic squad that will be taking the field next month in Brazil. Pathfinder McLain Ward rode Rothchild rather than HH Azur, while alternate Laura Kraut on Zeremonie stood in for Kent Farrington and Voyeur. But it was a good prep for Rio, with McLain, Laura and Lucy Davis (Barron) logging clear trips in the first round. Anchor rider Beezie Madden (Cortes C) didn’t have to compete in that segment because there was no need for a drop score..
After tying on zero faults with a strong German squad halfway through the class, the second round did not go quite as well. The U.S. got a drop score of 12 from McLain. Laura and Lucy were fault-free again, but a penalty at the water jump for Beezie put the U.S. in a tie for second with the French on 4 penalties, while the Germans finished on zero to win.
France was without the number one-ranked rider in the world, Simon Delestre. It will be among the key contenders for medals in Rio, along with Germany and the U.S., as well as the Netherlands, which appeared in the Cup without its world champion; Britain, which did not have its Olympic team on hand, and three or four other countries. So don’t draw too many conclusions about the Olympic results from the Aachen Nations’ Cup, which is an important competition in its own right.
“We came here for the preparation against the best in the world and we got it,” said U.S. coach Robert Ridland.
In the Rolex Grand Prix that wrapped up the show, Germany’s Philip Weishaupt won the 330,000 Euro first prize on LB Convall, while Mclain finished sixth aboard Azur and Beezie seventh with Cortes.
Philip was having a run of good luck at the show. He met his girlfriend, Bliss Heers, at Aachen five years ago. The day before the grand prix, he got engaged to her, and you know the rest.