|Aachen, Germany – The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team will be composed of four Olympians when it competes in FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Aachen on Thursday, July 20. The powerhouse team of Kent Farrington, Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden, and McLain Ward will face eight nations, all fielding elite talent in their own right, as they seek to secure a podium finish. Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland will lead the U.S. team, having drawn second in the order, and has set the following order of go:
Kent Farrington and Gazelle: Farrington (Wellington, Fla.), the current world number one ranked show jumper, and Gazelle return to Aachen riding high off a successful few weeks in Spruce Meadows. The Olympic team silver medalist and his and Robin Parksy’s 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare won the prominent ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup during the ‘North American’ CSI5* presented by Rolex earlier this month and the ATB Financial Cup in June. Additionally, in May, they narrowly edged out a victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Madrid CSI5*.
Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden and Coach: Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) began testing Coach at the five-star level at the beginning of the year where he showed his Grand Prix potential early. With the two-time Olympic team gold medalist aboard, Abigail Wexner’s 2008 Holsteiner gelding impressed early on with standout performances during the Winter Equestrian Festival. They collected a fifth-place finish in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5* and a fourth-place finish in the $216,000 Lugano Diamonds CSIO4* Grand Prix. Most recently, the budding combination placed third in the CP Grand Prix during the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ CSI5* and are prepared for their toughest challenge to date in Aachen.
Laura Kraut and Zeremonie: The Olympic gold medalist and Zeremonie return to Aachen after helping the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team to a bronze-medal finish in the 2016 FEI Nations Cup Final and a tie for the team silver medal in the 2016 FEI Nations Cup at CHIO Aachen. Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), continues to develop Zeremonie, Old Willow Farms 2007 Holsteiner mare, at the five-star level, where they earned a third-place finish at CSI5* Knokke, Belgium earlier in the month.
McLain Ward and HH Azur: The Olympic gold medalist and current world number two ranked show jumper, along with the 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare, have risen to the top of some of the world’s most prestigious competitions. They secured an Olympic team silver medal in Rio de Janeiro and captured the lucrative Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final title in April. In a year that garnered massive success, Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s HH Azur got a much-earned rest following the World Cup Finals. In June, Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) added HH Azur back into the rotation seeking their next big victory. Most recently, they placed fifth in the CP Grand Prix during the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ CSI5*.
Watch the event live beginning Thursday at 1:30 p.m. EST on ClipMyHorse.tv. Support the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team by following US Equestrian on Instagram and Twitter and the USA Show Jumping Facebook page.
The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.
Photos: Kent Farrington and Gazelle (RedBayStock.com), Beezie Madden and Coach (Shannon Brinkman Photo), Laura Kraut and Zeremonie (Shannon Brinkman Photo), and McLain Ward and HH Azur (Stefano Secchi/Imagess)