Spruce Meadows and Barcelona Host World’s Best Show Jumpers
RELEASE: September 3, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Sarah Evers
U.S. Sends Teams to Samsung Super League Final and Spruce Meadows Masters
Lexington, KY - The U.S. is fielding a formidable team for one of the most prestigious show jumping challenges in the world, the Spruce Meadows Masters. More than 50,000 spectators turn out over the weekend to watch some of the world’s best show jumpers vie for over $2 million in prize money.
The U.S. show jumpers will be fighting a war on two fronts with the top riders divided between the Masters in Calgary, Alberta, September 5-9, and the CSIO***** in Barcelona, Spain, where the Samsung Super League Final will get underway the following week.
“The teams were chosen according to the rider’s ranking on the respective Computer Lists, for Spruce Meadows, July 27, and for Barcelona, August 3,” said Sally Ike, USEF Managing Director of Show Jumping.
The four horse-and-rider combinations heading to the Spruce Meadows Masters come from all over the U.S. and look to improve on their third-place finish in 2006, which marked the first time Canada had won the Masters title. Great Britain, who was third in 2006, has won the Nations Cup at Spruce Meadows 10 times.
Margie Engle and Hidden Creek’s Quervo Gold, Beezie Madden and Authentic, Richard Spooner and Cristallo and McLain Ward and Sapphire will make up the U.S. squad; Lauren Hough and Casadora will serve as the alternate.
Beezie Madden is the only U.S. rider with a horse at each competition. She won one of the most prestigious show jumping events in the world earlier this year with her superstar Authentic. Together, they won the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen on July 8, in Aachen, Germany.
Authentic, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Abigail Wexner, jumped one of his signature textbook clears to win the class. He has been home in New York since then and traveled to a horse show in Indiana to keep him sharp between the major events.
“Mostly he’s been at home,” said Madden about Authentic’s summer activities. “He did one little show at Traders Point; he just jumped in two small classes. But basically Aachen was his last big thing. He’s pretty consistent either way, whether he’s had a break or not. He’ll be a little fresh in the beginning, but by weekend he should be pretty good. He’s careful and intelligent and fast when you need him to be. He doesn’t wow you with his scope but he has plenty of it.”
Going to Spruce Meadows is an impressive experience for spectators and riders alike, even Madden, who’s competed at the venue on numerous occasions. “Going there is pretty special,” said Madden. “When they get close to 50,000 people in that arena...If the weather is beautifulm it’s nothing but a pleasure to be there. There is lots of prize money, too, but it’s not so easy to win.”
The Barcelona contingent is made up of five riders, including Madden, who will ride Iron Spring Farm’s Judgement in Spain. The other four riders will be Ken Berkley and Carlos-Boy, Laura Kraut and Anthem, Christine McCrea and Vegas, and Todd Minikus and Olinda.
Madden brought Judgement home after an impressive performance at the Dublin Horse Shows, and he will fly back to Europe with the rest of the horses heading to Barcelona.
Ken Berkley will be making his first appearance on a U.S. team in the Super League Final, and he is looking forward to the chance to return to Barcelona. He was there in 1992 as a spectator at the Olympics and fell in love with the city.
“It’s going to be quite exciting to do this,” said Berkley. “It’s going to be fun, really fun to go to Barcelona.”
Carlos-Boy, owned by Krista and Alexa Weisma,n is a talented Holsteiner gelding, and although Berkley has never won a grand prix with him, he thinks that the atmosphere and scope of the Barcelona CSIO will work to his horse’s advantage.
“He’s always in the ribbons,” said Berkley. “He’s so consistent in any grand prix. He’s a little slow. He’s been second a lot. He’s in the ribbons at every big grand prix. Any ring, Spruce Meadows, places like that, the more crowds the better. He’s a real easy horse to ride and to have.”
Four riders will be chosen after the Grand Prix on Friday to represent the U.S. on the Nations Cup team on Sunday. The rider not selected for the team will have the opportunity to jump in another class instead.
“Having the grand prix first will be really nice,” said Berkley. “Hopefully he’ll go well and then George (Morris) is going to pick the team after the class to see who is going to do the Queen’s Cup or the Nations Cup. I think its going to be real fun regardless of what happens. There are three actual classes of jumping either way. I will be happy with whatever George decides. To be there and show is very exciting.”