ROME, Italy --McLain Ward's double clear helped the U.S. Show Jumping Team of Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden, Spencer Smith and Ward to tie for the silver medal with 8 faults at the FEI Jumping Nations Cup CSIO5* Rome on Friday, May 25.
The team from Switzerland tied with the U.S. for the silver, finishing with 8 faults, while the Italian team scored a home win with 4 faults.
Kraut of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., on Confu rode first for the U.S. team and set the tone with a clear round in round one.
Smith of Wellington, Fla), riding on his first senior Nations Cup team for the U.S., on Theodore Manciais had 8 faults in the first round, which ended as the drop score.
Madden of Cazenovia, N.Y., on Coach and Ward of Brewster, N.Y., on HH Azur closed the U.S. team’s first round with clean trips, which gave the team a score of 0 faults, and leaving the U.S. in a tie for the lead with the Swiss and Italian teams, both of which also had 0 faults..
IN THE SECOND round, Kraut had a rail at the penultimate fence for 4 faults, and Smith had another 8 faults, while Madden had a foot in the water for 4 faults.
Ward’s clear second round put the U.S. team on an eight-fault total.
The Swiss team also finished the second round with eight-faults, tied with the U.S.
The last rider of the class, Italian Bruno Chimirri, had a clear round to clinch the win for Italy, so the U.S. and Swiss teams shared the podium for the silver medal.
"I think it was a strong performance," said Ward. "Laura Kraut’s young horse performed well, and even though Spencer had the drop scores, he showed a lot of maturity and promise. Beezie was a little bit unlucky at the water, which was a shame, and Azur was really on good form. We always would like to win, but it was a good result."
“A lot of things turned around in that second round for everybody, which often happens in Nations Cups,” said U.S. Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “It was a top-class field and being second at Rome is a great way to start the summer off. There’s so much history in Rome. It’s the 86th version of the Nations Cup here, and it’s an important event on the calendar."
Ridland noted that while Smith is a newcomer to Nations Cup competition, he turned in an impressive performance.
“He rode great,” Ridland said. “You don’t normally start your career off in Rome at a five-star Nations Cup on five days’ notice, which is what he got, but he’s unflappable and did a great job. We’re looking forward to his career and this was a great start at the high level. It’s a big feather in his cap.”