SOPOT, Poland--Devin Ryan of Long Valley, N.J., riding in his first ever Nations Cup, on Eddie Blue produced the best round of the four team members to help the U.S. win the bronze medal with 21 faults, behind Belgium, 13 faults, and France, 16 faults, on Sunday, June 17.
The Nations Cup was the first of a series of observation trials for choosing the team that will represent the U.S. in the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, N.C., this fall.
The team of Jamie Barge and Luebbo, Margie Engle and Royce, Lillie Keenan and Super Sox, and Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue was led by Chef d'Equipe Robert Ridland.
"I thought coming in we had a team capable of really good results today. We were on a little bit of a roll this week," said Ridland. "Obviously we were disappointed we didn't win it, but you can't be too disappointed when you have a podium finish."
The team came out of round one on eight faults over a course designed by German's Olaf Petersen Jr., to tie with France and Germany for third place, while Belgium led with one fault and Sweden was second on four faults.
KEENAN of New York, N.Y., started the team out with nine faults on Super Sox, and were the drop score, while Barge of Malibu, Calif., on Luebbo, had four faults.
Riding third, Ryan had the important clear trip, followed by Engle of Wellington, Fla., on Royce, who anchored the team with four faults in the opening round.
In the second round, Keenan and Super Sox improved their score to eight faults, while Barge and Luebbo had a rail and a time fault for a total of five.
With an unfortunate rail at fence nine in the second round, Ryan and Eddie Blue added four faults to the team's score.
Rounding out the team results were Engle and Royce, who placed second in Friday's Grand Prix CSIO5*, and they added four faults, as well, to put the U.S. on a total team score of 21 faults for third place.
"Everyone had a little bit of bad luck today," said Ridland. "Luebbo and Royce lost shoes in the first round. Royce's was right before the last fence he had down. It was a little bad luck, but overall it was a consistent performance for everybody over a very legitimate course. Olaf did a great job in separating the field. The crowds were standing room only, and the footing was good. It's an excellent event."
Ryan put in the team's best performance of the day with Eddie Blue. After going clear in the first round just under the time allowed, Ryan wanted to perfect his second round and avoid time faults but ended up with a rail at the triple bar.
"I rushed through the turn to triple bar," he said. "I had to balance and fit one in. He handled it well. In the second round, he was jumping incredible and felt even more relaxed. That's what make a championships horse."
"Coming here and representing the United States is a great privilege," said Ryan, who also placed second in Sunday's 1.50m speed class with his second mount, Cooper. "We weren't coming out to school; we wanted to win. We want to produce results. I wanted to go in and jump clean every round [all week]. But if you're in the top three, you're in the hunt."
Belgium won the gold medal with 13 faults, while France placed second on 16 faults.