By Carly Weilminster, US Equestrian Communications Department | May 28, 2021, 3:22 PM EST
Rome, Italy – The NetJets U.S. Jumping Team secured fifth place in the Nations Cup of Rome CSIO5* at the Piazza di Siena in Rome, Italy, which saw 12 international teams contest the competition. The NetJets U.S. Jumping Team, featuring Kent Farrington, Laura Kraut, Jessica Springsteen, and McLain Ward, finished the two-round competition with a team total of nine faults and were led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.
“Overall, we’re very happy with the way it all turned out. Naturally, we always aim for a podium finish and we were just off by a fault, so we were right there in it. More importantly, this is the beginning of the second phase in our preparations for the Olympics, and I have to say, I am very happy with the way things turned out, particularly in the second round. We have some newer horses involved and it is still a bit of an adjustment, but I could not have been more pleased with how things came together for our horse and rider combination and the adjustments that were made. They did a great job. Our rounds were beautiful and it’s a very positive feeling back in the barn right now.”
The anchor combination of Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Contagious, a 12-year-old Deutsches Sportpferd gelding owned by Beechwood Stables LLC, produced the team’s only two double-clear efforts, helping to secure their fifth-place finish. The pair were only one of six combinations to execute two consecutive clear efforts around the impressive track.
The course, set amongst the beautiful backdrop of Villa Borghese, was built by Uliano Vezzani, and proved to be technical and challenging in the first round, with five teams bringing eight faults forward to the second round, including the U.S. team contingent.
Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) led the team’s starting order aboard veteran mount, Gazelle, a 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Robin Cleary Parsky and Kent Farrington, and added an early four faults and dropped a single rail in their return for their second trip around the track. Springsteen (Los Angeles, Calif.) finished with a four-fault effort aboard Don Juan van de Donkehoeve, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Stone Hill Farm, in the first round before executing a careful second trip to add just a single time fault to their total score. Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Baloutinue, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by St. Bride’s Farm, crossed through the timers with eight faults after their first tour of the course before improving to jump a fast clear in their second-round appearance for the team.
Germany and Belgium battled for the top podium position with Belgium ultimately besting the competition following an intense jump-off to determine first and second place. France and Brazil tied for third, each with eight total team faults.
The NetJets U.S. Jumping Team will make their next team appearance at the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Poland hosted in Sopot, Poland from June 13-16, 2021.