Coming back from injury is never a piece of cake for an athlete, but US showjumper Beezie Madden made it look all too easy at Hickstead last week.
Madden was part of the US team to win the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain, then followed that up by winning the prestigious King George V Gold Cup, both times partnering Cortes C, who is owned by Abigail Wexner.
Making the two-time Olympic Gold medalist’s win all the more impressive, is that she only recently returned to competition after a two-month absence from the saddle after breaking her collarbone in May.
“Beezie’s win is icing on the cake as we close in on our WEG (2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games) preparation. Winning two CSIO5* Nations Cups accompanied by Beezie’s comeback is a tremendous boost for the team as we head down the final stretch,” said US Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.
In the King George V Gold Cup, Madden, of Cazenovia, New York, and the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding were one of 14 combinations to jump Kelvin Bywater’s 12-obstacle track faultlessly and qualify to return for the jump-off. The pair, which had jumped double clear in Friday’s Nations Cup competition, had the advantageous position of returning as the final competitors in the jump-off and seized the opportunity with both hands jumping clear and stopping the timers in 46.01 to seal their win by more than a full second.
Also joining Madden in the jump-off was US pair Laura Kraut and the Evita Group’s 10-year-old KWPN mare, Nouvelle. The pair were clear over the jumps in a time of 54.04 to finish in sixth place.
Reed Kessler and McLain Ward earned 16th and 21st places, respectively, in the feature Grand Prix. Kessler and 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, Cylana, were the second quickest four faulters of the afternoon over Bywater’s course finishing the initial round in 78.89 seconds. While, Ward and 10-year-old Holsteiner stallion HH Cannavaro also jumped a four fault round, stopping the timers in 79.90 seconds.
Rounding out the U.S. competitors in the The Longines King George V Gold Cup were Margie Engle and 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion, Royce, finishing in 31st place after an eight fault round.
Madden’s victory comes on the heels of double Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup victories this week for the United States. On Friday, the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team were the victors of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain presented by Longines in Hickstead and the US team at CSIO5* Gijon in Spain followed up with a victory of their own in Nations Cup competition on Saturday.
The US is using Nations Cup competition at CSIO5*s Rotterdam, Aachen, Hickstead and next week in Dublin as preparation for all 10 members of the Hermès US Show Jumping Short List for WEGahead of the World Championships as well as the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Final in October.
“We’re here for preparation and we’re in great shape, to have all 10 (short list members) here at these shows is great,” Ridland said. “Preparation is going as well as we could hope for.”
Images below: © Paul Harding @lewishardingimages.com