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Cyberhorse 2008
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Olympic Games 2008 - US wins Team Showjumping Gold

Hong Kong  18th August


The US team were determined to remove the stigma of winning the Showjumping Gold team medal by “default’, and they did.

The US Team was made of the world class riders Mclain Ward, Laura Kraut, Will Simpson and Breezie Madden  and coached by George Morris

 
Medals were presented by Prince Albert of Monaco and Princess Haya of Jordan.


In an electric jump off between the US and Canadian Teams the US had 3 clean rounds. Jill Henselwood, riding for the Canadian team took a rail to put the team in the Silver winning position



 The four Canadian Riders, Mac Cone, Jill Henselwood, Eric Lamaze and Ian Miller.

The entire night had been a display of the world’s best showjumping combinations with only 4 clear rounds for the  entire evening.  The only double clear for combined 2nd and 3rd qualifiers was achieved by Australia’s Edwina Alexander on Itot du Chateau putting her in a fantastic position to take the individual Gold Medal.



The course was difficult but incredibly safe which was the intention of course builder Leopoldo Palacios.  Leopoldo from Venezuela has been building world class courses for over 30 years. He is a constant at Spruce meadows and was conscious of testing combinations ability without putting them in any danger.
 “The most important thing is that the horses can go home without problems”, Leopoldo said.
For co course designer Steve Steven it was a dream to have a jump off to determine the team medal placings.
“I have always said a jump off would be a dream. The first part of the dream has come true, now we have to wait for the second part to happen in two days time. We have to make the sport interesting. The riders have to do the jumping, but we as the course designers have to make it possible for them to shine as super stars.
course builder


The two courses builders Leopoldo Palacios and Steve Stevens worked together to create a wolrd class jumping course.

The Bonze winning Norwegian team were over the moon. They had not qualified a team for the Olympic Games since 1936 and they were not in the medals in the year.  The youngest member of the team Tony Andre Hansen is well placed for a medal in the individual with only 2 cumulative time faults in the 2nd and 3rd qualifiers.

 

Norway’s showjumping team – Stein Endresen, Morten Djupvik, Geir Gulliksen, Tony Andre Hansen.

Both the Canadian and US teams has one clear round making them hard to catch. Prior to the jump off both teams were on a combined score of 20, 7 points clear of the nearest challenger, the Norwegians.

Both the Canadian and US teams has one clear round making them hard to catch. Prior to the jump off both teams were on a combined score of 20, 7 points clear of the nearest challenger, the Norwegians.

The Australian team had some bad luck with Peter McMahon falling from his mare Geno in the warm up arena and breaking his collar bone. He was taken to hospital in Hong Kong where he will undergo surgery on Tuesday morning. He will be fine, but may need some time off.

 


Laurie Lever had a great round and rose to challenge of the pressure of having only three riders and every score counting. With only 4 jumping penalties and no time penalties, Australia was looking pretty good. The anchor rider Matt Williams found competing under the pressure of being the last rider a little difficult. In an uncharacteristic 17 penalty point round, Leconte just couldn’t find his rhythm. Australia finished in 9th place in the Teams competition.

 


The Germans were probably disappointed with their 5th placing. They made a stellar effort in their preparation and had arrived in Hong Kong 10 days before most of the other teams to give themselves and their horses the opportunity to acclimatize to the Hong Kong weather. None of the team members, (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Christian Ahlmann, Marco Kutscher and Luger Beerbaum) are in a comfortable position to challenge for an individual medal, but in the sport of showjumping anything can happen. The Eventing Team and Individual Gold medal went to the Germans and the German dressage team also took home the gold. They are also in a great position to take the Individual Gold medals with Isabell Werth currently in first place before the freestyle completion on Tuesday night. She and Satchmo will ride to “Hymn of Emotion” by Markus-Horn and  Michael Erdmann which is the same music the combination rode to at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen in 2006.

There are a few favourites for the individual Gold and the cluster of riders at the top of the scoreboard are close.

Of course Edwina is looking absolutely fabulous and is a serious contender leading the group with a double clear in the 2nd and 3rd qualifier but she and her lovely French mare Itot du Chateau has some serious completion.

Another incredibly talented mare, Sapphire ridden by McLain Ward of the US has been performing beautifully with a clear round in the 2nd qualifier and just popping her feet in the 4.10meter water obstacle in the 3rd qualifier on the 18th of August  for 4 penalty points.



The beautiful stallion, Cumano, ridden by Jos Lansink from Belgium has not taken a rail at all for the entire completion, but has not been able to quite make the time in any of the qualifiers and has 3 points coming into the final from the 2nd and 3rd qualifiers. The same problem with time applies to the Holsteiner gelding Camiro who has been instrumental in securing the Bronze Medal for Norway  and ridden by Tony Andre Hansen.  Camiro carries 2 time penalties forward in the Individual Final.

Canadian rider Eric Lamaze is also up there, having had only one rail in the 3rd qualifier and has already demonstrated that he can pull a clear round as he did in the 2nd qualifier.

 

There are many riders that can really make an impact on this series of medals for the Individual Showjumping challenge at Beijing 2008. Let’s hope Edwina will be on the podium on Wednesday evening.

Story Toni-anne Collins

Pictures - Berni Saunders


 

Cyberhorse 2008 Toni-Anne Collins

 

 

21 November 2017  
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