Paris, France – Going two-for-two in back-to-back evenings, Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) skillfully guided Breitling LS to victory in the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final II. Riding double-clear over Santiago Varela Ullastres’s course, Madden came out on top with a final time of 33.22 seconds in the jump-off. Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands and Emerald finished second with 33.44 seconds, while Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and Toveks Mary Lou finished third on 33.92 seconds.
“My horse feels amazing and he has made my job easy,” said Madden. “If it looks easy, it is to [Breitling LS’s] credit. Every time I call on him, he does exactly what I want. He is careful, he is clever, and I couldn’t ask for more. He has always been a good horse by nature. He has a super temperament, even though he is a stallion.”
In a field of 37 competitors, three American riders jumped clear for the U.S., including Madden, Jamie Barge (Malibu, Calif.), and McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.). These three, along with six other athletes, advanced to the jump-off round. Barge, as well as Madden both jumped double-clear rounds. The course included a tricky left turn to a double of verticals, causing several athletes trouble, but not Madden. See her winning ride here.
“You have to be smart in your strategy,” continued Madden. “A left turn to the vertical used to be my nemesis with [Breitling LS]. He has figured it out. I thought there were places I could take a shot. I thought that being smooth and fast, I could still be fast enough with him to take a shot and try to get a bigger lead.”
Madden holds onto the lead in the overall standings headed into Sunday’s Final. With a full rail (four penalties) separating her and number two Henrik Von Eckermann (SWE), Madden is prepared and ready to take on the last two rounds of the Final.
“It is always nice to have a rail in-hand, but we are really only half-way through,” she said. “And we might do that again on Sunday. A lot can change. I just hope my horse stays on form and I stay on form, and we keep jumping clear rounds. But, it can change a lot still.”
Thirty combinations will advance to Sunday’s final competition, which will determine the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final Champion. In a two-round format, twenty combinations will move on to the second round. Eight U.S. combinations will compete in Sunday’s Final, including Madden, Barge, Ward, Devin Ryan (Long Valley, N.J.), Alison Robitaille (Upperville, Va.), Kristen Vanderveen (Wellington, Fla.), Richard Spooner (Agua Dulce, Calif.), and Andy Kocher (Howell, N.J.).
Behind Madden and Von Eckermann, in the overall standings, Ryan sits third and Ward is tied for fourth with Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) and Douglas Lindelow (SWE). Overall rankings can be viewed here.
Jumping concludes on Sunday with the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final III. Watch it live on FEI TV beginning at 8:00 a.m. EST.
View more information about the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final.
The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF sponsors and members.
Photos by Shannon Brinkman Photo