U.S. Jumping Team Captures 6th in Nations Cup La Baule CSIO5*

As competition kicks off at the 2024 Nations Cup in France, four U.S. riders short-listed for Paris 2024 take sixth in the FEI Jumping Nations Cup La Baule CSI05*.

June 7, 2024—Four of the 10 riders short-listed for the U.S. Jumping Team at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games took sixth place overall following the final round of Nations Cup competition in La Baule, France. The NetJets U.S. Jumping Team finished on a team total of 24 faults. Germany earned the victory on a team total of four faults, while the home nation of France, secured second place on five faults. Belgium took third on 12 total faults.

“It’s important to remember why we’re here. For observation and selection. And to see everyone and different groups. This is a part of our overall strategy and the long game here,” Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland said. “It was obviously not the result we wanted as the outcome, but we were in the lead after the first round, and we know all of our combinations are capable of jumping clear rounds. We’re only halfway through the show and the Grand Prix is still just as important for us, so everyone is ready to look ahead to Sunday.”

Strong Start

The team started strong with a clear round from Karl Cook (Rancho Santa Fe, California) and Caracole de la Roque over the track designed by France’s Grégory Bodo. Cook and Caracole de la Roque, fresh of their win at the CSIO5* Rome Rolex Grand Prix in May, notched the first clear round of the day. The U.S. team went an early third in the order of nine participating teams.

Four of the 10 riders short-listed for the U.S. Jumping Team at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games took sixth at the Nations Cup competition in La Baule, France. © Morgan Fremont, US Equestrian

Kent Farrington (Wellington, Florida) and Landon, a 2013 Zangersheide gelding owned by Haity McNerney and cared for by Denise Moriarty, had an uncharacteristic elimination after going second in the team rotation. Farrington’s elimination added pressure onto Lillie Keenan and Aaron Vale as the third and fourth combinations for the team. Both of their scores counted toward the team’s first-round total.

Keenan (New York, New York) and her veteran mount Argan de Beliard responded by producing a strong, clear round. They kept the team on a score of zero heading into the last rotation. After dropping a heartbreaking front rail on the course’s final oxer, Vale (Williston, Florida) and Carissimo 25 added just four faults to their first trip. This pushed the team through to the second round on four total faults.

La Baule, Round 2

The second round proved to be more challenging for the team. Farrington elected to withdraw Landon from the second round of competition. This resulted in the three scores counting toward the final team total in the second round. Cook and Caracole de la Roque, a 2012 Selle Français mare owned by Signe Ostby and cared for by Tessa Falanga, returned to the track in solid form. But they knocked out a block of the wall at Fence 2, adding four to their score. This pushed the team’s total to eight faults overall with Keenan and Vale still to go. 

Aboard Argan de Beliard, a 2010 Selle Français gelding owned by Chansonette Farm and cared for by Cory Tual, Keenan nudged out the front rail on the widely set oxer at Fence 4. This was directly before the one-stride combination of two verticals at 9AB. That combination resulted in an element B drop from the cups. Unfortunately, that added eight faults to their score, with the team now sitting on 16 faults.

Vale: Final U.S. Rider

Entering as the final score for the team, Vale and Carissimo 25, a 2013 Holsteiner gelding owned by Debbie Smith and cared for by Nicky Cook, dropped element A of the triple combination at Fence 5 and added the front rail of the oxer at Fence 7 before the open water for a total of eight faults. This put the team total at 24 faults over two rounds.

The Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule CSIO5* will conclude competition on Sunday, June 9, 2024. The NetJets U.S. Jumping Team then travels to the Longines League of Nations Rotterdam CSIO5* next. This is part of CHIO Rotterdam in their European tour, which will take place from June 20-23, 2024.

To read more about the U.S. Jumping Team Short List for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, click here.

Thanks to Sentinel Horse Nutrition for our coverage of the 2024 Paris Olympics. It includes rider interviews, competition reports, horse spotlights, photos, videos and more.

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