Lexington, Ky. – The NetJets U.S. Jumping Team finished third in their first team event of the season after a strong effort in the $150,000 FEI Jumping Nations Cup Wellington CSIO4* in Wellington, Fla. The team, comprised of Natalie Dean and Chance Ste Hermelle, Lillie Keenan and Argan de Beliard, Tanner Korotkin and Volo’s Diamond, and Spencer Smith and Quibelle, completed the competition on a final team total of 12 faults after two rounds of competition, which featured eleven different nations competing under the lights at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The team was led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.
“I can’t remember a Nations Cup in recent history where a team has made it to the podium with everyone at or under the age of 25, and especially, against some really good teams with athletes that have championship experience,” said Ridland. “This is a big deal, and we never catch anyone asleep here in this class – everyone comes to win. This is what we’ve tried to do in the last few years, really have a team for the future that competes here.”
“It’s a formula that works and it’s a great way for riders early in their career to be tested under fire. Everyone contributed tonight. We wouldn’t have been in the second round if it wasn’t for Tanner’s first round and it’s clean rounds that win you Nations Cups and put you on the podium,” he concluded.
Smith (Wellington, Fla.) and Quibelle, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare owned by Gotham Enterprizes LLC, led the team in the order, finishing their first tour of Steve Stephen’s (USA) course on nine faults. Dean (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Chance Ste Hermelle, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Marigold Sporthorses LLC, produced a solid effort, but dropped two rails in their first round with two teammates to follow in Korotkin and Keenan.
Korotkin (Wellington, Fla.), in his first appearance on a senior team for the U.S. Jumping program, secured a necessary clear effort in the first round aboard Volo’s Diamond, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Sandalwood Farms. The pair navigated the tough track, allowing the team to stay in the hunt for qualification for the second round. Keenan (New York, N.Y.), the veteran of the team this week, entered the ring as the anchor combination, with pressure to produce a clear round aboard Argan de Beliard, a 12-year-old Selle Français gelding, owned by Chansonette Farm LLC. The pair dashed through the track, finishing in 68.68 seconds to secure the second consecutive clear round for the team, moving them forward to the second round on a total of eight faults.
Smith guided Quibelle to a beautiful second trip, narrowly pushing the back rail out of the cups of the final oxer on course to add four faults to their score. Dean and Chance Ste Hermelle shined, tackling the track with confidence, and securing the first clear effort for the team in the second round to finish in 69.29 seconds. The pressure fell to Keenan once again in the second round, following an unexpected elimination of Korotkin and Volo’s Diamond early in their second tour of the track.
Keenan and Argan de Beliard handled the pressure with ease and finished the evening as the only team combination to produce a double clear effort. The pair stopped the timers in 69.33 seconds to conclude their first team appearance as a combination this season.
“I’ve jumped quite a few Nations Cup competitions, and this is the first time I’ve ever been the oldest on the team,” chuckled Keenan. “I think for me, it’s so much fun to be on a young team because I’ve always been on the younger end, and we’re all so motivated and hungry to do well, and proud to ride for the team and represent our country,” said Keenan. “We’re genuinely really close friends and it’s an awesome experience to get to compete together and have similar goals.”
The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOPC, and USEF sponsors and members.