The team decision of the show-jumpers at the WEG in Tryon became a nerve-wrecking one: after three unexpected clear rounds of the Swedish McLain Ward and Clinta would have had to stay clear in order to save gold for the USA. However, at fence 7, a water ditch, the bar fell. That meant a jump-off between the USA and Sweden. All four riders of the team had to jump again and the results were added. Both second riders for the team, Adrienne Sternlicht with Cristalline for the US as well as Malin Baryard-Johnson with H&M Indiana for Sweden had one fence down and therefore the time counted. The USA were a bit faster and triumphed before the audience in their home country. Third place went to Germany.
“McLain was responsible for a lot of work for us today,” the chef d’équipe of the USA, Robert Ridland joked. McLain Ward said: “When I noticed that the Swedish had three clear rounds I knew we were in danger. But, luckily, I was able to perfect the victory.”
The Swiss, in first place after the first round, had a bad day. Werner Muff and 10-year-old KWPN gelding Daimler started with 13 points. Then Jannika Sprunger and 12-year-old KWPN stallion Bacardi VL by Corland/Cannan started the first fence badly, the stallion stomped into the oxer and then became frightened. At the second fence their competition was finished. The horse could not be persuaded to jump the fence. Martin Fuchs and Clooney by Cornet Obolensky had a clear round (he currently ranks third in the individual rating), and Steve Guerdat with 12-year-old SWB mare Bianca had one mistake. Andy Kistler’s team fell back from place one to four. But they still have the qualification for the Olympic Games, just as the Netherlands and Australia. Ireland, Great Britain, France and Belgium as well as Italy and Spain will have to try getting qualified at the European Championships next year.
Simone Blum and 11-year-old DSP Alice were the first German team again – and they showed their third clear round in a row. The teacher from Zolling currently leads in the individual rating ahead of Max Kühner with 11-year-old Holsteiner stallion Chardonnay by Clarimo/Corrado (2.97 points) and Swiss Martin Fuchs with 12-year-old Westphalian gelding Clooney by Cornet Obolensky. In the end Simone Blum herself did not really know what to say: “It is almost unreal for me that I am in the lead. The team medal was a dream come true. But now I have to stay focused. There are still two difficult rounds to be performed. I did not want the first position for Sunday but I think we were just too good.”
Laura Klaphake and 10-year-old Catoki daughter Catch Me If You Can were the second pair to compete for Germany. The mare was in top shape until the last fence of the triple combination where the bar fell. “I only heard it two canter strides later,” so the rider said. “A bit of luck was missing. It was a difficult line. I do not know what the problem was, but it is a World Championship.” Laura Klaphake currently ranks 22 and will be part of the individual final.
Maurice Tebbel also had a mistake at the last fence of the triple combination and therefore he and Don Diarado by Diarado will not take part in the final. “Again a steep oxer, now we know what we are going to practice.”
In contrast to the day before Marcus Ehning and Pret A Tout delivered a clear round. “I felt the pressure, but the good thing was that we had the qualification for the Olympic Games. Of course we wanted a medal. My young colleagues all did well and therefore it was a bit easier for me. We complement each other.”
National coach Otto Becker was happy: “A dream has come true and everyone has contributed. How they fought despite the conditions here makes me proud.”