U.S. Jumpers Focus on 2013 Rolex/FEI World Cup in Sweden Rich Fellers the 2012 Rolex / FEI World Cup Final Champion photo by Susan Stickle

U.S. Jumpers Focus on 2013 Rolex/FEI World Cup in Sweden

by Helen Murray 
Eleven of the United States’ best jumping riders head to Gothenburg, Sweden aiming to be named the 2013 Rolex / FEI World Cup Final champion. The United States is attempting to retain the title after a 25-year winless drought ended in spectacular fashion last year.

All eyes will be on reigning champion Rich Fellers, of Oregon, as he looks to score a repeat victory with the invincible Flexible. Harry and Mollie Chapman’s Irish stallion enjoyed a remarkable 2012 season that included victories in North America and Europe as well as an eighth place Individual finish at the Olympic Games in London.

Fellers will be joined in Gothenburg by his Olympic teammates Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, Reed Kessler, and Charlie Jayne.

Madden is one the most decorated riders in America. The New York resident earned Olympic Team Gold medals in 2004 and 2008, an Olympic Individual Bronze in 2008, and was a Team and Individual Silver medalist at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2006.
At the 2013 Final she will ride Abigail Wexner’s talented geldings Simon and Cortes ‘C’.
Ward, also of New York, joined Madden on those medal winning teams. In addition to winning Grand Prixes throughout the world, he was the runner-up at the 2009 Rolex / FEI World Cup Final. He will ride Grant Road Partners LLC’s Antares F, his 2012 Olympic Games partner, and Super Trooper De Ness as he looks to go one better in 2013.
Kessler was the youngest rider in history to be a member of a U.S. Equestrian Olympic team when she competed in London last year. The pride of Kentucky makes her Finals debut with her Olympic partner Cylana and the versatile Ligist.
Jayne, from Illinois, was the reserve rider in London. He is making his third consecutive Finals appearance. He will ride Alex Jayne and Maura Thatcher’s Chill R Z in Sweden.
The Gold Medal winning team from the 2011 Pan American Games will also be in attendance at the 2013 Finals. Christine McCrea, of Connecticut, outrode her teammates Madden and Ward. She added Individual Gold to her medal tally in Mexico.
She will ride her winner from those Games, Candy Tribble’s Romantovich Take One, and Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables’ Wannick WH at the 2013 Finals.

Rounding out the U.S. effort two years ago were Florida’s Kent Farrington and R.C.G. Farm’s Uceko. The pair makes their second appearance at the Finals this year.

A trio of up-and-coming talent will travel to Sweden to make their Rolex / FEI World Cup Final debut. New Yorker Katie Dinan is the Individual Gold medalist from the 2011 Adequan / FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. She will be looking to turn heads this week with Grant Road Partners LLC’s Nougat Du Vallet.

The remaining riders hail from California. Karl Cook has been making a name for himself jumping on the West Coast with Signe Ostby’s Jonkheer Z. Lucy Davis and Old Oak Farm’s Nemo 119 will look to showcase the form that has consistently earned them top finishes in the U.S. and abroad. Rounding out the U.S. entries is Ashlee Bond who will ride Little Valley Farms’ Wistful. Bond is making her third Finals start and will utilize the experience gained from jumping on many U.S. Nations Cup teams.

“This year’s contingent of American riders is the strongest in years, a group that includes the top-ranked U.S. riders, Olympians, and the 2011 Pan American Games Individual Gold Medalist,” said Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “Equally as exciting however, is the incredibly talented group of under-30 riders who will be representing the U.S., because through their performances on the world stage we will be getting an early glimpse of what the future holds for us.”

The competition starts Thursday.