Great Britain’s showjumpers rallied in tremendous style to produce a resounding victory in Saturday’s (3 March) $150,000 Nations Cup in Florida, USA.
Showing outstanding team spirit, the four-rider squad of Ben Maher (Tic Tac), team debutante Emily Mason (Explosion W) — each of whom produced double clears — Emily Moffitt (Hilfiger Van De Olmenhoeve) and Amanda Derbyshire (Luibanta BH) led from the front in the two-round competition, completing on a team score of zero to beat Ireland and Mexico in a nine-nation thriller.
“We had a long talk before the weekend that we needed Great Britain to get off to a good start,” said Ben, who was riding his 15-year-old 2016 Olympic mount.
“We’ve been losing for too long and I think that for any rider or any team, you can’t just go on a run of bad luck or bad results and all of a sudden come out and win a championship, so I think this year we have to start strong as a country, as a team, within the riders that we have and get off to a positive start. Now we can take this result back to Europe with us for the super league division and look forward to Tryon [World Equestrian Games] for Olympic qualification.”
“We have a younger generation now,” added Ben, at 35 the senior member of the team and competing in his 50th Nations Cup.
“I feel really old now. I think we need to make Di’s job a little easier. Everyone always complains back home that we need to produce more results and Di should do this and Di should do that, but in the end the riders are accountable and we need to start producing in the ring like we did tonight.”
Emily Mason, 26, who now rides alongside Emily Moffitt for her family’s Poden Farms team, was making her first appearance as part of a senior Nations Cup team and she could not have asked for a better start.
“It was an honour even to be picked for the team to start with and the fact that we managed to get a double clear out today is mind-blowing really,” she said.
Di Lampard, Great Britain’s performance manager explained: “It was all down to the last round, but it is fantastic that everything came together. Every rider put their corner in. They put in a great performance, they dug deep and the plan was, as Ben said, to come and get off to a good start so we were well-focused on this weekend.
The Olympic showjumping kicks off in Rio on Sunday 14 August, so now is the time to start swotting up
A quartet of male riders have made the final four riders heading to Rio
Follow the jumping action from the individual final at the Rio Olympic Games via our live and interactive written commentary
“Last year was what it was — it was tough for very many reasons. But we’ve been having many discussions across the world to try to get us off to a good start here in Florida.”
> Don’t miss the full report from the Nations Cup and the rest of the international action in this week’s Horse & Hound, out Thursday 8 March.