U.S. Team Sixth in Show Jumping

The U.S. Team came in sixth while individually U.S. rider Peter Wylde still leads in the standings.
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The U.S. Team came in sixth while individually U.S. rider Peter Wylde still leads in the standings.

September 19, 2002 - The United States came
extremely close to winning a medal in the Show Jumping World
Championship at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera,
Spain, on Thursday, but unfortunately ended up in sixth with a score of
29.75 faults. Individually, U.S. rider Peter Wylde still leads the
standings.

At the conclusion of the first round of the Nations' Cup, the U.S. team
was in third place with a combined score of 17.75, just ahead of Germany
who scored 19.69. The battle for the Gold seemed to be between Sweden,
who scored 9.02, and France with 9.22.

A medal was still within reach after two riders in the final round. The
lead U.S. rider, Peter Wylde, had a second clear round and Nicole
Simpson of Westlake Village, CA on El Campeon's Cirka Z, owned by El
Campeon Farm, had only one rail. Germany's first two riders totaled
only 4 faults, but France was in trouble because their second rider,
Reynald Angot, incurred 19.00 faults. Sweden was also in a little bit
of a spot because their first two competitors had 8 faults each.

As can happen in the Nations' Cup, things completely changed after each
team's number three riders went. Belgium now had two clears and began
to look like a medal possibility. Germany's Marcus Ehning dropped
another rail and France moved back into contention with a 4-fault ride
by Gilles Bertran de Balanda. Sweden's Helena Lundback had a clear go,
putting them right back in the fight.

Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, NY on Judgement, owned by Iron Spring Farm,
riding third for the U.S., incurred twelve faults, putting the U.S.
medal hopes solely on the shoulders of its anchor rider, two-time
Olympic veteran Leslie Howard.

The final round could not have been more exciting. Belgium's anchor,
Jos Lansink, had a clear giving his team a final score of 22.68 and a
chance at the Bronze. Much to everyone's surprise, Ludger Beerbaum had
two rails, making him the drop score for Germany and giving them a tally
of 27.69 and fourth place.

Then came the fourth and final rider for the U.S., Leslie Howard of
Westport, CT, riding Priobert de Kalvarie, owned by Higher Ground Farm,
with all the pressure in the world. The only way the Americans could
win a medal was if Howard went clear. Unfortunately, she did not.
Howard had eight faults to give the U.S. a final score of 29.75 and a
sixth-place finish.

"I really thought we could go clear," Howard said. "When I trotted into
the ring that second time, he felt great and then in one second, it was
over."

The team medals were still undecided with France and Sweden still to
go. Eric Navet was a true anchor for France riding clear and clinching
the Gold. Sweden's Malin Baryard had only one rail in hand to keep the
Silver. One rail was all she scored, giving her team a score of 21.02
and the Silver medal. Belgium received the Bronze.

Individually, the U.S. is still looking great with Wylde on top of the
standings. Wylde, who currently resides in Maastricht, Holland, riding
Fein Cera, owned by the Fein Cera Group, was faultess for the day and he
goes into the next round on Saturday with a score of only 1.55. Eric
Navet of France is second with 3.29 and Helena Lundback of Sweden is
third with 3.62.

"It was disappointing as we all thought we could win a medal," Wylde
said, "but I couldn't be happier with my mare. She tried her heart out
and gave extra effort. She's an incredible horse."

The Final Four of the Show Jumping World Championship takes place on Sunday.

Comprehensive coverage of all World Equestrian Games competition is
available on the USET website at www.uset.org.

The United States Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization that
selects, trains, equips and finances equestrians of the highest possible
standard to represent our country in major international competition,
including the Olympic Games and the World Championships. To accomplish
this, the USET seeks out and nurtures the development of talented
athletes - riders, drivers, vaulters and horses - and provides the
support and guidance they need to help them attain their fullest
potential. For more information on the USET, please call (908)
234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org.