Show Jumping

Quelle Dommage! Team USA Falls to Europe, a Story in Pictures

©Sportfot

Looks like Maikel van der Vlueten won’t have to name his first born after Chloe Reid after all.

In the pre-game build up for the Riders Masters Cup, a two-team competition that pits USA against Europe at the Longines Masters of Paris, Reid called out the Dutch rider out on social media with a friendly challenge.

If America wins, he’s to name his impending bundle of joy after the pint sized powerhouse heretofore known as America’s bundle of joy. (What? Reid is adorable.)

If America loses, well, he should still name the child Chloe. (Reid is also hyper competitive and could probably take us all down in a fight.)

With bragging rights and €250.000 on the line, the fast paced, two round competition made for thrilling competition. Equally thrilling (for me, at least), they did it in what appears to be athletically appropriate sportswear.

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Here’s how it went down.

Team USA’s Devin Ryan and Cooper were first to contest the Louis Konickx designed course. (Konickx was the mastermind behind the 2017 Longines FEI European Championship.)

Devin Ryan and Cooper. ©Sportfot

Facing off against show jumping’s current world #3, Kevin Staut and Ayade de Septon et HDC, Ryan suffered an unfortunate tack malfunction forcing elimination.

Staut, meanwhile, posted a lightening fast clear round in a time of 59.05 seconds for Team Europe.

Kevin Staut and Ayade de Septon et HDC. ©Sportfot

First point: Europe.

Twenty-one-year-old Reid and Sally 643 were next in the ring for Team USA.

Chloe Reid: “I’m going to crush you, Maikel.” ©Sportfot

Competing against world #5 van der Vleuten and Dana Blue from Team Europe, she posted a clear round in a time of 64.08 to even the score 1:1, after the Team Europe rider dropped rails at the first and last jumps.

Laura Kraut posted a second clear for Team USA with Viper Vrombautshoeve Z, edging the Americans into the early lead.

Laura Kraut and Viper Vrombautshoeve Z. ©Sportfot

Her rival, world #10 Grégory Wathelet and MJT Nevados S, had four faults after a refusal at the last jump for Team Europe.

But the US command would be short lived.

Team Europe’s Jos Verlooy and Igor evened the score with a time of 59.84 to Team USA’s Reed Kessler and KS Stakki’s time of 60.71.

Reed Kessle and KS Stakki. ©Sportfot

With Europe and USA tied on two points apiece, every fan in the arena was on their feet for the final duel of the first round of the Riders Masters Cup!

Team USA’s Lauren Hough and Waterford faced off against Team Europe’s (and world #4’s) Lorenzo de Luca and Jeunesse Van’t Paradijs.

Lauren Hough and Waterford. ©Sportfot

But it would be De Luca who dominated the course. His time of 60.07 seconds easily beat Hough, who was forced out of the ring after two refusals.

Team USA fell to Team Europe in the first round by a score of 3-2.

In the second round, riders and horses returned to compete over a Table C faults converted course, where three penalties were added for every rail that fell and riders scored two points for each winning ride. Nail biting ensued.

In the first match-up, Ryan and Cooper of Team USA redeemed themselves with a clear round in 60.16 seconds.

Devin Ryan and Cooper ©Sportfot

He’d score the first two points for his team after Staut and Ayade de Septon et HDC had a rail at the final jump to finish with a time of 62.79 seconds.

But the tides turned for van der Vleuten versus Reid.

In their second attempt, van der Vleuten and Dana Blue dropped the top plank of the Masters Riders Cup fence, adding three seconds to their time to finish with a total of 63.12 seconds. Reid and Sally 643 also had a rail down and a slower time of 65.09 seconds, giving Team Europe two more points.

Chloe Reid and Sally 643. ©Sportfot

The lead switched to Team Europe once again.

They pulled still further ahead after Kraut and Viper Vrombautshoeve Z knocked one rail and missed an inside turn to record a time of 64.84 seconds in their second attempt.

Laura Kraut and Viper Vrombautshoeve Z ©Sportfot

Her rival, Gregory Wathelet and MJT Nevados S, logged a blistering time of 61.97 seconds despite pulling rails at the final jump to take the win for Europe.

With just two riders to come and a 7-4 score in Team Europe’s favor, the American’s had ground to make up.

Kessler answered the call with a clear, besting Verlooy to score another two points for Team USA.

Reed Kessler and KS Stakki. ©Sportfot

It came down to the anchor riders, a single point separating Team USA (6) and Team Europe (7).

Hough and Qantas struggled again in the second round, dropping a rail and collecting a refusal.

Waterford , Hough Lauren ©Sportfot

A clear by her rival would give Europe the win. de Luca returned to the ring with gusto, posting a careful round to leave all the fences in place in 68.09 seconds, clinching the victory!

Lorenzo de Luca and Jeunesse van’t Paradijs. ©Sportfot

The final tally: 9-6 for Europe.

Team Europe chef d’equipe, Philippe Guerdat. ©Sportfot

Asked if he would have done anything differently in hindsight, chef Ridland quipped: “I would leave a couple more jumps up!”

Conceded the American chef, “There was a little bit of the unexpected and a couple instances of bad luck. It’s probably a faster paced action event than we’re used to.”

Team USA now turns its eyes on New York with renewed intensity. Ridland is confident they can deliver on home soil.

“I think we came in with a pretty good strategy and a very good team. The home field advantage will be for us and in our favor in New York…We’ll give them a run for their money,” he vowed.

With the Longines Masters of Paris on the books, the first edition of the historic Riders Masters Cup will culminate on U.S. soil on April 28, 2018, at the Longines Masters of New York at NYCB Live.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Paris, Reid shakes a tiny fist at the Eiffel Tower, “I’ll get you next time, Maikel!”