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Five For Friday: Equestrian

By Paul D. Bowker | April 17, 2015, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

McLain Ward jumps during the Central Park Horse Show on Sept. 18, 2014 in New York City.

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Olympians McLain Ward, Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut are among the U.S. entrants for the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final. The event, which began Wednesday, is being held at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. The competition features the world’s top 41 jumping riders and horses in three legs of competition over four days.

At the same time, the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final will be held, featuring Steffen Peters and Laura Graves. Olympic and world champions Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro of Great Britain are the dressage favorites.

“There is a great tradition here in Las Vegas, it’s the sixth time the World Cup Finals have been held here and we have a very talented home squad representing the U.S.,“ said Robert Ridland, U.S. Jumping Chef d’Equipe.

Kraut, a team gold medalist in jumping at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, will ride Evita Group’s Nouvelle in the jumping competition. Madden, a two-time Olympic champion and three-time Olympian who is ranked No. 7 in the world, will ride Abigail Wexner’s Simon. Ward, a two-time Olympic champion and three-time Olympian who is ranked No. 4 in the world, will be aboard Double H Farm’s HH Carlos Z and Sagamore Farm’s Rothchild.

Peters, a three-time Olympian who won the 2009 world cup final, will go after another title aboard Four Wind Farm’s Legolas 92. Graves, who helped lead the U.S. team to a fourth-place finish at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, will ride Verdades.

Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.