Five For Friday: Equestrian

By Paul D. Bowker | April 13, 2018, 4:01 a.m. (ET)
McLain Ward congratulates HH Azur in the prize giving after winning the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final on April 2, 2017 in Omaha, Neb.

 

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Four-time Olympians McLain Ward and Beezie Madden lead a strong U.S. jumping and dressage team into this week’s world cup final in Paris.

Ward, a four-time Olympian who has won two Olympic gold medals in the team competition, is riding HH Azure, Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, in the jumping competition. He is the defending world cup final champion.

“Any of the 37 best riders in this final are able to win the title,” Ward said. “The bottom line for me will be focusing on my job and our performance.”

Madden, a four-time Olympic medalist who joined Ward in the gold medal-winning Olympic teams in 2004 and 2008, is riding Abigail Wexner’s Breitling LS, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion.

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Laura Graves won a bronze medal in her Olympic debut at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. She is riding Verdades, a 16-year-old KWPN gelding, in the dressage event.

AccorHotels Arena in Paris is host to the FEI World Cup Dressage Final and World Cup Jumping Final through Sunday.

Joining Graves in the dressage world cup is Shelly Francis.

Also in the jumping final are Kristen Vanderveen, Sarah Scheiring, Alison Robitaille, Devin Ryan, Andrew Kocher, Charlie Jacobs, Richard Spooner and Jamie Barge.

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