By Paul D. Bowker | Feb. 17, 2019, 6:04 p.m. (ET)
McLain Ward competes at the FEI Jumping Nations Cup USA on Feb. 17, 2019 in Wellington, Fla.

 

When Lucy Deslauriers guided Hester to a clear round on Sunday at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup USA, she was greeted by loud cheers from the spectators in Wellington, Florida.

The same followed for 2008 Olympic gold medalist Laura Kraut in her round, aboard Confu.

Those rounds helped the NetJets U.S. Jumping Team earn a third-place finish in the grand final of the Palm Beach Masters CSIO. The event was a qualifier for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, Spain, in October.

The U.S. has already qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, having accomplished that by winning the World Equestrian Games in September in North Carolina.

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Four-time Olympic medalist Beezie Madden and three-time Olympic medalist McLain Ward also helped the U.S. to the podium finish behind Mexico and Israel.

Madden, riding Breitling LS, had a clear ride in the opening round. Ward, on HH Azur, had one rail fault in each of the first and second rounds. The U.S. had a total team fault score of 12 (4 penalty faults are recorded for each failed obstacle and the best three rides in each round count).

Mexico won with a team fault score of 4, including five clear rounds.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.