Leipzig, Germany – April 07, 2022 – McLain Ward (USA) and Contagious lead the U.S. contingent of eight combinations following the first day of competition at the FEI Jumping World Cup Final in Leipzig, Germany. McLain and Contagious will move forward to tomorrow’s competition in fifth place overall following a faults-converted score of 67.94, while Hunter Holloway (USA) and Pepita Con Spita also sit in the top ten looking ahead to tomorrow’s class following a strong performance in their championship debut. The speed track, designed by Frank Rothenberger (GER), proved challenging, but fair, in the narrow arena in the Leipzig Messe. Ward, coming off his team silver medal with Contagious at the Tokyo Olympic Games, is looking for a strong podium finish in his 19th FEI Jumping World Cup Final appearance.
Ward (USA) and Contagious, a 2009 gelding Deutches Sportpferd gelding owned by Beechwood Stables LLC, were the fastest combination of the day, but a single rail in the faults converted format slotted them in at 67.94 seconds, to secure fifth place overall behind Martin Fuchs (SUI), Max Kühner (AUT), Conor Swail (IRE), and David Will (GER). Ward commented that the mistake was his, but his horse jumped a fantastic round with two more days of competition to come.
“I thought Contagious performed brilliantly. He was right there for me, and I got a better jump into the line than I had expected and tried to be a little careful not to get to the next fence too early and added a stride, which was a foolish mistake, but we’re still in the mix and I’m really happy with his performance,” said Ward. “It’s a challenge and it’s a championship, so you have to perform. The courses are going to get bigger and harder, and I hope that we can stay close with that mistake and continue to perform well.”
Holloway (USA) and Pepita Con Spita, a 2011 Westphalian mare owned Hays Investment Corp., rode a strong first round in their first FEI Jumping World Cup Final together, adding just four faults to their time of 65.65, for a final score of 68.65 seconds for eighth place overall. Holloway (USA) will look to stay within striking distance of the top ten for the remainder of the competition and feels the atmosphere and arena suit the style of Pepita Con Spita to continue to show her talent over the next two days.
“I’m really proud of my horse. We had a little mistake at the triple bar, but I thought the course suited her very well and I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend. She felt great and there’s a lot left in the tank, so I’m pleased with where we’re sitting since our aim was to be inside of the top ten after the first day,” said Holloway.
Source: Press Release by the US Equestrian Communications Department for USEF / US Equestrian – United States Equestrian Federation
Photos: © US Equestrian