Ocala, Florida (February 23, 2016)— Team USA proved that teamwork makes the dream work by bringing home the win at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup CSIO 4* presented by Edge Brewing Company at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida this weekend. The four Team USA riders— Lauren Hough, Beezie Madden, Todd Minikus, and McLain Ward— demonstrated that they were not going to be easily beaten on USA home turf during the Longine North American competition.
The Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup CSIO 4* presented by Edge Brewing Company was held on Friday February 18 in front of a packed crowd that came to cheer on the eight teams that represented the countries of Australia, Canada, Columbia, El Salvador, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States. The teams were competing for a piece of the $112,900 prize as well as important points for the 2016 Nations Cup Final that will be held in Barcelona, Spain.
Todd Minikus and his trusted Nations Cup partner, 11-year-old Oldenburg mare Babalou 41, were third in the order of Americans to go during the event. The pair put in a clear first round, making the course designed by Irishman Alan Wade look easy. This round, added to the clear rounds from Ward and Madden and only four faults from Hough, was enough to put the Americans securely in the top spot before returning for the second round of jumping. Team Mexico, Columbia, and Australia were in hot pursuit throughout the entire event.
Although it initially seemed that the Americans were far ahead of the field after round one, things did not go as smoothly for Team USA during round two. Ward and his Pan American mount, Rothschild, had four faults while Hough and Coronet had down two rails in the triple combination. Minikus and Babalou 41 had three rails down on the course, which was ridden 58 times and only provided eight clear rounds. Anchor rider Beezie Madden aboard Breitling LS, who just recently moved up to the Grand Prix level, were able to maintain USA’s top position after putting in a second clear round.
After Team USA was named the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup CSIO 4* winner, Minikus commented, “Babalou jumped fantastic in the first round. To tell you the truth, she has been a little off her grain this week and I think she just got a little flat in the second round.”
Babalou 41, owned by Two Swans Farm of Wellington, Florida, has been Minikus’ Nations Cup partner for over a year. The duo has competed with strong results in Nations Cup competitions at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Canada, Hickstead in the United Kingdom, and at the Royal Horse show in Dublin, Ireland.
This year’s competitions are some of the most important for Minikus as he has made it known that he would like to be in strong consideration for the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team that is headed to Rio this summer. Along with having an already impressive string of horses at his farm in Wellington, Minikus also has recently acquired two new and exciting horses: 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding Clouwni and 11-year-old mare Vita 24. Both horses have been ridden with great success internationally, and Minikus is looking forward to showing them beginning at the Winter Equestrian Festival this season.
When not competing nationally and internationally, Todd Minikus offers sales and training services just minutes from Wellington, Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) show grounds. You can follow all the action from Team Minikus on Facebook and Instagram, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.
Photo 1: Todd Minikus and Babalou 41 on course at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup CSIO 4* presented by Edge Brewing Company at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida.
Photo 2: Team USA (from left to right: McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, chef d’equipe Robert Ridland, Lauren Hough, and Todd Minikus) atop the winners’ podium at the conclusion of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup CSIO 4* presented by Edge Brewing Company at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida.