Excerpt from the May issue of Heels Down Magazine.
Winning the World Cup is a big deal. A really big deal. So when U.S.A’s McLain Ward and HH Azur won the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Finals in April, the crowd erupted. Round after round, the pair left the CenturyLink Center arena in Omaha, Neb., without adding a single fault to their score.
McLain, who has show jumping medals from the Olympic Games, Pan American Games and World Equestrian Games, competed in the World Cup finals 17 times, only clinching the win on his last try.
The format of four rounds and technical, delicate courses make it an unlikely competition for even the best in the sport to win. Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum has competed in the World Cup Finals 21 times, but won the title in 1993 at his 4th appearance. American Beezie Madden has competed 10 times in the World Cup Finals, and won on her 8th attempt in 2013.
The World Cup is a sweet victory that can now be crossed off the 41-year-old show jumping veteran’s list, but the cherry on top? Winning the globe-trotting competition on home soil.