The last class in the international open jumper division proved to be the most difficult for the individual and team riders at the Washington International Horse Show at US Airways Arena.
Thirty-seven riders started the $50,000 President's Cup Grand Prix class, but the field was soon whittled to eight with clear rounds. Four horses and riders simply withdrew halfway through the class.
The skinny vertical at Fence 4 was a big culprit, tripping up 10 horses in the first round. By the jump-off, the remaining riders were evenly split between individual and team members.
Ainsley Vince of Team Canada started the jump-off round with her quick horse Catch 22, but no one would best individual competitor Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, N.Y., who set a blistering pace on Innocence and held first place through the jump-off.
"He is a real naturally fast horse, which is nice, especially indoors," Madden said. "He is generally pretty fast. But he had a month off before he came here and was a little bit rusty in the beginning of the week. He gets most improved award from me."
U.S. team member Alison Firestone, from Upperville, Va., was sixth to go in the jump-off. What looked to be an award-winning round on Royal Future soon turned ugly, with her horse popping terribly and pulling down the combination jump. Then Royal Future quit at the last fence. Firestone placed seventh behind Todd Minikus and Playboy, who had eight faults.
Lynne Little of Frederick, Md., also appeared to be riding into the money until her mare Pialotta put in a nasty stop at the combination and sent Little into the fence. Both were okay, but eliminated.
Analdo Bologni of the Italian team gave it his best on Lucilla, but had to settle for fifth place with four faults. His teammate Roberto Arnoldi was third on the little mare Loro Piano Paprika della Loggia, behind Vince.
Notes: The Individual Leading Rider award went to Kimberly Frey of Hume, Va. Madden was second and Minikus (Lake Forest, Ill.) was third.
The United States finished first in the international competition with 44 points. Italy was second at 30 points, Canada third at 19 and Switzerland fourth at 18.
Washington International Horse Show
The $50,000 President's Cup Grand Prix -- 1, Beezie Madden (Innocence); 2, Ainsley Vince (Catch 22); 3, Roberto Arnoldi (Loro Piano Paprika della Loggia).
The $10,000 Senator's Cup -- 1, Marilyn Little (Dudley); 2, Sarah Bradley Willeman (Arabian); 3, Anna McKnight (Marina).
Unicorn Hitch -- 1, Revenolt Stables; 2, Bartlett Clydesdales; 3, Owl Creek Stables; 4, Diamond Chaphe Meadows; 5, Eastern Slope Farms.
Pony Equitation Classic Finals -- 1, Elizabeth Coughlin (Millbrooks Tiny Bubbles); 2, Gina Marie Ciccotelli (Brighton Day); 3, Aimee Aron (Dabble Do Ya).
Best Child Rider Horse -- Addison Phillips (Blue Mist).
Best Child Rider Pony -- Teddi Jo Mellencamp (For Many Reasons).
Leading Rider Open Jumper Division -- 1, Kimberly Frey; 2, Beezie Madden; 3, Todd Minikus; 4, Peter Wylde (USA); 5, Jimmy Torano.
Leading International Team Final -- 1, United States; 2, Italy; 3, Canada; 4, Switzerland.