Clean riding 'lands Dutch Cup

DAVE DORMER

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

Despite being short one rider, the Netherlands were the only team to ride clean through both rounds in claiming the $350,000 BMO Nations Cup at the Spruce Meadows Masters yesterday.

On a day when a record 67,879 fans hit the park, the Dutch team won the event for the first time in 12 years.

The first to go for the Netherlands, Angelique Hoorn's horse Blauwendraad's O'Brien landed awkwardly after clearing the No. 5 double jump -- straining a superficial flexor tendon and putting the mount out of the competition.

The horse was splinted on the course and taken to the Spruce Meadows clinic under the care of resident veterinarian Dr. Dan French.

"With a tendon they like to wait to see how it responds after a little bit of time," said Ian Allison, vice-president of media services.

"It's in ice and immobilized. It's resting comfortably in the clinic."

Hoorn was not injured and immediately jumped off her horse when she saw it was favouring its front right leg.

Being shorthanded meant the Dutch had to simply bear down and focus a little more, said team member Albert Zoer.

"With only three riders left, we know we all had to do good," he said. "I think the pressure was good for the three of us to ride the course and all our horses jumped really great."

The Leopoldo Palacios-designed course was a tough one, as there were only a handful of double-clear rounds and more than one spectacular tumble, the biggest being when Germany's Meredith Michaels Beerbaum was thrown from Checkmate 4 after it clipped the final fence, landing heavily on her side.

"I spoke with the German chef d'equipe and Meredith and (her husband) Markus had been to the clinic here at Spruce Meadows and gone back to the stables and have gone for further examination to see a doctor in Calgary," said Allison.

"He had not heard anything more."

The U.S. finished second with 12 faults, followed by Mexico with 14.

After getting off to a slow start, Canada finished tied with Switzerland for fourth at 18 faults and Germany was sixth at 21 faults.

The BMO Triple was clearly the toughest jump on the course, said Canada's Eric Lamaze, one of only four riders to go clear in both rounds.

"The time allowed (82 seconds) was short as usual," he said. "You're coming off the triple bar and then it was a short eight strides to the double vertical with the stripe and the horses don't get a great read on it so it was quite difficult at the end of the course."

DAVE.DORMER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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