Germany and Brazil nudged the United States into third place after the second round of show jumping at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games on Tuesday.
Another difficult but much-praised course by designer Conrad Homfeld made for a tough ride for most of the 119 competitors who took it on. Only 17 horses jumped clean in the Kentucky Horse Park's Rolex Stadium. In particular, many horses had a foot in the wide water jump, including Urico, the horse of U.S. rider Mario Deslauriers, who won Monday's competition.
"That jump can be a heartbreaker," said Homfeld, a former Olympic show jumper. Homfeld said the jump was slightly wider than Monday's version.
U.S. rider McLain Ward said he rode so hard over the water that he might have had too much momentum at the next jump, a large one with two rails meant to depict Keeneland, where his horse Sapphire hit a pole.
"I wasn't too concerned about that jump. ... I got too close," Ward said.
Because of the number of riders in the show jumping here, the organizers have divided Wednesday's competition into two parts. The top 10 teams and the top 15 individuals will compete at 7 p.m.; everyone else can compete at 1 p.m. The team medal will be awarded after the 7 p.m. event.
There are 27 show-jumping teams here, and organizer said that's a record for a world championship. However, at the 2006 Games in Aachen, Germany, there were 127 starting jumpers as opposed to the 121 who jumped Monday.
The teams stand very close together, as Brazilian rider Rodrigo Pessoa noted:
"Seven teams are within one rail," meaning that they stand less than four faults apart. "We're at 1, 2, 3 today (in the standings); we could be at 5, 6, 7 tomorrow."
Close behind the United States is Canada, followed by France, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
"You need a little bit of luck in this sport," U.S. rider Lauren Hough said. "Hopefully, we'll get it tomorrow."