United States riders delighted home fans at Tryon as they defeated Sweden in a jump-off to secure a first gold in the team jumping competition at the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) World Equestrian Games.
The last to jump, McLain Ward, produced the decisive performance as he guided Clinta to a fast clear round that saw the Rio 2016 silver medallists finish two seconds clear of Sweden.
When Ward entered the US Trust Arena, Sweden had finished in a total time of 102.7sec with three clear rounds - thanks to Henrik von Eckermann, Fredrik Jonsson and Ro 2016 individual silver medallist Peder Fredricson – and just one four point penalty from Malin Baryard-Johnsson.
For the US, Devin Ryan and Laura Kraut had gone clear, and Adrienne Sternlicht had incurred a four point penalty.
Ward thus had to go clear, and to earn his team a faster overall time.
He ticked the first box, and his time of 32.58 was the fastest in the jump off as it saw the US to gold in an overall time of 100.67.
Germany held onto the bronze position as Switzerland, who had carried a narrow lead into the final day of this event, dropped to fourth after a day which had begun badly when Janika Sprunger had been eliminated from the competition at the second fence.
In the individual competition, Germany’s Simone Blum holds first place with 2.47 penalties, with Max Kuhner just behind in second on 2.97, and Martin Fuchs trailing in third with 4.68.
Day two leader Lorenzo De Luca has dropped to fourth place with the previously second-placed Ward now lying in fifth position.