September 26, 2023
At EquiFit, we are proud to work with some of the top athletes in the world. Longtime sponsored athlete & five-time Olympic medalist McLain Ward sat down with us to discuss what he is packing for one of Show Jumping's most anticipated team competitions.
This week, athletes from 15 different nations & five continents will be gathering in Barcelona for the 2023 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final. Showcasing the best of the sport, each country has hand selected a team of riders to help secure the top podium spot at the end of the four days.
In addition to the 2023 champion title, this Final acts as one of two final qualification opportunities for the U.S. Show Jumping Team to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Ward is one of five riders chosen to help secure the United States' success this week alongside fellow Team EquiFit athlete, Jessica Springsteen, Karl Cook, Laura Kraut & Devin Ryan.
"We are pretty used to being on the road and traveling. The horses that will be traveling to Europe are seasoned professionals and we have a great team of people behind them," explained Ward on his upcoming travel across the Atlantic. "It happens pretty seamlessly; we have the routine down pretty well. We’re well prepared and know what’s coming."
Ward, his teammate Callas & his team will first fly into Europe, then will spend an additional two days on the road trailering south to Barcelona. "It’s a pretty long journey and we’re lucky to have companies like EquiFit behind us that provide us with all of the great safety equipment – wraps and bandages and different types of protection for the horses – so they travel safely to the destination," Ward shared.
"Barcelona in particular is a very warm climate, but luckily we really have two rounds of events so it’s not really an endurance test," noted Ward. "It’s much more performance oriented. I think Callas, the horse that we’re bringing, is well-prepared for the challenge."
What products made the cut for this long journey? Virginie Casterman, groom for Ward, sent us her list:
Essential® Polo Wraps to flat in
Essential® Schooling Girth with SheepsWool™ liner for comfort
Essential® EveryDay™ Boots with Vegan SheepsWool™ to hand walk
Pack-N-Stick HoofTape® to pack hooves
EquiFit® Ringside Backpack for the ring
A pair of IceAir™ Cold Therapy Boots
A pair of Essential® Cold Therapy Tendon Boots for the hind legs because sometimes Callas gets funny about the longer boots
A pair of HoofIce™ to ice Callas' hooves before & after showing
Essential® FlyMask in case the flies are bad in Barcelona
The first events kick-off on Wednesday, September 28 with the first horse inspection, training sessions & a draw for the order-of-go. On Thursday, competition begins & all 15 nations will participate in the first round. The top eight teams from the first round will continue on to Sunday's final round, while the remaining seven teams will compete in Saturday's Challenge Cup. For the event schedule, click here.