Ashland Team #2 jumped to the top of the podium in the $25,000 Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Series Team Event, which took center stage in the Global International Arena at Equestrian Village on Friday evening. The team made up of Helen Graves (USA), Austin Krawitt (CAN), Klas Kudlinski (GER), and Ty Simpson (USA), finished on the only eight-fault score of the night after two rounds of competition.

Kudlinski, 24, posted the only clear performance under the time allowed for his team before the second round was cut short by weather after only two rider rotations competed from the six teams that returned. He and Charles 82, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cachas x Catoki) owned by BG Kudlinski u. Böge, led the team, while Graves, 20, also jumped clear in the second round. However, she and Kafka du Printemps, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Nabab de Reve x Indoctro), put one time fault on the clock.

“This is the first time that I’m bringing my horses over to America, so it’s the first time that I’m doing the Under 25,” said Kudlinski, who pulled a single rail and picked up a time fault in the first round. “I had one down in the first round, but my horse jumped really, really well. It was obviously a rider mistake. The second round I was more on it, and you’re not riding just for yourself, so you also have the pressure to take care of the other riders on your team. When you miss something, the whole team misses something, but it’s a good experience.”

Graves, who hails from Nashville, TN, also finished on a tally of five in the opening round. “This is actually my first year doing [the Under 25] on this horse. He’s really big and scopey, so I was kind of nervous with such a small ring. I thought our first rail was kind of unlucky in that first round, but he jumped really well. I’m really happy with him.”

Ty Simpson, 18, of Thousand Oaks, CA, competing in his second Under 25 class ever, was clear over the opening course with a single time fault to help qualify his team for the second round.

“So far, I love it,” he said of his debut in the division with Quality Iris, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare he has had for a year. “My mare, she was fantastic. I would have just gone a little bit faster if I had to do it again. I love the team event. I think it’s great practice for doing bigger stuff and being on the USA team.”

Representing Canada on the Ashland Team # 2 that came together at the last minute before this week’s competition, Austin Krawitt, 17, of Okotoks, AB, is also in the midst of his first year in the Under 25 ranks.

“My horse jumped super,” he said of Sanjay, a 12-year-old Slovak Warmblood gelding (Canturo x Acord II) owned by A.E.S. Equestrian, Inc. “He really rose to the occasion. I was a little slow on time, just over the time allowed, but I was happy with the round. I think this is great preparation for Nations Cups, and I was able to get some experience with double rounds.”

Ashland Team #2 topped their barnmates on Ashland Team #1 by a single point. Ending on a score of nine, Daisy Farish (USA) aboard Great White, Brian Moggre (USA) on Cayden de Coilly, Ransome Rombauer (USA) riding Ayade hero Z, and Spencer Smith (USA) in the irons of Princeton Z, claimed the runner-up position. Stephex & Friends rounded out the podium placings. The international team of Emilie Conter (BEL) riding Mufasa, Zoe Conter (BEL) on H-Cassino, Flore Giraud (FRA) and Ulisca du Touney, and Carlos Hank Guerreiro (MEX) aboard H5 Market Irminka finished with 13 total faults.