- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

CAEN, France (AP) - Clear rounds from Jeroen Dubbeldam, Gerco Schroeder and Maikel Van der Vleuten helped the Netherlands take the provisional lead in team jumping at the World Equestrian Games on Wednesday.

The Netherlands, the runner-up at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, had a 3.89-point lead over the United States, followed by world champion Germany and host France.

“Very pleased with my horse because this is actually his first year on this level,” Dubbeldam said. “The way he’s jumping, he’s giving me a lot of confidence.”

Olympic champion Britain fell out of contention. It was in 18th place as none of its four riders could jump a clear round. Belgium and Switzerland were also among the nations that failed to qualify for the final round of the team competition.

The Netherlands were fifth after Tuesday’s speed test. Beezie Madden spurred the U.S. to second place with a flawless round at Stade d’Ornano.

“My horse is so fantastic,” Madden said. “He seems to love the place. He jumps the fences so easy. He makes my job easy.”

Madden won gold in the team competition at the 2008 Beijing Games.

The jumping event was suspended for a few minutes after Tomas Couve Correa of Chile fell to the ground and was hit by the hooves of his horse. The rider “was taken to hospital for evalution” but “was fully conscious when he left the stadium by ambulance and his life is not in danger,” organizers said.

The team competition finishes on Thursday while the individual contest ends on Sunday.

Joanne Eccles of Britain took the overall lead in women’s vaulting by producing the best performance in the freestyle test to music from the musical “Les Miserables.” Rikke Laumann, who was in first place after Tuesday’s compulsory test, slipped to second.

“I struggled this year to find music that we thought looked good,” Eccles said, “but this just fits perfectly with the competition being in France and I could be emotional with it.”

French vaulters Jacques Ferrari and Nicolas Andreani held the top two spots in the men’s contest while Germany had a slim lead over Switzerland in the team competition.

Vaulting’s technical test is on Thursday and the finals on Friday.

Britain tops the medals table so far with six gold medals, and 13 overall, ahead of Germany, the Netherlands, the United States and Belgium.

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