Jumping three clears in the first round of competition was the first step for the Trailblazers, and it was a step they easily accomplished. Putting Keenan and Kenny in next to secure the jump-off for gold was the next step. The Trailblazers had the second quickest time in round two; Karl Cook (USA) was just too quick with Caracole De La Roque for Helios, so Swail had to jump off first for gold, leaving both teams’ fate in the hands of Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Narcotique V/H Dingenshof. 

Luckily, speed is Swail’s specialty. With his 10-year-old Casturano, he jumped to a time of 45.89 seconds. Ballard went as fast as she could with Ilan Ferder’s mare, but two rails fell and added six seconds to her ultimate time, and the win went to the Trailblazers. 

“We're three world class riders and three great horses so the idea was to get through each phase,” Swail said of the team strategy. “We had three nice clear rounds in the first round and then the second round strategy was to put the fastest horses in to get us into the second jump-off. [Casturano] is a bit greener than the rest but a great athlete. I think there was a little gap and I think I put enough pressure on and we got the right result.”

Keenan and Kenny both took top results Thursday in the CSI5* qualifying class, and brought the same mounts forward for the team class.

“We only did that because we knew our horses could jump and win two days in a row,” Keenan explained. “We would never risk this class for the Trailblazers because we always want to win for the team. I've had [Agana Van Het Gerendal Z] for six years and he is incredibly special because every class he goes into he tries to win. Whenever he doesn't it's my fault and not his. He's a handful on the ground but he means business when the timer starts. I'm grateful to have him and to be on a team where he can shine in these moments."