Category Archives: Pan American Games

In Memoriam: Pan-Am Games Silver Medallist Andres Rodriguez (VEN), 1984-2016

Andres Rodriguez (VEN), who was tragically killed in a car crash on 4 January 2016. (FEI/Cealy Tetley)

Lausanne (SUI), 5 January 2016 – Venezuelan Jumping athlete Andres Rodriguez, individual silver medallist at the 2015 Pan-American Games, has died in hospital of injuries sustained in a car crash in Wellington, Florida (USA) on 4 January. He was 31.

A passenger in the car, Sophie Walker (30), died at the scene of the crash. Ms Walker was a talented amateur rider on the US national circuit.

Andres Rodriguez’s career highlight came at the 2015 Pan-American Games in Toronto (CAN) when he rode Darlon Van Groenhove to individual silver. He twice represented Venezuela at world championship level, at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky (USA) and the 2014 Games in Normandy (FRA).

His first major success came in 1996 when he won the FEI Children’s Jumping Final. He went on to claim team gold and individual silver at the 2013 Bolivarian Games in Lima (PER), team gold at the 2010 Central American & Caribbean Games in Mayaguez (PUR), and individual gold at the South American Games in Medellin (COL) the same year.

The talented Jumping athlete was bidding to make his Olympic debut at Rio 2016, and was also hoping to make his first appearance at the CHIO in Aachen (GER) this year. He had already realised his goal of a place in the world top 50, and was in 41st on the Longines Rankings.

Born in Venezuela, he moved to Europe after graduating from high school to train with Nelson and Rodrigo Pessoa. More recently, he was based in Paris (FRA) for the summer season and in Florida (USA) for the winter, where he was trained by Irish Jumping legend Eddie Macken. He married his long-term partner Clementine Goutal last month.

“To lose two young athletes in this dreadful way is a terrible shock and our hearts go out to their families and friends,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said. “Andres Rodriguez was a world-class athlete and clearly a super star in the making. For his life to be cut short in this way is absolutely heart-breaking.”

“The sport has tragically lost one of its greatest ambassadors with the passing of Andres Rodriguez, and I have lost a dear friend, as indeed have many others,” FEI Jumping Director John Roche said. “Andres was a wonderful horseman and an amazing person with a very positive approach to life. He had a heart as big as Mount Everest. He will be greatly missed by us all.”

The FEI extends its sincere condolences to the family and many friends of Andres Rodriguez, to the Venezuelan Equestrian Federation and the global Jumping community.

FEI Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
+41 787 506 142

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 46

Gold for Ward, Bronze for Hough at 2015 Pan American Games

McLain Ward and Rothchild (

Caledon, Ont. – The final medals in equestrian competition at the 2015 Pan American Games were decided in thrilling fashion this afternoon at the Caledon Equestrian Park. Both Individual Jumping Gold and Bronze were decided by jump-offs after two rounds of intense competition over the big and impressive Michel Vaillancourt-designed tracks. McLain Ward jumped three clear rounds, including in the jump-off against Venezuela’s Andres Rodriguez to win Individual Gold. Lauren Hough captured Individual Bronze as the only clear round in the field of five in the jump-off for Bronze.

Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Sagamore Farms’ Rothchild looked determined from the start, putting in one of only three clear rounds in Round A and one of only two clear rounds in Round B. Going first in the jump-off for Gold, Rodriguez had a rail down at 4B meaning that Ward needed to go clear inside the time allowed to secure Gold – he did just that. This is the first Individual medal for Ward, who has earned multiple Team medals at Olympic, Pan American, and World Equestrian Games.

“I waited a long time [for this medal]. I have had great team experiences and this is certainly something I have dreamed about and worked towards,” said Ward. Rothchild was purchased by Ward’s late father, Barney Ward, and has proved a terrific partner for Ward. The pair was part of the Team Bronze effort at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the Team Bronze effort here at the Pan American Games earlier in the week. “It is a very special thing. I rode this horse last year at the [World Equestrian Games] and he is the last horse that I am riding that my father picked out. A bit like my father, [Rothchild] defies the odds. He doesn’t really look or go like he should be a show jumper, and yet he’s won a couple million dollars, a couple big Grand Prix, and now at the Pan American Games. He’s a really competitive horse, his heart is as big as they come, and he gives you everything he has.”

Hough (Wellington, Fla.) and The Ohlala Group’s Ohlala had the first element of the double-combination down in Round A, a fence that proved troubling for many combinations. The young mare jumped flawlessly in Round B and headed to the jump-off as the fourth to go. With the three combinations ahead of the pair having at least one rail down, the door was left open for Hough and Ohlala who entered the arena and displayed their signature speed and agility to cross the timers clear and inside the time. The final combination in the jump-off also pulled a rail, leaving Hough and Ohlala as the only pair to post a clear round and thus securing Bronze.

“I am thrilled – we worked really hard for this medal. It was a great week and my horse performed beautifully. I am really happy to be going home with [an individual] medal,” said Hough. “I went as quickly as I felt comfortable [in the jump-off] without taking too much risk and it worked out my way. She was a true champion.”

Also competing for the U.S. in the Individual Final, Georgina Bloomberg (New York, N.Y.) and Gotham Enterprizes, LLC’s Lilli had the very last rail down on course in Round A to head into Round B as one of eight combinations on four faults. An unfortunate rider error heading into the triple combination resulted in downed rails at both the A and B elements, giving the combination an eleventh-place finish, a placing that tied with four other combinations.

“Lilli went so well in the first round today. I think she really left it all out there. I was hoping for a better finish in the second round, but she was a bit tired and I was a little bit nervous. I couldn’t have asked her for more,” said an enthused Bloomberg. Riding on her first championship team, Bloomberg was ecstatic about her experience, having earned a Team Bronze earlier in the week. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience and am just really happy to be a part of this team. It was so cool; it made me so happy to be here and experience this with these people. The whole U.S. Equestrian Team has been incredible and I am so proud of both McLain and Lauren.”

Complete Results

Behind the Scenes with the U.S. Teams: USEF Sport Director Will Connell’s Blog

From the USEF Communications Department

Canada Claims Team Jumping Gold; America’s Ward Takes Individual Pan-Am Title

(L to R) silver medallist Andres Rodriguez (VEN), gold medallist McLain Ward (USA) and bronze medallist Lauren Hough (USA). (FEI/

Lausanne (SUI), 25 July 2015 – In a series of competitions that could hardly have been choreographed to better effect, Canada claimed the team title while America’s McLain Ward clinched individual gold in Jumping at the Pan-American Games 2015 in Caledon Park, Toronto, Canada.

Thursday’s team tussle was an intriguing battle that proved unpredictable to the end when Argentina filled silver medal spot ahead of the USA in bronze. And it continued in the same vein today when the individual medals were decided in a two-way jump-off for gold and silver as well as a five-way race for the bronze. Venezuela’s Andres Rodriguez went head-to-head with Ward, and although he had to settle for silver his result reflected the consistent theme of the week. The quality of the sport in the region has improved beyond recognition in recent years, and the normally dominant sides had to fight very hard indeed to claim their fair share of the spoils.

Olympic qualification was also hanging in the balance since the action began last Tuesday, and it is Canada and Argentina that have claimed the two team berths for Rio 2016 while two individual qualifying spots have been earned by both Colombia and Venezuela, and one each by Uruguay and Peru.

Gentle introduction

Course designer, Canada’s Michel Vaillancourt, gave them a gentle introduction on Tuesday when 30 of the 50 starters jumped clear. However, it was a very different matter two days later in the team competition, when just four of the 40 team members managed to return a zero score in the first round.

A total of 10 nations – Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Uruguay, USA and Venezuela – fielded teams, and it was an unpredictable thriller to the very end. The host country was expected to breeze into one of the Olympic qualifying spots, but at the halfway stage it was Colombia and Argentina who looked set on the road to Rio while Canada was sharing third place with Brazil, Chile lay fifth and the hotly-tipped Americans were lying sixth.

Perfect start

Clears from Daniel Bluman (Conconcreto Sancha LS) and Roberto Teran Tafur (Woklahoma) meant that the single time fault collected by Fernando Cardenas (Quincy Car) was all the Colombians had to count going into the second round. The Argentinians were next in line with two, but Canada carried six, hampered by a seven-fault discard score from Tiffany Foster who had a stop with Tripple X. This meant they had to include the single error from Eric Lamaze (Coco Bongo) and the single time faults of pathfinder Yann Candele (Showgirl) and anchorman Ian Millar (Dixson). But the Canadians and Americans both rallied brilliantly second time out, the host country adding just one more time fault to their tally while all four US riders were foot-perfect.

So when Argentina’s Ramiro Quintana (Whitney), Matias Albarracin (Cannavaro), Luis Pedro Biraben (Abunola) and Jose Larocca Jr (Cornet du Lys) added six to their scoreline, the Canadians sneaked ahead of them by a single penalty point to clinch the gold because the Colombians had disappeared from the reckoning with 14 on their score-sheet second time out. And eight faults for Brazil allowed the USA overtake them for the bronze.

Wanted this so badly

Legendary Canadian team member, Ian Millar, said, “We wanted this so badly for our team and our country!” He acknowledged what a close finish it was, only a single time fault pinning Argentina into silver medal spot. “The last horse (from Argentina) had to have a fault of some kind… and it came down to a fraction of the second in the end,” he admitted.

They may have been nudged out of gold medal spot, but Argentina’s Ramiro Quintana praised the last-to-go run from Jose Larocca Jr – “We needed a clear round and he brought it home,” he said. Larocca commented, “It’s huge for Argentina; it’s been many years since we have had a medal at a Championship like this, so it’s very important, very encouraging to the young riders in our country.”

Right to the wire

Today’s individual final was another nail-biter that went right to the wire, and Larocca was one of just three, from a starting field of 35, who returned a zero score in the first round to leave him on level-pegging with America’s McLain Ward and Venezuela’s Andres Rodriguez. But a mistake in the second round saw the Argentinian battle it out in the five-way jump-off for bronze that took place between all the four-fault riders before the final contest for silver and gold began.

And Larocca was pushed off the medal podium when America’s Lauren Hough added nothing to her first-round error with Ohlala to take the bronze. “I had to fight hard for it!” Hough said after producing the only clear of this jump-off. “For my horse this was her first Championships but she’s done events like Aachen and she seems to get better as the week progresses. I would say the fault I had in the first round, I was too polite at the double planks, but I had a nice position in the jump-off, the three ahead of me had rails down but the one behind was a quick horse so I took a bit of a risk,” she explained.

Jump-Off for gold

Venezuela’s Rodriguez led the way in the jump-off for gold, and left the door open when racing home with Darlon van Groenhove in the fast time of 39.45 seconds, but leaving one element of the double on the floor. “I was a bit too careful at the first part and had the back part of it. I was very fast because I knew McLain was coming behind, so I risked a bit,” he explained. Ward kept a cool head to return a clear in 42.89 to take the individual title, admitting that, as so often happens, luck played a part in the end result. “My game plan was to ride the first five fences fast to try to win it two ways – if I had a fence down I would still be fast enough – and I was lucky at the last (fence); I gave that a bit of a rattle. But I’ve never won a big one without a little bit of good fortune!” said the 39-year-old three-time Olympian.

Talking about his horse, Rothchild, he pointed out, “I knew the courses would get bigger as the week went on and that would suit him; he’s a blood horse and a stamina test suits him, but today I knew I couldn’t make a mistake – it was a tough day’s work!” he said.


Teams: GOLD – Canada 7 faults: Showgirl (Yann Candele) 1/1, Tripple X (Tiffany Foster) 7/0, Coco Bongo (Eric Lamaze) 4/0, Dixson (Ian Millar) 1/5; SILVER – Argentina 8 faults: Whitney (Ramiro Quitana) 5/0, Cannavaro 9 (Matias Albarracin) 1/6, Abunola (Luis Pedro Biraben) 0/5, Cornet du Lys (Jose Larocca) Jr 1/1; BRONZE – USA 12 faults: Rothchild (McLain Ward) 4/0, Lilli (Georgina Bloomberg) 4/0, Ohlala (Lauren Hough) 4/0, Gazelle (Kent Farrington) 5/0.

Individual: GOLD – Rothchild (McLain Ward) USA 0/0/0 42.89; SILVER – Darlon van Groenhove (Andres Rodriguez) 0/0/4 39.45; BRONZE – Ohlala (Lauren Hough) USA 4/0/0 42.15.

Facts and Figures:

A total of 10 nations lined out for the Pan-American Games 2015 team Jumping title.

Only 4 horse-and-rider combinations jumped clear in the first round of the team competition.

The time-allowed of 83 seconds proved difficult to get in the first round when 28 of the 40 starters picked up time faults.

In round two of the team competition, 24 riders collected time faults.

Course designer was Canada’s Michal Vaillancourt who was individual silver medallist at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

The top-35 according to cumulative penalties over the first and second competitions qualified for today’s individual final. Nations with four riders in the top 35 sent forward their three best-placed combinations.

America’s McLain Ward won individual gold with Rothchild. He was on the winning US team at the previous Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011 where he also finished individually fourth.

The list of teams so far qualified in Jumping for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games now includes, Brazil (automatic qualification), France, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and USA (placings at Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy), Canada and Argentina (Pan-American Games 2015 in Toronto, Canada), and Qatar (best ranked team from Group F).

Countries can also qualify “composite” teams. For full details of Olympic EVENTING qualification opportunities, and list of teams, check out this link.

The next major Olympic qualification opportunity is at the forthcoming FEI European Jumping Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany, 11-23 August where three places are on offer to the best ranked teams from Groups A and/or B.


Individual gold medallist McLain Ward USA, talking about the standard of the sport at the 2015 Pan-American Games – “The level has gotten so much better in the Americas; you could see that in the Nations Cup. The US horses jumped very well but we had a few mistakes – a bit of four-fault-itis – it was one day, one shot, and to be honest if we were to do it again we probably wouldn’t do it any differently. I went to two Olympic Games before I did my first Pan-Ams. I went to Guadalajara (2011) and won team gold and finished individually fourth. But the specs have been raised (over the last four years) and there were quite a few top riders who compete in 5-Stars here this week.”

Individual silver medallist Andres Rodriguez VEN – “We all knew coming in not to expect a hard course on the first day. But the job Michel Villaincourt has done here has been amazing; the feedback he is getting from the riders is brilliant! It was an easy course on day one, but the Nations Cup was unbelievable – no double-clears; it was tough but smart. Today we knew the Championship would end with a big first round, bigger than the last Pan-Ams, and there were only two double-clears at the end.”

Individual bronze medallist Lauren Hough USA – “This is my third Pan-Ams and I am extremely proud and impressed by the level of these Championships. Today was equivalent to any Grand Prix in the world!”

Find out more about the Pan-American Games 2015 here and check out the programme of events here. Results are available here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:
At Toronto:
Jean Llewellyn
Press Officer

US Jumping Team Earns Bronze at 2015 Pan American Games

McLain Ward and Rothchild (

Caledon, Ont. – The final team medals in equestrian competition at the 2015 Pan American Games were decided this afternoon with the U.S. team taking the Team Bronze medal. The Nations Cup proved extremely competitive over both rounds of competition with clear rounds coming at a premium. The team comprised of Georgina Bloomberg, Kent Farrington, Lauren Hough, and McLain Ward finished on a total of 12 faults. The home nation of Canada won Team Gold on seven faults and Argentina took home their first team Pan American Medal in decades – a Team Silver on eight faults.

The U.S. Team got off to an unlucky start in round one, with each combination having one rail down on-course to go into round two sitting in sixth on 12 faults. The team entered the arena for round two determined and performed an impressive four clears, a feat not matched in either round.

“Coming back and having four clears in the second round was a great testament to all four of them, we are all proud of the effort, and it has been a great event,” said Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “Each [U.S.] round of round one had one extremely minor error, not one single major error. It was pretty simple what the team needed to do [in round two]: duplicate everything from the first round and fix that one problem, and that’s exactly what happened. They were brilliant in the second round.”

Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Sagamore Farms’ Rothchild served once again as pathfinders for the U.S. Coming into the first double combination on course at 4A, Rothchild had a light touch behind to knock the rail, resulting in four faults. The veteran pair jumped an otherwise excellent round and adjusted in the second round to turn into the first of four clear rounds for the U.S. in round two.

“I actually thought he jumped as well in the first round, if not better, than the second round,” said Ward. Speaking to the rail down in round one, Ward said, “[Rothchild] lightly touched it behind; he didn’t make a big mistake. I could have set it up slightly better, but again, it was not a big mistake. Unfortunately, the rest of the day went like that: all four horses and riders went well with just a little thing here or there, but in Nations Cup format, four faults can be deadly. You have to have perspective though; all the horses went well, all the riders rode well, and there weren’t any big mistakes or problems.”

Georgina Bloomberg and Lilli (
Georgina Bloomberg and Lilli (

Competing in her first championship, Bloomberg (New York, N.Y.) handled the pressure and proved her mettle. With a block down off the wall at fence six in round one, Bloomberg and Gotham Enterprizes, LLC’s Lilli, jumped an otherwise perfect two rounds. The Michel Vaillancourt-designed course had a tight time of 83 seconds allowed, leaving no room for error. Bloomberg and Lilli came through the finish times in a neat 83 seconds, to post zero faults in round two.

“The first round I was really concerned about the time allowed; she’s usually a bit of a slow horse so I am always concerned with the time allowed, even when it’s not incredibly short like it is today,” said Bloomberg. “I think that watching a lot of people have time faults, I really had that in mind and think that’s why I had the wall down; I was really moving, came around the turn, and went.” Going into round two Bloomberg explained her mindset. “In the second round I was thinking: I still have to be somewhat quick, but I really wanted her to take a deep breath in every corner. If I had a time fault, I had a time fault, but at least I don’t make the same mistake as I did in round one. I had 83 seconds to do it, and I used every bit of it.”

A veteran of Olympic and Pan American Games, Hough (Wellington, Fla.) piloted The Ohlala Group’s Ohlala in the mare’s first championship competition. Picking up four faults at the entry to the triple-combination at fence 9A, the combination returned in round two to turn in one of the fastest clear rounds of the day.

“We were all a bit disappointed with the first round, little margins of error,” said Hough “[Ohlala] put in two fabulous efforts and I corrected my mistake in the second round; she couldn’t have jumped any better.” Hough’s clear marked three clear rounds in round two, assuring the U.S. of a 12-fault finish. “We all really dug in; it was a good experience for all of [the horses] and hopefully we will come back strong for the individual round. We are all quite experienced riders and knew we had to come back and be just that much better and we did it.”

Farrington, currently ranked third in the world, brought his and Robin Parsky’s young, talented mare Gazelle to gain valuable experience in the mare’s first Nations Cup. The pair had the same rail down as Hough at 9A and also added one time penalty to their total in round one. The mare built on her experience and produced a confident, faultless effort in round two.

Speaking to the success for the U.S. team at the Games, Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) noted, “[Gazelle] is nine years old and this is the biggest course she’s ever seen in this kind of setting. Additionally, Georgina is here doing her first championship, so I think it was great experience for an inexperienced horse and for a rider moving up to compete in her first championship. Obviously we came here to be competitive and have a very strong team. We all had an unlucky rail in the first round, but all came back and jumped clear in the second round. A little bit of bad luck today, but overall a good experience.”

Saturday’s individual final will see the 35 best-placed combinations according to the cumulative penalties over the first and second competition. Nations with four combinations in the top 35 will send forward their three best-placed combinations. For the U.S., Bloomberg, Hough, and Ward will compete. Competition gets underway at 11:00 a.m. ET and will be broadcast and streamed live on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.

Complete Results

Behind the Scenes with the U.S. Teams: USEF Sport Director Will Connell’s Blog

From the USEF Communications Department

Stellar US Jumping Team Set to Shine in Pan American Games

All U.S. horses passed inspection Sunday (

Caledon, Ont. – The United States will be represented by some of the best in U.S. jumping in the final week of competition at the 2015 Pan American Games. The U.S. team of Georgina Bloomberg, Kent Farrington, Lauren Hough, and McLain Ward will take on 16 nations, including 10 teams, over three days of team and individual competition. The first individual qualifier will take place Tuesday, the results of which will be used to establish the starting order of the team competition, taking place Thursday. The U.S. has drawn last in the order-of-go and will ride in the following order on Tuesday:

  1. McLain Ward
  2. Georgina Bloomberg
  3. Lauren Hough
  4. Kent Farrington

“The Pan American Games is one of the key events for the U.S. as we look toward the Olympic Games in Rio next year,” said Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “We are steadfast in our goal of providing experience to a host of combinations while continuing to send teams that are in contention to medal at each Nations Cup event. We are coming off a win at CSIO5* Mannheim last week and have a completely different, very capable team here at the games. This is a true testament to the depth we have in the U.S. and is a part of the overall, long-range process of preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games.”

Farrington, of Wellington, Fla., will ride Robin Parsky and his own Gazelle, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. This pair has competed successfully since 2014, with top placings in major classes at the Winter Equestrian Festival, CSI5* Rome, and CSI5* Spruce Meadows. Farrington has been a significant contributor to U.S. team success, including as a member of the Bronze medal-winning team at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the Gold medal-winning team at the 2011 Pan American Games.

Hough will compete on the Ohlala Group’s Ohlala, a 2004 Swedish Warmblood mare, with which she has had much success both at home and abroad. The pair has garnered top placings in Nations Cup competition, including as members of the winning U.S. team in the 2014 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final Challenge Cup and Silver medal-winning U.S. team at CSIO4* Ocala in February. Hough represented the United States at the 2000 Olympic Games, the 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games, and at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Bloomberg, of New York, N.Y., and Gotham Enterprizes LLC’s 2004 Deutsches Sportpfred mare, Lilli, will also represent the United States in the Games. Bloomberg is a seasoned competitor, both nationally and internationally, with successful outings in top level competition. In 2015, Bloomberg and Lilli have had top-ten finishes this year at CSI5* Wellington and CSI5* Spruce Meadows.

Ward brings a wealth of experience to the U.S. Pan American Jumping Team. Ward has represented his country in three Olympic Games, including as a member of the Gold medal-winning teams in Athens in 2004 and in Beijing in 2008 aboard the legendary Sapphire. Ward has also been a part of three FEI World Equestrian Games U.S. teams: 2006, 2010, and 2014. No stranger to Pan American competition, Ward helped to secure a Team Gold medal win in the 2011 Games. At the 2015 Pan American Games, Ward will pilot Sagamore Farm’s 14-year-old gelding Rothchild. The pair has forged their successful partnership since 2009, garnering top prizes at elite shows at home and abroad. Ward and Rothchild combined to win a Team Bronze medal and a fifth place finish individually at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In 2015, Ward and Rothchild achieved top placings in CSI5* Grand Prix classes in Wellington, Fla. and at Spruce Meadows in Alberta, Canada.

The athletes and their horses will be supported by veterinarian Dr. Tim Ober, physiotherapist Janus Marquis, and farrier Ken Bark.

Complete order-of-go and results

Behind the Scenes with the U.S. Teams: USEF Sport Director Will Connell’s Blog

From the USEF Communications Department

US Eventing Team Triumphs at 2015 Pan American Games, Qualifies US for 2016 Olympic Games

Individual Gold medal winners Marilyn little and RF Scandalous (

Caledon, Ont. – The United States Eventing Team finished a stellar week of competition at the 2015 Pan American Games held at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Ontario, Canada. Superlative efforts by Philip Dutton, Lauren Kieffer, Marilyn Little, and Boyd Martin resulted in a Team Gold medal and a berth at the 2016 Olympic Games. Adding to their accolades, Little was awarded the Individual Gold medal.

The U.S. team began the show jumping phase in first place on a total of 133, with a narrow lead over Brazil on 136.70 and Canada on 159. First to cross the timers for the U.S. was Dutton on Thomas Tierney and Ann Jones’ Fernhill Fugitive. An unlucky rail at fence two caused the crowd to hold its breath for the remainder of Dutton’s ride. The rest of the rails stayed in the cups, adding four faults to his cumulative total, finishing on 52.40. Explaining his round, Dutton said, “I think I might have been a little bit quiet there [at fence two]; he didn’t even hit it very hard, but it did come down unfortunately. It was fortunate that we didn’t need that [score], but the rest of his round was good.”

The pressure was on the rest of the team as Kieffer entered the arena next on Marie Le Menestrel’s Meadowbrook’s Scarlett. The young mare again handled the electric atmosphere well, leaving all the poles up within the time allowed.

“I’ve had her since she was four and rode her in her first event. Every step of the way she has bumped up and just thinks it’s fun,” said Kieffer of the classy mare. “She was great out there today.”

Martin and the Pancho Villa Syndicate’s Pancho Villa completed the track handily for a score of no faults. Speaking confidently about his partner, Martin said, “I’m on a very good jumper; he felt fresh this morning, warmed up good, and jumped around pretty well. He is a three-star horse so I thought he should jump clear.”

With Brazil at the heels of the U.S team, all eyes were on Little as she entered the ring on Raylyn Farms Inc. and Phoebe and Michael Manders’ fiery mare, RF Scandalous. Little was in second place going into the stadium phase adding to the pressure to perform. With a lifelong background in show jumping, Little mastered the course perfectly. With the leading Brazilian rider dropping a rail at the last fence on course, Little was secured of an Individual Gold.

“Nothing really compares to a day like this,” said Little. “This is my first major games and this day is indescribable. It’s a great day for all of us and the people supporting us who made it happen. [RF Scandalous] was everything that I hoped she would be and that we know she can be. She’s a very special horse and a pleasure to work with. She shows up for work and really loves her job. She was exceptional this weekend and I am really proud of her.”

At the end of the team competition, the U.S. won Gold, Brazil won Silver, and Canada won Bronze. Individual medals were awarded to Little as the Gold medal winner, Jessica Phoenix of Canada as the Silver medal winner, and Ruy Fonseca of Brazil as the Bronze medal winner. Martin placed fourth individually on 44.30, Kieffer seventh on 48.40, and Dutton in 10th on 52.40.

As the first team medal for O’Connor as the U.S. Eventing Chef d’Equipe, O’Connor noted, “I have a belief in the program. We wanted to change some things when we started this program – attitude and belief; belief from the riders, from the public, and from the eventing community as a whole. I think step by step we’ve done that. To have these guys perform the way they performed this weekend, they were very professional and had great camaraderie, and with the help of everyone behind the scenes it was an exceptional effort. It showed that a system that’s built like this, with belief, belief in each other, and huge respect for each other, that you can really win in the end. We let these guys prove what they can do; we all know they can do it and believe in them as riders. We’ve seen great performances out of all of them and to put it all together in one weekend; that’s what these championships are all about. It was a joy to watch them.”

A passionate Martin said after the Team Gold win, “I’ve been in this racket for the last 20 years and have never gotten a medal. This is my first medal and we had to fight for it pretty hard. I have to say it is a rewarding feeling. I’ve been trying for this for a long time and I’ve finally got it. Team USA has the best support system with Joanie Morris as team leader, Dr. Susan Johns who is an unbelievable vet, Steve Teichman who is a genius farrier, and David O’Connor as our coach.”

Complete Results

Behind the Scenes with the U.S. Teams: USEF Sport Director Will Connell’s Blog

From the USEF Communications Department

Eventing Double-Gold for Team USA

USA’s Marilyn Little, Boyd Martin, Phillip Dutton and Lauren Kieffer celebrate team Jumping gold at the Pan-American Games in Caledon Park, Toronto, Canada today. Little also claimed the individual title. (FEI/

Lausanne (SUI), 19 July 2015 – America scooped both the team and individual titles as Eventing came to a close today at the Pan-American Games 2015 in Caledon Park, Toronto, Canada. Always with their eyes on the target of that single qualifying spot on offer for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Philip Dutton, Lauren Kieffer, Marilyn Little and Boyd Martin forged a marginal lead over the host country in Dressage on Friday. And once out in front, they held on tight to triumph ahead of Brazil this afternoon, while Canada had to settle for bronze in the final analysis.

And Little took the individual title in fine style. Lying second, and less than a fence behind Brazil’s Ruy Fonseca who led from the outset with Tom Bombadill Too, the 33-year-old former Jumping rider kept a cool head to stay clear with her relatively inexperienced mare RF Scandalous today, while 2011 Pan-American Eventing individual champions Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti from Canada claimed silver this time around when Fonseca’s single error dropped him to bronze medal spot.

A total of 11 nations lined out in the team competition, and Ecuador, Chile and Mexico were lying fourth, fifth and sixth after the Dressage phase. The USA had only a slender 0.7 point lead over Canada going into cross-country day, and Brazil was chasing hard when only three marks further adrift at this stage.

Cross-Country track

Canadian chances took a sharp knock, however, when Kathryn Robinson was eliminated for a fall with Let It Bee at the Hayracks, the second fence on yesterday’s cross-country track. Her team-mates Waylon Roberts (Bill Owen), Colleen Loach (Qorry Blue D’Argouges) and Jessica Phoenix (Pavarotti) all completed the course without incident. But Canada dropped behind Brazil when Fonseca, Carlos Parro (Caulcourt Landline), Henrique Plombon (Land Quenotte) and Jorge Marcio Carvalho (Lissy Mac Wayer) all likewise kept a clean sheet, Robinson’s brilliant 39.80 in Dressage, which placed her individually second on the opening day, no longer being taken into account. All four American team-members cruised home, maintaining their advantage with nothing to add.

From a starting field of 43, a total of 16 returned within the time-allowed of 8 minutes 39 seconds, including all three members of the team from Ecuador who eventually finished fourth. A total of 10 horse-and-rider combinations were eliminated over the 26-fence track created by Australia’s Wayne Copping.

Jumping phase

As the final Jumping phase got underway today, Team USA had less than a fence in hand over the Brazilians, while the Canadians were more than 20 penalties further adrift. America’s Martin (Pancho Villa) and Kieffer (Meadowbrooks Scarlett) kept a clean sheet once again, but when Philip Dutton’s Fernhill Fugitive collected four faults then Little’s result might prove pivotal for the team rankings.

The individual medals were also still very much up for grabs, and for Little there was no room for error as Canada’s Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti, who were lying just 3.20 points behind, had piled on the pressure with a brilliant clear when third-last into the ring. The American didn’t falter, however, leaving all the poles in place with her 10-year-old Oldenburg mare, and placing all the weight on Fonseca’s shoulders. Even a time fault would cost the Brazilian dearly, but when his 15-year-old gelding had a fence down he dropped all the way to bronze medal position individually and his team remained in silver medal spot.

New to the sport

“My mare is new to the sport; I have her for only a year now and she’s only just moved up to 2-Star level with the goal of these Games in mind!” said newly-crowned individual gold medallist Little this evening. She explained that she was a regular on the US Jumping team between 1999 and 2011, and competed in several Nations Cups, but then suddenly decided to change her allegiance. “I became interested in Eventing when watching the World Equestrian Games in 2010 on TV. I thought, ‘I’d like to do that; it looks like a lot of fun,’ so when I came back from Spruce Meadows that year I pulled one out of the barn and it has gone from there! I did my first 4-Star in 2012,” she explained.

She has really enjoyed the Pan-American Games experience at Caledon Park this week. “The event has been beautifully organised and it has been an incredible experience from the standpoint of horsemanship; the thought and care they’ve put into everything for the horses has been amazing. The cross-country course was fair but challenging; it has to be difficult for the course designer catering for the developing riders as well as very seasoned competitors. It needed to be challenging for both, but safe enough too, and he really succeeded in that,” she said.

In the moment

Talking about the cross-country track, she said, “Riding the course you had to be ‘in the moment’… you had to stay aware of all the plans. Cross-country is designed to force you to look at all the options and to stay ready to take them if necessary. Making it easy to quickly change your plan is the mark of a good cross-country course. Fitness played a part too yesterday; the terrain took its toll in terms of technicality and some horses got tired, but it was safe and jumpable and it was really a pleasure to ride the track.”

Despite all her experience as a Jumping rider, Little said she was still feeling the heat going into the arena this afternoon with so much hanging in the balance. “I knew I was under pressure, but I also knew my horse is a clear-rounder and very careful. She’s very sensitive though, and the atmosphere was electric, especially since I was following a Canadian rider (Jessica Phoenix) into the ring! I knew I had to remain calm and focused, and take it just one jump at a time and not get caught up with the magnitude of the moment!”

Facts and Figures:

USA claimed team gold and the individual qualifying spot on offer for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with victory in the Pan-American Games Jumping at Caledon Park in Toronto, Canada today.

The individual medals went to: Gold, Marilyn Little (RF Scandalous) USA: Silver, Jessica Phoenix (Pavarotti) CAN: Bronze, Ruy Fonseca (Tom Bombadill Too) BRA.

13 nations were represented in Eventing at the 17th Pan-American Games while 11 countries fielded teams.

A total of 42 horse-and-rider combinations competed for the individual medals.

The list of teams so far qualified in Eventing for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games now includes, Brazil (automatic qualification), Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Australia, Ireland and Canada (placings at Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy), and USA (Pan-American Games 2015 in Toronto, Canada).

The next major Olympic qualification opportunity is at the forthcoming Longines FEI European Eventing Championships in Blair Castle, Scotland from 10-13 September 2015 where 2 further places are on offer.

Find out more about the Pan-American Games 2015 here and check out the programme of events here. Results are available here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:
At Toronto:
Jean Llewellyn
Press Officer

US Eventing Team Aiming for Olympic Qualification at 2015 Pan American Games

The complete U.S. Pan American Eventing contingent (

Caledon, Ont. – Equestrian competition at the 2015 Pan American Games continues tomorrow with the start of eventing. A total of 13 countries with 43 combinations will participate, including 11 teams. All U.S. horses passed inspection this afternoon and the U.S. has drawn last in the order for tomorrow’s dressage phase. The U.S. team will ride in the following order:

  1. Phillip Dutton (9:52 a.m. ET)
  2. Lauren Kieffer (11:42 a.m. ET)
  3. Marilyn Little (2:30 p.m. ET)
  4. Boyd Martin (3:55 p.m. ET)

A top team-placing will be particularly important to the U.S. Eventing Team as they strive to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The U.S. can secure its berth to the Olympic Games by placing as the highest ranked nation not already qualified. Team Canada has qualified, as has Brazil as the host nation.

“We have a very experienced group of riders. Even with two new riders on the team, they have ridden for the for the U.S. in the past and have many horses at broad levels of competition,” said Chef d’Equipe David O’Connor. “There is great respect among these riders for each other so the comradery is very good. We need an absence of bad luck, there is no question, but we are very much looking forward to them being able to do thing we know they can do, and to have it happen this weekend. That has been the goal, to have that level of performance that they have all had, consistently, and have it now.”

The Caledon Equestrian Park in Caledon, Ontario will host a strong contingent from the U.S., including Phillip Dutton, Lauren Kieffer, Marilyn Little, and Boyd Martin. Dutton, West Grove, Pa., will compete on the talented 10-year-old Fernhill Fugitive, owned by Thomas Tierney and Ann Jones. Dutton is the most seasoned member of the squad, having competed in five Olympic Games, three for his native Australia and two for the United States. He is also a veteran of the Pan American Games, participating in the Team Gold effort at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil where he also won Individual Silver on Truluck. With the Irish Sport Horse gelding, Fernhill Fugitive, Dutton has enjoyed a long and successful partnership. In 2015, they had top-ten placings at the Cloud 11-Gavilan North LLC Carolina CIC3*, The Fork CIC3*, and at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover, the gelding’s first CCI4*.

Martin, Cochranville, Pa., is also a veteran of international competition, having represented the United States at the 2010 and 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, and at the 2012 Olympic Games. Aboard Pancho Villa, a 12-year-old gelding owned by the Pancho Villa Syndicate, Martin has had successful placings this year at both the Fair Hill CIC3* where he placed second, and the Jersey Fresh CCI3* where he placed third.

Kieffer and Little make their debuts in international games eventing team competition as members of the U.S. Pan American Eventing Team. Kieffer will pilot Meadowbrook’s Scarlett, an eight-year-old Thoroughbred cross mare owned by Marie Le Menestrel, with whom she has had continued success. The pair has had top placings recently in the Jersey Fresh CCI3* and the Cloud 11-Gavilan North LLC Carolina CIC3*.

Little will compete on RF Scandalous, a 10-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Raylyn Farms, Inc. and Phoebe and Michael Manders. Together RF Scandalous and Little have won their last five international events, including most recently the Cloud11-Gavilan North LLC Carolina CIC2* and the Ocala Horse Properties CCI2*.

With a promising blend of talented athletes and horses, the U.S. Pan American Eventing team holds high hope for success in the 2015 Pan American Games.

Pan American Eventing Order of Go and Results

Behind the Scenes with the U.S. Teams: USEF Sport Director Will Connell’s Blog

Note from USEF CEO, Chris Welton, Regarding Coverage of 2015 Pan American Games Equestrian Events

From the USEF Communications Department

Pan-American Equestrian Events Continue with Eventing and Jumping

Canadian legend, Ian Millar, will fly the host nation flag when Jumping gets underway at the Pan-American Games 2015 in Caledon Park, Toronto, Canada next week. (FEI/Ken Braddick)

Lausanne (SUI), 16 July 2015 – Eventing gets underway tomorrow, while Jumping riders and horses will be arriving over the weekend ahead of their first test next Tuesday at Caledon Pan-American Equestrian Park in Toronto, Canada where the Pan-American Games 2015 equestrian events continue through to Saturday 25 July.

At the inaugural Pan-American Games staged in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1951, Eventing took place at the famous Cavalry School of Campo de Mayo where the host country claimed both gold medals along with individual silver. Jumping was held at the River Plate Stadium where Chile’s Capt Alberto Larraguibel on Julepe clinched double-gold in front of a crowd of over 60,000 spectators. The passion for equestrian sport in the region hasn’t waned ever since, and both the Eventing and Jumping disciplines are expected to draw big crowds over the next 10 days.


A total of 43 horse-and-rider combinations from 13 countries will line out in Eventing, with 11 nations fielding teams. And the host country will not be amongst those chasing the single available qualifying spot for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, as Canada already made the cut at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy, France last summer along with Australia, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and The Netherlands. The Brazilian side of Marcio Carvalho Jorge, Carlos Paro, Henrique Plombo Pinheiro and Ruy Fonseca won’t be under Olympic qualification pressure either as Brazil is automatically qualified as host nation. However, they will undoubtedly want to test their strength against the remaining teams from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Uruguay, USA and Venezuela.

The Eventing action will take place over the track designed by Australia’s Wayne Copping which crosses nearby Will O’ Wind Farm, re-named Pan-Am Cross-Country Centre at Games time. And there is no overlooking the strength of the American squad who will be targeting that single Olympic entry opportunity. Philip Dutton flew the Australian flag at three Olympic Games and four FEI World Championships before acquiring US citizenship in 2008, and the 51-year-old has enjoyed a great 2015 season so far, including a fifth-place finish at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA), the third leg of the FEI Classics™ staged in April, with the 10-year-old Irish gelding Fernhill Fugitive which he brings to Toronto.


He is joined by his former trainer, 35-year-old Boyd Martin who also hails from Australia but transferred to US colours in 2009. Martin was highest-placed American at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy when finishing eighth, and brings the 12-year-old French-bred Pancho Villa to the Pan-Americans. Lauren Kieffer (Meadowbrook’s Scarlett) and Marilyn Little (RF Scandalous) round up the US selection.

Canada’s Colleen Loach (Qorry Blue d’Argouges), Jessica Phoenix (Pavarotti), Waylon Roberts (Bill Owen) and Kathryn Robinson (Let It Bee) will, however, be intending to stand on the top step of the podium next Sunday afternoon. And Phoenix will be chasing a back-to-back individual title. The Americans scooped team gold at the last Pan-Ams in Guadalajara, Mexico four years ago when, sensationally, all four riders completed on their Dressage scores. But the USA had to settle for silver and bronze in the battle for the individual title as Phoenix stood firm to capitalise on the advantage she established with Pavarotti in the Dressage phase.

Eventing Dressage takes place on Friday 17, cross-country on Saturday 18 and the final Jumping phase on Sunday 19 July.


In Jumping, 58 athletes from 16 nations and a total of 10 teams will contest the medals, and the two highest-ranked eligible nations not already qualified will book their tickets to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. There are also six individual Olympic slots on offer.

With Brazil automatically qualified as host, and the USA also through due to their bronze-medal-winning performance at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2015 in Normandy it leaves the door wide open for many other keen countries including the powerful host-nation side.

It will be a home run for 44-year-old Yann Candele who lives in Caledon and has been selected with the 15-year-old Showgirl for his Pan-Am debut. And it will also be a first-time Pan-Am experience for Tiffany Foster who will celebrate her 31st birthday in 10 days’ time when she will partner Tripple X. Eric Lamaze is a Pan-Am veteran, having competed in four previous editions during which he collected team silver, team bronze and individual bronze medals. The 2008 Olympic champion was nominated with three possible rides, but has finally been listed with the 10-year-old stallion Coco Bongo. Elizabeth Gingras has also been named with Zilversprings but the man who will hold centre stage when the Jumping action gets underway is one of the greatest legends of the sport – Ian Millar who, at 68 years of age, will line out with Dixson.

It’s not without good reason that he has long been nick-named “Captain Canada”, leading his troops into many a successful battle and always flying his country’s flag with huge pride. The two-time FEI World Cup™ Jumping title-holder, whose career with the great Big Ben has earned him a special place in the heart and history of both Canadian and world sport, claimed Olympic team silver in 2008 and holds the record for most Olympic appearances of any athlete, notching up his tenth at London 2012. His successful record in the Pan-American Games goes all the way back to 1979 in San Juan, Puerto Rico where he took team silver and individual bronze riding Brother Sam. He took double-gold in Indianapolis (USA) in 1970 and individual gold in Winnipeg (CAN) in 1999 and is an 11-time National Champion.

Put that to rights

At the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 last summer, however, Candele, Foster, Millar and Lamaze had to settle for eighth place and well outside the Olympic qualification zone so they will be hoping to put that to rights next week. In the race for an Olympic slot, they are likely to face strong opposition from the Colombians who finished just two places behind them in France. Daniel Bluman, Fernando Cardenis, Rene Lopez, Andres Penalosa and Roberto Teran Tafur could be tough nuts to crack, while strong selections from Argentina and Venezuela could also present a challenge.

The Brazilians look major contenders for a podium placing with Felip Amaral, Eduardo Menezes, Marlon Modolo Zanotelli, Pedro Veniss and Rodrigo Pessoa to choose from for their four-member side. They took team silver last time around in Guadalajara, but there is no denying the effort it will take to overpower the defending champions from the USA. With Georgina Bloomberg, Kent Farrington, Lauren Hough, Todd Minikus and McLain Ward all on call-up, they are likely to be the ones all the rest have to beat in the battle for gold. Farrington and Ward both stood on the top step of that 2011 podium, and from the moment Jumping begins next Tuesday it promises to be a right royal regional battle for the 2015 Pan-American Jumping titles.

Ahead of the first phase of the Eventing discipline tomorrow at Caledon Park, FEI Olympic and Eventing Director, Catrin Norinder, said today, “The Pan-American Games are not only an important route to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for some countries, but are also a tremendous developmental opportunity for equestrian sportsmen and women across the North America and Central & South America regions. I wish them all the best of luck, and I believe we can look forward to tremendous sport over the coming days.”

Find out more about the Pan-American Games 2015 here and check out the programme of events here. Results are available here.

The list of definite entries for Eventing can be found here, and for Jumping here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:
At Toronto:
Jean Llewellyn
Press Officer

Premier Equestrian Congratulates Team USA on Bringing Home Gold at Pan American Games

Silver medalist Laura Graves and Verdades during their freestyle at the 2015 Pan American Games in a Premier Equestrian Brentina Arena (Photo courtesy of Red Bay Group, LLC)

Toronto, Canada (July 15, 2015) – Premier Equestrian, maker of world-class dressage arenas, arena footing, and horse jumps, was thrilled to watch the U.S. Dressage Team take the 2015 Pan American Games by storm. The company was especially excited to cheer on Steffen Peters and Laura Graves, who use Premier’s products and have been dubbed “Premier Equestrians” by the company. After helping the U.S. to Team Gold, Peters earned the Individual Gold medal and Graves took home Individual Silver. The Team Gold medal, earned with a team total score of 460.506, guarantees the U.S. a spot in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Team USA claimed victory at the Pan Ams in a Premier Equestrian Brentina Arena. “The Brentina Arena and three foot flower boxes were provided through our Canadian distributor, System Fencing,” reported Kathryn Rustad, Premier Equestrian’s Internal Marketing Director. “The arena has been used at many world-class competitions. Top facilities seek out the Brentina Arena because of its unique safety features and its elegance.”

The revolutionary design of the Brentina Arena solves problems previously associated with multi-rail arenas. “The 18 inch base cone is extremely stable in high wind and the rails snap into each base to release upon any force or impact, thus providing safety for horse and rider,” Rustad explains.

The arena is named after Olympian and fellow “Premier Equestrian” Debbie McDonald’s famous mare, Brentina. “We are very particular about what equipment we use in our training facility,” said McDonald. “Not only did this arena pass our inspection, but we felt it was such an exceptional design providing form and function with the highest degree of safety, that we gave it our finest approval by naming it the Brentina Arena.”

Laura Graves, Silver medalist in Tuesday’s Freestyle competition, trained in preparation for the Pan American Games under McDonald at Rivergrove Farm in Hailey, Idaho. Graves, a self-proclaimed underdog with what is shaping up to be a “fairytale” story according to CNN, has had a journey to international success that has caught the eyes of many equestrian enthusiasts. She and her Dutch Warmblood Verdades (Florett AS- Liwilarda, Goya), known as “Diddy,” have captured the hearts and the attention of spectators around the world. Purchased in The Netherlands, based solely on a video, Diddy arrived as a fiery and “explosive” six-month-old. The now thirteen-year-old Diddy grew up on the Graves’ family farm in Vermont, and then moved with Graves to Geneva, Florida, where the duo began their dressage career.

Peters and Legolas 92, a thirteen-year-old Westfalen gelding owned by Four Winds Farm LLC, battled impressive rides, especially from the host country riders. After the team competition results were final, Peters stated, “The Canadians did a wonderful job. They rode extremely well. I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind that we might not be going to the Olympics. It kept me fired up enough to put in the performance that we did.”

USA claimed the Team Gold medal on Sunday, and finished out the Pan American Games with red, white, and blue leading the scoreboard. Peters brought his best to the show ring for the Intermediate I Grand Prix Freestyle, on his mount, Legolas 92, scoring a 80.075 percent to earn first, with Graves and Verdades following at a 79.825 percent.

Premier Equestrian proclaimed “a big congratulations to team USA for their win, and to our Premier Equestrians, Steffen Peters and Laura Graves!” Premier Equestrians are riders who have demonstrated sportsmanship, generated awareness for horse sports, or have been outstanding in his or her contribution to equestrian culture.

Premier Equestrian’s world-renowned expert arena footing, dressage arenas, and revolutionized horse jumps are crafted and designed to be perfect for riders of any level. Learn more about the company and its outstanding Premier Equestrians at

For more information contact:
Heidi Zorn, Premier Equestrian