Category Archives: Competitions

Gisele Beardsley O’Grady and Januar Jump to $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby Victory

Gisele Beardsley O’Grady and Januar ©TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – August 12, 2019 – Friday’s $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby awarded Gisele Beardsley O’Grady (Tryon, NC) the winner cooler and ribbons for her efforts aboard Ginny Barnette’s Januar, earning a two-round score of 172 to take the win. In second, Allen Nabors Jr. (Odessa, FL) piloted Lookalike, the 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Levistano x Paola), for Margot Hirsch on a score of 169, while Robert Stucky (Waxhaw, NC) and The Girl From Ipanema, a 2009 Hanoverian mare (Clinton I x Vorbuch) owned by Allie Rae Hayes, claimed third after earning a score of 166 after two rounds.

Fifteen pairs challenged the first-round course set by J. P. Godard (Aiken, SC), and it was Januar all the way after his initial score of 87. Beardsley O’Grady called the 2006 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Junior Mariner x Poetri) “perfect” and “playful” on the way to victory.

“It went really well, so I couldn’t be happier,” said Beardsley O’Grady. “The course was nice. He’s a blast to ride, and he’s got a ton of experience, and I’m lucky to get to ride him. He’s a showman; he goes in there and shows off! So, that works in our favor.

“Everything pretty much rode to plan today. I had a couple lucky moments in the handy round, where he got a little playful, but I think they liked the way he jumped and forgave us for it! I think I could have helped him out just a little better, but everything pretty much rode to plan today. I got the advantage by riding a good horse that jumps so well! He’s perfect!”

Beardsley O’Grady emphasized that Januar is happiest in limited competition with National Derbies only, but he makes the most of every trip around the ring: “His story is a little long – he was imported a couple years ago, and has had a long recovery from a couple injuries,” she explained. “We’re lucky enough that he is back and fully recovered to be in the show ring. He has always loved showing, so I think that’s honestly also helped his recovery. He’s done really well here [at TIEC]. We do a limited amount of shows, and he just loves it every time.

“Jeanne [Smith], our trainer, and his owner, Ginny, have both obviously played a huge part in him,” Beardsley O’Grady continued. “He’s just perfect, and we love him. He’s awesome. Going forward, he will remain a National Derby horse. We want to protect him and keep him happy and sound. He’s not old, but with his prior injuries we want to keep him protected. Ginny just loves her horse, and Jeanne is such a good horseperson that she’s never going to push him,” she concluded. “They’re a really good team for him!”

For full results from the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, click here.

For more information and results, please visit www.Tryon.com.

Kiwis and Chinese Claim Tokyo Tickets at Valkenswaard

New Zealand and China. (FEI/Libby Law Photography)

New Zealand and the People’s Republic of China are both on their way to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after clinching the top two places at the Olympic Group G team Jumping qualifier staged in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands.

The experienced Kiwi side was always tipped to come out on top, and they lived up to expectations. But as four-time Olympian Bruce Goodin pointed out they were taking nothing for granted.

“These qualifiers are tricky things; it’s all or nothing; you can come in with good form and still miss out – you have to get it right on the day!” said the man who is based in Skåne, Sweden.

And it was clearly no walk-in-the-park for any of the six nations vying for those two coveted slots, Helena Stormanns’ winning side of Goodin, Samantha McIntosh, Tom Tarver-Priebe, and Daniel Meech posting a final scoreline of 17 faults, although they didn’t have to call up anchorman Meech in the second round.

China’s Yaofeng Li, You Zhang, Zhenqiang Li, and Tongyan Liu rounded up their score to 47 faults for second place while Hong Kong’s Patrick Lam, Clarissa Lyra, Jacqueline Lai, and Kenneth Cheng finished third with 58. The only other team to finish was Chinese Taipei whose Tina Lu, Isheau Wong, Po-Hsiang Huang, and Jasmine Chen put 62 faults on the board. The three-member sides from The Philippines and the Republic of Korea did not complete.

“It’s a huge thrill for us – we missed out on a team place at the last two Games but we came here with three experienced riders, and one newcomer in Tom who had never been on team before at this level, so for him to come out with a clear in the second round was really something! I’m very proud of all our team and very thankful to Helena our Chef d’Equipe!” Goodin said.

The Kiwis were already well out in front after the first round, counting single errors from both Goodin (49) with Backatorps Danny V and Samantha McIntosh (43) riding Check In, and the five collected by Daniel Meech (45) and his mare Fine. The relatively unknown Tarver-Priebe (34) and Popeye racked up a 12-fault tally for the first-round discard, but their foot-perfect second run secured the Tokyo ticket and ensured Meech didn’t have to return to the ring. The only addition to the New Zealand scoreline were the four faults picked up by Goodin and his 11-year-old gelding who clipped the final fence second time out.

McIntosh was clear at her second attempt, and the lady who was flying the Bulgarian flag on her only previous Olympic outing in Sydney (AUS) in 2000 is delighted to be back representing her native country once again. “These guys are my friends and we work great as a team. I was young (24) when competing in Sydney and I never managed to have the right horse at the right time for any of the other Games until now. Check In has been a fantastic horse for me. It didn’t start easy, but we have a great partnership now!” she pointed out.

“Things come easier when you’re younger,” said Meech. “I competed in Atlanta (1996) and finished 12th in Sydney (2000) but there’s been a big gap and I really appreciate it much more now than I did then! There’s nothing like the Olympic Games; absolutely nothing compares; this qualification is such a relief and it’s great to get the Olympic buzz going again!” added the German-based rider.

“The Chinese team is going to the Olympics again as a team; it means we have improved a lot in the last 10 years and we will keep improving. I think this will motivate more and more people to join this amazing sport. We’ve been preparing for this for over a year,” said 21-year-old Yaofeng Li who finished individually seventh for the host nation at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China in 2014.

And there was one extra-proud father at Valkenswaard, Yaofeng’s father Zhenqiang Li (51), who posted just six faults over two rounds to help seal that second Olympic slot. “For a dozen years my son and I have trained together, competed together, and now it has proved to be a worthwhile trip – I am very excited! Beijing 2008 was the first Olympic Games for me and the Chinese riders, so it is a lifelong memory for me. And it is even more meaningful because last time we got through as host country but this time we competed against five other teams in Group G and earned the qualification. It proves that equestrian sport in China has developed dramatically in recent years!” he pointed out.

Team China captain and anchorman, Tongyan Liu (51), congratulated his side. “This is only the first step in a long journey – there is still a gap between us and the world’s best riders, but I hope the young Chinese riders will go further, and even better!” he said.

One of those young hopefuls is 18-year-old You Zhang who steered his 10-year-old gelding Caesar through two eight-fault rounds. As he rightly pointed out, this was a watershed moment for his country in the history of this sport. “I feel great to achieve this result with my team; it’s the first time that China has been properly qualified as a team, so I feel happy for myself and the Chinese Team. I’m very excited about going to Tokyo, really looking forward to it, and we will try to do good over there!” he said.

Full result here: https://results.hippodata.de/2019/1714/docs/result_qualifier.pdf

by Louise Parkes

Kat Fuqua Outshines the Field in Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Finals

Kat Fuqua and Prestige.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 11, 2019 – The 2019 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, drew to a close Sunday, with Kat Fuqua claiming the top honors in what is hailed as the capstone class of the week, the Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Finals, to conclude her trip to the Kentucky Horse Park on a high note. Fuqua bested a field of nearly 200 riders aboard small, medium, and large ponies over two rounds of competition to emerge victorious with the ride on Prestige. The win marks Fuqua’s second of the week, after she piloted her own Prestige to the championship in the Large Regular Pony Hunters.

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Taylor Land Takes Entire Podium in $30,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix

Taylor Land and Get Go ©TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – August 10, 2019 – Taylor Land (Atlanta, GA) landed an iconic win in the $30,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) as the venue’s first rider to ever claim first, second, and third place in Grand Prix competition. Land topped the podium with Get Go, stopping the jump-off timers at 34.885 seconds. She also placed second and third aboard the Pinetree Farms Inc. entries, Liroy 30, a ten-year-old German Sporthorse (Levistano x King Kolibri), and Falco V, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Bustique x Montreux), clearing the short course in 35.081 seconds and 35.3 seconds, respectively. Marking the landmark event, riders Ricardo Villa and Genevieve Edwards joined Land on the podium to celebrate with her.

“It’s crazy! I never thought that was going to happen, but it’s amazing,” Land confided of her iconic win. “I’m so glad he [Get Go] won it; he’s my baby.”

The course, designed by J. P. Godard (Aiken, SC), tested 15 horse-and-rider combinations with nine pairs returning for the jump-off. Land shared that having more than one horse proved to be an advantage: “The last line in the jump-off, I expected to be able to get seven strides done on all of mine, [since] they’re all big-strided. With the first two, I decided to do the inside turn, and it just slowed me down and set me off to the right so much that I didn’t get the seven on either horse. With Grumbles [Get Go], I decided to go around and I lined it up in seven and it actually ended up being faster. [Having more than one horse] was a huge advantage.

“He’s amazing; he’s so special,” Land shared of Get Go, a Hanoverian, who she has owned for two years now. “We did the six-year-olds last year and we’ve been doing the seven-year-olds this year. He stepped up to do a few 1.40m classes in the spring, because we were preparing to do the seven-year-olds at Spruce [Meadows] where they were 1.40m. He was great there, so after that I felt like he was ready for the next step.” Land continued, “He was really good in the $5,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake [Thursday], so afterwards, my dad and I were talking and thought that maybe we should just enter him and walk it and see. It was a great track, and he just really stepped up to the plate.”

For more information and results, please visit www.Tryon.com.

Maddie Tosh and Alexa Lignelli Victorious with Hunter Championships at 2019 USEF Pony Finals

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 10, 2019 – Action in the Walnut Ring concluded Saturday at the 2019 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, with Maddie Tosh and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Bit of Love adding to their trophy collection as they were honored as the Grand Regular Pony Hunter champions, the most coveted title of the weekly hunter competition. The award marks the second grand championship of the week for both Tosh and Dr. Parker following Friday’s Grand Green Pony Hunter title with Baroness of Locheil. With only one class left to conclude the Medium Regular Pony Hunters, the Kentucky Horse Park welcomed 154 entries for the final and largest division of the week. Maintaining their day one lead, Alexa Lignelli and EMC Entourage continued to rally over fences to clinch the division championship ahead of the massive field.

Hallie Rush Races to 2019 Pony Jumper Championship Honors with Sky Miles

Saturday evening saw the pony jumpers return to the Alltech Arena for the third phase of individual competition during USEF Pony Finals. The top 13 riders returned for the finals, all vying for the championship title. Hallie Rush and Sky Miles proved to be the most consistent over the three days of competition, never incurring any faults to impressively finish on a score of zero to earn the title of the 2019 USEF Pony Jumper Individual Champion.

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Brazil’s Hot Streak Continues as Modolo Zanotelli Claims Gold in Individual Jumping

Marlon Modolo Zanotelli (BRA) celebrates after winning individual gold at the Pan American Games 2019 (FEI/Raul Sifuentes, Getty Images)

Silver for Larocca, Jr. means individual Olympic quota place for Argentina, while USA’s Madden claims bronze in thrilling four-horse jump-off

Brazil was atop the podium yet again, as Marlon Modolo Zanotelli jumped to gold in the Individual Jumping Final at the Pan American Games 2019, taking place at the Army Equitation School at La Molina in Lima, Peru.

Modolo Zanotelli and the brilliant 13-year-old Selle Francais mare Sirene de la Motte, part of Brazil’s gold medal winning squad in Friday’s team final, produced the only double-clear performance on the day, finishing on a perfect 0 score. The duo navigated course designer Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) tracks with ease despite their apparent difficultly, with only five total clear rounds recorded over the course of the two rounds.

“[Going into] the second round, I just tried to keep myself calm, because I knew if I gave my mare a good chance, she was going to jump a clear round,” Modolo Zanotelli said. “I had to keep my nerves in place. For me, I was in a good position. I was first to go of the clears, and I knew if I was clear, it would put the pressure on the others.”

Out of the 32 riders to make it to the final day of the competition and the 22 to advance to the final round of jumping, Argentina’s José María Larocca, Jr. (Finn Lente) came closest to matching the victor. A single time fault in the second round aboard the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding left him on a score of 1. The result also clinched an individual quota place for Argentina at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

“I wanted a medal. That was the objective, and incredibly, it happened!” Larocca, Jr. said. “Miracles do happen. I have 20 to 25 family members here. I’m very lucky to have the support!”

Larocca, Jr. is an amateur rider who works in commodities trading. He juggles his time between his work, his family, and his horses.

“It was the dream, and this dream started four years ago, when [Argentina] took the silver medal as a team [at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada],” he said. “This time, unfortunately, we couldn’t make it to the podium as a team, but I had the opportunity to make it as an individual. I’m very happy. I’m proud of my horse and my team. I’m living my dream today.”

With three other quota places available to nations without teams already qualified, Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Chile also kept dreams alive by securing representation in Tokyo, thanks to the performances of Juan Manuel Gallego (Fee des Sequoias Z, 10th), Hector Florentino Roca (Carnaval, 11th), and Ignacio Montesinos (Cornetboy, 14th), respectively.

It was also a thrilling finish for the bronze medal, as four riders finished on 4 faults, leading to a jump-off. The USA’s Beezie Madden (Breitling LS), already bringing home a bronze medal from Friday’s team competition, earned a second, crossing the timers of the shortened course with a clear round in 42.47 seconds. Canadian Nicole Walker (Falco van Spieveld) was next-best to finish fourth (4/44.18), followed by American Eve Jobs (Venue d’Fees des Hazalles, 8/46.06) and Eugenio Garza Perez (Armani Sl Z) of Mexico, who elected to retire following a refusal.

“It’s always a little tough going first, but it was winner-take all — medal or no medal,” Madden said. “I had to lay it out there and do it as fast as I could and still leave the jumps up. I have to give credit to my horse. He’s a naturally fast horse, and I’ve done quite a few jump-offs with him. It felt good to have that experience going into that pressure round.”

Modolo Zanotelli also has a well-established partnership with Sirene de la Motte, having ridden the mare for more than two years. He described his relationship with the chestnut as one that “matched straight away” and identified the Pan American Games as a goal for which he’d been aiming her since sitting out the last Olympic Games (BRA) in 2016. His two golds mark his first medals of any kind in a major championship.

“She’s a fantastic horse. She gives everything she can in the ring,” he said. “We like to say, ‘When you have a chestnut mare on your side, they are amazing. They really fight for you.’ She’s one of [those]. She really believes in me, and I believe so much in her.

“What I really wanted here was a medal — [whether] it was silver, gold, or bronze,” he added. “Luckily, it was the gold one today — another gold one!”

Results here.

by Catie Staszak

British Fight Back from the Brink with Last-Gasp Dublin Win

(L to R) Scott Brash, Holly Smith, Di Lampard (Chef d’Equipe), Emily Moffitt, and Ben Maher.

“We had a task to do, and we did it in style!” said British Chef d’Equipe Di Lampard after her team posted a superb victory in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Ireland in Dublin (IRL).

On a thrilling afternoon at the elegant Royal Dublin Society showgrounds, and in front of a packed house of screaming spectators along with dignitaries in top-hats and tails, they won by a country mile, counting just a single time fault, and without having to send their final rider into the ring. Italy finished second on a 12-fault total, Ireland collected 16 faults for third and the Swiss, Dutch, Mexicans, and Swedes filled the remaining places in that order.

Courses designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade are never for the faint-hearted, and the intense atmosphere, the scale of the arena and the beautifully-created fences also present a formidable challenge at the prestigious Dublin venue. But with their backs to the wall, the nation placed last on the Europe Division 1 table proved that when the chips are down, they have what it takes, and this result has ensured qualification for the all-important Longines series finale in Barcelona (ESP) in October.

“We’ve ridden the storm this season, we’ve had the downs and the difficulties, but it had to change some time and with a good team and the right spirit I felt it was going to come right this week, and it did!” said Lampard after accepting the coveted Aga Khan Trophy at the prizegiving ceremony attended by The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.

With clears from Scott Brash (Hello Jefferson), Emily Moffitt (Winning Good), and Holly Smith (Hearts Destiny), the mistake by Ben Maher (Concona) at the final element of the penultimate double could be discounted to leave her team clearly in command on a zero score at the halfway stage. Italy went into round two carrying four, followed by the Irish with eight and Switzerland with nine on the board. But once they had a grip on the lead, the British were never going to let go. This was the last leg of the seven-round Division 1 series, so it was all or nothing.

Maher’s inexperienced nine-year-old mare came home with just a single time fault second time out, so when both Brash and Moffitt each produced another foot-perfect run then the game was already up. Not only had they bagged the coveted Aga Khan Cup for their country for the 27th time in the 93-year history of the event, but the 100 points they collected lifted Great Britain up to seventh place on the leaderboard from which the top seven of the 10 competing nations qualify for the €2m finale in Spain.

The other teams to qualify from this league are Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, France, Belgium, and Sweden. The three countries that have not made the cut are The Netherlands, Germany, and Austria.

“With the win we secure a place in the Barcelona final and we were determined to carry that out – the Aga Khan trophy was always coming home with us!” said Lampard. As she pointed out, there’s been something of a generational shift going on in British showjumping.

“Over the last three years we’ve been producing young riders and a larger squad of riders, and you can’t rush these things. They need the right horses and they need owners to stick with them and that all takes time,” she explained. The changing of the guard can indeed be a painful process, but the result showed that British showjumping is definitely on an upward curve once again.

Moffitt was outstanding; the 21-year-old rider who is trained by team-mate Maher showed great maturity as she steered the hard-pulling Winning Mood through two tough rounds. “He’s very much a fighter, and I have to rein him in a bit!” she explained. Maher was delighted with his student’s performance. “Riding is the easy bit; shouting from the sides is the hard part! Emily did exactly what she was told today so I’m proud of her, and also proud to be part of this team,” he said.

“This is not an easy ring to ride in. I found that out the other day when my horse got a bit spooky!” Brash pointed out, referring to taking a tumble on the first afternoon. But normal order was restored as he cruised through two flawless efforts with Hello Jefferson. The last British win in Dublin was back in 2013, and both Brash and Maher were in that side along with Robert Smith and the now-retired Nick Skelton.

“It’s a privilege to ride here in Dublin and compete in this – the very best Nations Cup. It’s all down to the crowd, really; they are incredible!” Brash remarked. And his team manager agreed. “I remember 1996, winning the Aga Khan Cup with Abbervail Dream; the sportsmanship of the crowd was incredible as we went toe to toe with the Irish!” she recalled.

There was a clear purpose to the British effort, and Holly Smith put it down to focus. “Everything panned out as we hoped which doesn’t always happen – so when it does you have to enjoy it!” she said.

With this pivotal victory under her belt, Di Lampard is now turning her sights on the Longines FEI European Championships later in the month. “Now we are really confident about going to Rotterdam and winning a medal and our place in Tokyo!” she said.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Taylor Land Takes Top Two in $5,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake at TIEC

Taylor Land and Liroy 30 ©TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – August 8, 2019 – Taylor Land (Atlanta, GA) landed in the money with all three of her mounts after Thursday’s $5,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort, piloting Liroy 30 to victory in a time of 30.598 seconds to kick off Tryon August 1 competition at the venue. Just behind in second, Land and Falco V, the Pinetree Farms Inc. entry, cleared the short-course in 30.872 seconds, while Allen Nabors Jr. (Odessa, FL) achieved third place with Bon Chatsworth Pierre, owned by Allen Nabors and Jessie Grabowski, stopping the jump-off timers in 31.827 seconds.

Fifteen horse-and-rider pairs challenged the track set by J. P. Godard (Aiken, SC), with five returning for the jump-off. Land, who has had consistent success as a competitor at TIEC and also collected eighth aboard Get Go, attributed long strides and talented horses to her winning result. “I had my three best horses in this class today,” she explained. “Get Go is seven, Falco [V] is nine, and Liroy [30] is ten. They’re all such fantastic horses – all in a little bit different stages of life – but they’re all so special.

“I think with all three of them I have a little bit of an advantage in the sense that they’re all really careful and quick in front, and they all have huge strides,” Land assessed. “It’s easy to leave strides out that way – I can do leave-outs without taking big risks. Today I really wanted to be just smooth and forward in the jump-off. There was a potential inside turn after the first jump, but it was pretty aggressive [of a turn] for the first day, and I wanted them to feel ready for Saturday, so I actually went around and just went really forward,” Land revealed. “I did a few [stride] leave-outs, and then one tighter turn back to the last line. I just wanted to try to stay smooth with an even rhythm to prepare for the Grand Prix.”

Despite taking the longer track on course, Land admitted that she ultimately had to steady her long-strided mounts and still made quick time over the course, especially with Falco V: “Falco was on such a massive stride today that the leave-outs were really steady for him, actually! So, that walked a little differently than it rode, but overall I thought the course rode about how I walked it. It was a great track, and a great start for the week.”

For more information and results, please visit www.Tryon.com.

Daniel Coyle Is Unbeatable

Daniel Coyle (IRL) & Cita. Credit Tom von Kap-herr.

Bromont, August 4, 2019 – Daniel Coyle ran away with first and second place at the CSI3* Grand Prix presented by the Gouvernement du Québec at the International Bromont held at the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park.

Michel Vaillancourt, the course designer for this second week of competitions at International Bromont, prepared a difficult course for the final Grand Prix of the 44th edition of the competition. The technical difficulties, the short approach at an angle to the second obstacle, the combination on a straight line towards the ingate followed by a tight turn going to the sixth effort, as well as obstacle 11 preceded by a broken line and followed by a short 90-degree turn were the most trouble for the participants.

The lion’s share
Young twenty-three-year-old rider Stevie Murphy (CAN) is the first to execute a clear round with her mount Eba b RK in the first round. She is soon joined by Christine McCrea (USA) & Jarcobond Van Den Oude Eik, Julia Madigan (CAN) & Dee Jee, Kevin Babington (IRL) & both his mounts Super Chilled & Shorapur, Jill Henselwood (CAN) & Eblesse, as well as Daniel Coyle (IRL) with Cita & Farrel.

First to come back for the second round, Stevie Murphy executes a perfect round with Ebab RK in second in a time 45.25 seconds. Daniel Coyle & Cita, fourth to come back on the course, execute the best time in 37.12 seconds with a clear round; nobody will be able to dethrone the pair. Coyle will then execute the second-best time with Farrel, thus allowing him to leave with 53% of the prize money for this Grand Prix, presented by the Quebec Government.

For more information, visit the web site at: www.internationalbromont.com.

USA and Brazil Take Eventing Team Tickets for Tokyo

L to R – Team Brazil (silver), Team USA (gold), and Team Canada (bronze). (FEI/Daniel Apuy/Getty Images)

USA and Brazil booked their tickets to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics when taking gold and silver respectively in Eventing at the Pan American Games 2019, which is taking place at the Army Equitation School at La Molina in Lima, Peru.

America’s Boyd Martin riding Tsetserleg and Lynn Symansky partnering RF Cool Play claimed individual gold and silver when finishing on their Dressage marks, while Brazil’s Carlos Parro added just 6.8 cross-country time penalties to his first-phase scoreline with Qualkin Qurious to bag the bronze. But none of these medals were easily won.

The Americans snatched the lead in the opening Dressage phase when Tamra Smith and Mai Baum topped the leaderboard ahead of Martin in second, Doug Payne and Starr Witness in seventh, and Symansky in ninth. But they were only 4.9 penalty points ahead of Canada’s Karl Slezak (Fernhill Wishes), Dana Cooke (Mississippi), Colleen Loach (Fe Golden Eye), and Jessica Phoenix (Pavarotti), while Carlos Parro and his Brazilian team-mates Ruy Fonseca (Ballypatrick SRS), Rafael Mamprin Losano (Fuiloda G), Marcelo Tosi (Starbucks) were fewer than four penalty points further adrift.

Brazil’s chances were shaken by a nasty fall for Fonseca in Saturday’s cross-country test, however. From a start-list of 42 horse-and-rider combinations from 12 nations, only 25 finished the difficult course designed by Argentina’s Jose Ortelli. But despite the loss of their most experienced team-member, the Brazilians dug deep to produce brilliant performances and move up to silver medal spot ahead of the Canadians going into the final Jumping phase.

Talking about his dramatic fall at the seventh fence, the Lake Titicaca combination, Fonseca said from his hospital bed, “We were just unlucky. I’ve fractured my left shoulder and a couple of ribs. The horse is OK and I’m OK; everything is fine. All the medical team, the organisers, and the Brazilian Olympic Committee doctor did a really great job. The (Brazilian) team did a really great job and I wish I could be with them tomorrow!”

And they did him proud, anchoring their final score on 122.1 to take the silver while the Canadians, also reduced to a three-member side in the final Jumping test after the withdrawal of Dana Cooke’s Mississippi who scraped an elbow on a fence, completed on 183.7 for the bronze.

The Americans were the clear winners on a score of 91.2. Despite a big score for Smith who plummeted down the leaderboard after a glance-off at fence 16 and an additional 20 penalties for crossing their own track at fence 23, the US went into the final day with a commanding lead after Martin and Symansky produced the only two double-clear cross-country rounds and Payne added just 8.4 time faults to his tally. And when all three stayed clean and clear the gold was in the bag. But no-one was saying it was easy; it was quite the opposite.

This was America’s 10th victory in Eventing at the Pan Ams, the first posted in Sao Paolo (BRA) back in 1963. “It was much harder than I expected,” said 39-year-old double-Olympian Martin. “We came here and we were under the gun a bit, but we all stepped up and tried our hardest and like Eric (Duvander, team coach) said we’ve got good horses, great riders, the best coach in the world, great farriers, brilliant vets… there was no stone left unturned. Now we have to keep up the momentum, using every day we’ve got until Tokyo to keep improving… and then we’ll find out on the day, because competition is competition!”

Symansky described the result as “redemption, especially from last year at WEG when we came just a little bit short of taking our Tokyo qualification. Boyd and I were both there, and we’re much happier with our performances here this weekend,” said the 36-year-old who was also a team gold medallist at the 2011 Pan-American Games in Guadalajara (MEX).

Despite the disappointment of not bringing home one of the coveted Olympic qualifying spots, Canada’s Jessica Phoenix expressed her delight with the last week of sport. “I think Peru put on an incredible competition – the hospitality was insane! This is an incredible country and they made us feel so welcome. The venue is beautiful and it was a super, super Pan Am Games,” she said.

The door is not completely closed to Canadian qualification, but for now it’s the USA and Brazil who will join the host nation of Japan, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, China, and Thailand in Eventing at Tokyo in 12 months’ time.

The Brazilians are not quite ready to celebrate their success just yet, because Ruy Fonseca is still in hospital – “We’re waiting for him to get out to come drinking with us!” said Carlos Parro.

America’s Boyd Martin described the outcome of these Pan Ams as “a relief, for coach Eric who moved country to help us, relief for the owners, the grooms that work so hard, the wives that put up with us, just the whole thing. It’s so much work – we get to wear the fancy medal, but really it’s a massive effort from a lot of people,” he pointed out with gratitude.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes