Tag Archives: Eventing/H.T.

USET Foundation Announces Jacqueline B. Mars Grants for Ariel Grald and Ellie MacPhail O’Neal

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan. Photo: Shannon Brinkman.

Gladstone, N.J. – Aug. 21, 2019 – The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation is thrilled to announce Ariel Grald as the 2019 recipient of the Jacqueline B. Mars International Grant, and Ellie MacPhail O’Neal as the recipient of the Jacqueline B. Mars National Grant. These distinguished eventing athletes boast impressive records and demonstrates high-performance potential to represent the United States in future international competitions, making them the ideal recipients of the annual grants that provides training and competition resources for athletes and their horses.

Grald, of Vass, North Carolina, has had a standout year with Anne Eldridge’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Leamore Master Plan, proving herself as a consistent upper-level competitor. In Kentucky this spring at the Land Rover Kentucky CCI5*-L, the pair competed in their first 5* event, earning 12th out of a competitive field. Her current participation in the Developmental Potential group sets her up for the FEI 2022 World Equestrian Games.

With the opportunity to travel overseas, Grald is looking forward to maximizing her time in the United Kingdom. Her plans to compete in the Millstreet CCI4*-S this month are part of the goal of preparing for the prestigious Burghley CCI5* set to take place at Burghley House in September.

“It is an immense honor to receive the Jacqueline B. Mars International Grant,” said Grald. “I’ve dreamed of competing in Europe and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity from the USET Foundation and Jacqueline Mars to make this goal a reality. It means a lot to have their support and faith in me and my horse. This trip will help us gain valuable international experience as we build towards representing the USA in the future. Grants such as this are crucial for Americans to compete abroad and I’m very thankful for this exciting and educational opportunity.”

Using the Jacqueline B. Mars National Grant, MacPhail O’Neal plans to compete at the Fair Hill International CCI4*-L with Zeta, a 12-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Sally Cox. She has participated in both Futures Challenges in 2019 and her development thus far has sparked her determination to be an excellent team competitor. Last month, MacPhail O’Neal and Zeta made the trip to Canada for the 2019 Bromont Mars Equestrian CCI4* where they were able to gain more experience on a terrain made up of hills and mountains, an exciting opportunity for Reddick, a Florida native.

“Receiving the Jacqueline B. Mars National Grant is such an honor,” MacPhail O’Neal said. “I am really excited to have the opportunity. It makes me so excited and appreciative that the USET Foundation provides funding for riders. I would also like to thank Sally Cox, who owns Zeta, and my mother for their support.”

For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.

Great Britain Wins Double Gold in Eventing

Photo: Leszek Wójcik.

British riders have defended their last year’s title and stood on the highest step on the podium twice: individually and as a team. The silver medal went to France, and bronze to Ireland.

The British team won with the following squad: Finn Healy with Midnight Dancer, Ibble Watson with Bookhamlodge Pennylane, Freya Partridge with Master Macky, and Daisy Bathe with SF Detroit. They took the lead after dressage and kept it until the end of the competition.

The best score in the team, and the best one in the individual ranking, belonged to 15-year-old Finn Healy – 31,7. Although he was tenth after dressage, a clear round inside the time on the cross-country course and only one point for time during the showjumping have earned him his gold medal.

“It was a testing cross-country track, very technical; it required some reactive riding; we all did that and got ourselves in the position to win. It didn’t really sink in yet. It’s a dream come true,” said Finn Healy.

Silver went to his teammate Ibble Watson and bronze to Camilla Luciani (ITA) with Camelot Damgaard.

Daisy Bathe had an unlucky round in the jumping and finished the championships on the seventh position.

Dressage

The Danish have won three gold medals at this year’s Pony European Championships in dressage: team, individual, and freestyle, where riders performed their rounds to music of their choosing.

The individual medalists have repeated their success. The highest score belonged to the world ranking number one – Alexander Yde Helgstrand with Adriano B – 82,140.

“It’s totally amazing. I didn’t expect to win three times. I choose my music on my own. I’ve actually had this music for quite some time. My pony knows the program and the music, so I think it really fits Adriano,” said the winner after the prizegiving.

The second silver medal went to his teammate Liva Addy Guldager Nielsen riding D’Artagnan 187, and Germany’s Shona Benner with Der Kleine Sunnyboy WE won the bronze medal again.

Showjumping

The final class of the European championships for ponies in Strzegom determined the individual medals for showjumping.

31 pairs have competed in the two-round competition. 12 of them had a good chance to win gold. Four riders entered the final with a clean slate, and eight with only four penalty points.

The course designer, Szymon Tarant, set up a demanding course in the first round, and only three riders have managed to go clear. The second part of the class, high up to 135 cm, has determined the winner. Max Wachman riding Cuffesgrange Cavalidam became the gold medalist of the 2019 Pony European Championships.

“It’s a great feeling. My pony is top class. The first round was quite tricky, very technical. The second round was less technical and a bit bigger. I’m out of ponies now, so I will focus on big horses and hopefully qualify for the Junior European championships next year,” said the winner.

The audience in Strzegom witnessed a jump-off for the silver medal, between riders from France and Great Britain. Holly Truelove (GBR) was the first one to go. She took a risk riding to the last oxer, which gave her a quick time and made it challenging for her rival. Ilona Mezzadri (ITA) with Callas Rezidal Z took up the glove, but had two down, which gave her a score of 8 penalties, and bronze medal in the final classification.

153 riders from 18 countries competed in three Olympic disciplines during the FEI Pony European Championships in Strzegom.

Full results: https://zawodykonne.com/zawody/50/tour/84.

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl

Double Gold for Denmark at the FEI Pony European Championships

Daisy Bathe with SF Detroit. Photo: Leszek Wójcik.

FEI rankings number one Alexander Yde Helgstrand won individual gold after a very good test with Adriano B at the European Championships for Ponies in Strzegom. Denmark stood on the highest step of the podium after both the team and individual classes.

The silver medal went to Alexander’s teammate Liva Addy Guldager Nielsen riding D’Artagnan 187, and Shona Benner from Germany with Der Kleine Sunnyboy WE took home the bronze.

“It’s amazing! I had to ride on the first day and we did a super test. We have been waiting the all day today, so it was really exciting until the last moment. And after last rider I was so happy, so it’s incredible. Adriano B is super sweet, he is a nice and relaxed pony, but when he is on a track at the show he is fighting for points. So, he is a really really good pony,” said the winner after the prizegiving. “I am finishing riding Adriano for now. I want to focus on my big horse now, who I won the Junior Nordic Championships with.”

The 16-year-old is also the one to watch in the individual Freestyle tests. The audience in Morawa will have a chance to see one Polish rider who qualified for the final rivalry – Tatiana Bierieznow with Gluckspilz. She stands at 21st position, with 54 pairs competing overall.

Eventing

Saturday’s cross-country trials hasn’t changed much in the team rankings after dressage. Great Britain is still in the lead, second position stays with France, and the Irish have jumped into the third place.

The riders were tested over the course of 2990 metres with 24 fences overall. Individually, the best score for now belongs to Great Britain’s Daisy Bathe with SF Detroit. Leader after dressage, German rider Sophia Rössel with Camillo We, lost her position to be placed 5th for now. The British rider went clear over the fences, only 5 seconds over the optimum time. Lisa Gualtieri (FRA) with O Ma Doue Kersidal had an identical score and sits on second after cross-country. Third for now is Camilla Luciani (ITA) with Camelot Damgaard.

The only Polish rider in the class, Julia Witkowska with Chester, has decided to retire from finishing the course.

Full results: https://zawodykonne.com/zawody/50/tour/84.

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl

Pony European Championships: Ireland Wins Team Gold in Showjumping

Sophia Rössel with Camillo We. Photo by: Mariusz Chmieliński.

The Irish team was unbeatable in the fight for team medals at the FEI European Championships for Ponies. Silver went to Great Britain and bronze to France.

It was an emotional day at Strzegom. The team medals were uncertain until the last ride. Two jump-offs had to happen to determine the bronze and gold winning teams.

Germany and France fought for the bronze. The two teams had the same score of 4 points in the jump-off, so it was the time that determined that France stood on the lowest step of the podium.

The Irish competed in the following squad: John McEntee, Niamh McEvoy, Tom Wachman, and his brother Max Wachman. They had a hard nut to crack in the jump-off, as the British were a fast opponent, and they also had their eyes set on the prize.

“Very fast jump off, the course was big, the English were very hard to beat, so it made it difficult for us,” said Tom Wachman.

“The English looked very fast, so I was just cheering for my team, hoping they will gallop fast enough and jump clear,” said Francis Derwin, who did not compete, but had helped his teammates in the first class of the championships.

The time of the Irish team, 1,72 seconds faster than Great Britain’s, decided their win.

Eventing

The eventing dressage trials ended on Friday. The current leaders, with the score of 88,4, are from team Great Britain. Second place for now belongs to France and third to Germany. 7 teams are competing overall.

German athlete Sophia Rössel with Camillo We performed the best individual test with the result of 25,4. The only Polish rider of the class, Julia Witkowska riding Chester, is currently in the 36th position.

Full results: https://zawodykonne.com/zawody/50/tour/84.

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl

FEI Pony European Championships: Team Gold in Dressage for Denmark

Photo by Leszek Wójcik.

The dressage team from Denmark went for the gold medal at the FEI European Championships for Ponies. Silver medal went to the Netherlands, and bronze to Germany. The Polish team finished at the tenth position.

The Danish team competed in the following squad: Alexander Yde Helgstrand with Adriano B, Liva Addy Guldager Nielsen with D’artagnan 187, Nathalie Thomassen with Lykkehoejs Dream of Dornik, and Thilde Rude Hare with Morgensterns Dakar. 226,829 was their collective score.

“Competing as a team is stressful because you have to rely on other people and some things are out of your hands. It’s the first time Denmark has ever won, so it’s fantastic,” said the member of the winning team, Nathalie Thomassen.

The best individual result belonged to the current FEI rankings number one – Alexander Yde Helgstrand aboard Adriano B – 77,543.

“It’s amazing. It’s unbelievable. It was really close between all the teams, so it was quite stressful, but it ended up great,” said Alexander Yde Helgstrand.

Polish riders ended up on the 10th position, with 14 countries competing overall. The best score for Poland belonged to Tatiana Bierieznow with Gluckspilz – 69,743.

It’s not the end of dressage. From Friday to Sunday riders will present themselves and their ponies in the individual classes.

Showjumping

50 riders competed in the first class of the Pony European Championships in showjumping. 18 of them finished the class with zero penalty points. The best ride belonged to Linnea Ilsoee Madsen with Zee Tech, as they cruised over the course in amazing time of 64,97 seconds.

Three teams are clear: Germany, Great Britain, and France. Anything can happen in the final, as Italy, Ireland, and Denmark currently stand on the score of 4 penalties.

Poland is at the 10th position. The best result belonged to Aleksandra Osuch riding Rosa, as they finished the class with only one knockdown.

Full results: https://zawodykonne.com/zawody/50/tour/84.

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl

Olympic Champion Jung Claims Ready Steady Tokyo Test Event Honours

Michael Jung with Fischerwild Wave. (FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi)

Germany’s Michael Jung, Olympic Eventing champion in London 2012 and again in Rio 2016, has already claimed gold in Tokyo one year out from the Olympic Games after taking the honours with Fischerwild Wave at the Ready Steady Tokyo test event which wrapped up at the Equestrian Park.

The 37-year-old, who has three Olympic gold and one silver from two Games appearances with the now retired La Biosthetique Sam FBW, had shadowed the leaders from the outset, even though he was riding the youngest horse on the start list.

Third after Dressage behind the home side’s Yoshiaki Oiwa and Bart L JRA, the German pair moved up to second after cross country, and a superb clear in the final Jumping test with the seven-year-old Fischerwild Wave then put the pressure on overnight leaders, Australia’s Andrew Hoy with Bloom Des Hauts Crets.

The mare had jumped impeccably around Derek Di Grazia’s cross country 24 hours earlier, but became increasingly headstrong over the coloured poles, and when the middle element of the triple combination hit the sand to drop Hoy down the order to fifth, victory went to the German duo.

In mixed weather conditions that veered from heavy rain to hot sunshine, nine horses were foot perfect over Santiago Varela’s 11-fence track, with Japan’s Ryuzo Kitajima on Vick Du Grisors JRA and Dressage leaders Yoshiaki Oiwa and Bart L JRA among them. The home pair moved up to claim podium spots in silver and bronze, heading no less than four Japanese in the top 10.

All 16 horses that started cross country were passed fit at the horse inspection, with all of them beautifully turned out and looking exceptionally well.

The German winner was quick to praise the facilities provided at the two venues, Equestrian Park and Sea Forest. “For me it was very interesting to be here and nice to see how everything works, especially the cross country with the horses. It felt very good. It’s difficult but still possible and I think it’s really not a problem. For sure you need a very good preparation and you have to be very fit before you arrive here, the horses and the riders as well.

“I think it will be very nice next year if you see everything this year and we have one more year to prepare and to make some little details a bit better. I’m really looking forward to next season.”

Second-placed Ryuzo Kitajima, a member of Japan’s gold medal team at last year’s Asian Games in Jakarta (INA), was delighted with the performance of his horse Vick Du Grisors JRA. “It was hard work in the very hot weather, but my horse had a very good reaction in the cross country and in the practice arena he was too fresh today so I’m very happy with a double clear, it’s a fantastic result.”

The overwhelming impression from the 20 National Olympic and Paralympic Committees that were onsite was extremely positive and the general mood was summed up by Sydney 2000 Olympic champion David O’Connor, who chairs the FEI Eventing Committee.

“The facilities are very impressive and we had the chance to test everything we needed to test, which was the purpose of this week’s test event,” he said. “There are some adjustments to be made but they are minor ones, as the Organising Committee has thought through all the details and is right on track to make 2020 a really great Olympic Games for equestrian sport.”

Ready Steady Tokyo equestrian test event (final placings) – 1, Germany’s Fischerwild Wave (Michael Jung), 28.0 penalties; 2, Japan’s Vick Du Grisors JRA (Ryuzo Kitajima), 28.2; 3, Bart L JRA (Yoshiaki Oiwa), 30.1; 4, Great Britain’s Halltown Harley (Georgie Spence), 30.6; 5, Australia’s Bloom Des Hauts Crets (Andrew Hoy), 31.7; 6, Japan’s Swiper JRA (Toshiyuki Tanaka), 32.3.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 4

Triple Olympic Gold Medalist Hoy Snatches Lead with Bloom after Cross Country

Andrew Hoy with Bloom Des Hauts Crets. (FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi)

Australia’s triple Olympic team gold medalist Andrew Hoy galloped his way into the top spot with Bloom Des Hauts Crets after cross country, when rising heat and humidity provided a perfect environment to test the onsite cooling facilities for the equine and human athletes.

Sixth out onto Derek Di Grazia’s beautiful 20-fence course at Sea Forest overlooking the heart of Tokyo Bay, the seven-time Olympian and the eight-year-old Selle Français mare flew across the finish line with seven seconds to spare to take the early lead on a score of 27.7.

Hoy was thrilled to move to the top of the leaderboard. “It’s a very nice position to be in and if I win, I’m very happy for this year, but it’s next year I want to win! My horse galloped very well and her heart rate and temperature were very good when I arrived. The cooling facilities here at the venue were absolutely excellent. As an Olympic venue it’s ready one year before because the ground is excellent and the construction of the cross-country fences is very good, but next year will be very different fences.”

As the Australian combination were lying second after the Dressage phase, only overnight leaders Yoshiaki Oiwa and Bart L JRA could challenge them, but the home side star was 14 seconds down on the clock to collect 5.6 time faults and drop to fourth.

German superstar Michael Jung, another triple Olympic gold medalist and heading for Tokyo 2020 as the defending champion, was second last out on the track with the seven-year-old Fischerwild Wave. They too came home through the finish flags clear over the fences and on the clock to move up to second on 28.0.

“It was hot but it wasn’t really a big problem,” Michael Jung said afterwards. “The grooms and everyone took really good care of the horses and everyone tried to make the job for the horses and the riders as easy as possible. This is really fantastic here.”

Another pair for the host nation, Ryuzo Kitajima and Vick Du Gisors, were almost bang on the optimum time of five minutes 30 seconds to move up from fourth after the Dressage to third ahead of Oiwa and Bart, with compatriot Kazuma Tomoto fractionally behind in fifth on Tacoma d’Horset. Britain’s Georgie Spence and Halltown Harley round out the top six and, amazingly, there’s less than a fence between them and the leaders.

Seven of the 16 starters remain on their Dressage marks, while eight others collected just time faults. The only combination to pick up jumping penalties were cross country pathfinders Kazuya Otomo and Condorcet, who had a runout at the second element of the angled rails double at fence 10 to drop one place to 16th.

“All the horses recovered really well after the cross country, despite the challenging conditions, and they are all now back home in their air-conditioned stables at Baji Koen resting ready for tomorrow’s Jumping,” FEI Veterinary Director Goran Akerström said.

Ready Steady Tokyo test event (placings after cross-country) – 1, Australia’s Bloom Des Hauts Crets (Andrew Hoy), 27.7 penalties; 2, Germany’s Fischerwild Wave (Michael Jung), 28.0; 3, Japan’s Vick Du Gisors JRA (Ryuzo Kitajima), 28.2; 4, Japan’s Bart L JRA (Yoshiaki Oiwa), 30.1; 5, Japan’s Tacoma d’Horset (Kazuma Tomoto), 30.4; 6, Great Britain’s Halltown Harley (Georgie Spence), 30.6.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 4

 

Home Side Hero Yoshiaki Oiwa Takes Early Lead at Ready Steady Tokyo Test Event

Yoshiaki Oiwa riding Bart L JRA. (FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi)

Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa is no stranger to success, having claimed double gold at last year’s Asian Games in Jakarta (INA), and the three-time Olympian has put down a strong marker for the home side by taking the early lead after the Dressage phase at the Ready Steady Tokyo test event.

Riding the talented Bart L JRA, previously ridden by Frenchman Matthieu Lemoine on the gold medal team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Oiwa earned top marks from all three judges to lead the field on a mark of 24.5. The 43-year-old has been based in Europe for almost 20 years, but his heart lies in Japan.

“I’m a home country rider and I’ve been based in Europe for the last 18, 19 years,” he said after his Dressage performance here at the Equestrian Park. “So many people are supporting and helping me, but they’ve never seen what I’m doing, so this is a very very good chance to show what I’m doing and what this sport is about. Hopefully we can do the best performance and all the Japanese people do their best and get medals.”

Among a star-studded cast, Australia’s triple Olympic team gold medalist Andrew Hoy is 3.2 penalties adrift in second with Bloom Des Hauts Crets, fractionally ahead of Germany’s double Olympic champion Michael Jung on Fischerwild Wave with 28.0.

The top five are all under 30 penalties, with Japan’s Ryuzo Kitajima and Vick Du Gisors JRA fourth on 28.2 and Germany’s Peter Thomsen with Horseware Nobleman fifth with 29.50.

Kuzuma Tomoto is another of the contingent flying the flag for Japan and he sits in sixth with Tacoma d’Horset on 30.4, a single point but three places ahead of his trainer, British legend William Fox-Pitt with Summer at Fernhill.

The Japanese athletes are increasingly a force to be reckoned with, finishing fourth and just out of the medals at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon (USA). Looking ahead to Tokyo 2020, Tomoto commented: “Our team is really tough and has got strong quickly. We’re aiming to get a medal; that’s why we have to improve more and more. We have lots of nice riders so we can do it for sure.”

Final horse into the arena, GHS Calvaruise ridden by Kazuya (JPN), has now been withdrawn after placing last of the 17 starters in Dressage on 40.8. The rest of the horses have been transported to the stables at Sea Forest where they will spend the night before cross country.

Derek Di Grazia’s 3,025 metre track incorporates 20 fences with 31 jumping efforts, but the American designer is giving nothing away about his track for the 2020 Games. Even so, the 20 National Olympic and Paralympic Committees that are onsite for the official observers programme are making the most of the opportunity to see the terrain at Sea Forest and test the facilities at both venues.

On Wednesday, action returns to the equally stunning new facilities at Baji Koen, site of the Olympic equestrian events at the 1964 Tokyo Games, for Wednesday’s final Jumping phase.

The Baji Koen refurbishment has been funded independently by the Japan Racing Association and will provide an extraordinary legacy for the residents of Tokyo, as will the park that will be created on the reclaimed land at Sea Forest, which also hosts rowing and canoe sprint next year.

Ready Steady Tokyo equestrian test event (placings after Dressage): 1, Japan’s Bart L JRA (Yoshiaki Oiwa), 24.5; 2, Australia’s Bloom Des Hauts Crets (Andrew Hoy), 27.7; 3, Germany’s Fischerwild Wave (Michael Jung), 28.0; 4, Japan’s Vick Du Gisors JRA (Ryuzo Kitajima), 28.2; 5, Germany’s Horseware Nobleman (Peter Thomsen), 29.50; 6, Japan’s Tacoma d’Horset (Kuzuma Tomoto), 30.4.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

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

FEI European Championships for Ponies to Begin Soon

Photo by Mariusz Chmieliński.

Strzegom, August 11: Starting from Wednesday, jumpers, eventers, and dressage riders will fight for medals in Strzegom.

153 riders aged from 12 to 16, representing 18 countries, along with their ponies will compete overall. Ponies are horses measuring up to 149 cm. These Championships will be a special event. Riders from three Olympic equestrian disciplines, dressage, eventing, and showjumping, will compete alongside each other at the same place and time.

The championships start on the 14th of August, at the hippodrome in Morawa near Strzegom, Lower Silesia Voivodeship. They will be preluded by a festive opening ceremony, with a presentation of all national teams.

Dressage riders are the first ones to go. The first part of their individual tests starts on Wednesday. The jumpers will begin their classes on Thursday, and eventers will present themselves during dressage on Thursday and Friday. Saturday is cross-country day for them, and showjumping will determine the winners on Sunday.

www.strzegom2019.pl
press@strzegom2019.pl

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