After scoring Team Gold Sunday afternoon, the U.S. Dressage riders went to task again, this time in the first half of the Individual Final. Riding the Intermediaire I test, all four U.S. riders kept the level of their Game high, and continued to thrive in the main arena at the Guadalajara Country Club. They swept the top three places, and head to the freestyle on Wednesday in Medal position.
Steffen Peters (San Diego, CA) topped the scoreboard again on Weltino’s Magic, this time scoring 78.079% in another valiant effort. Heather Blitz (Wellington, FL) is second on Paragon with a score of 77.184% and Marisa Festerling went one better than in the Team competition, finishing third on Big Tyme on a score of 74.316%. Cesar Parra (Whitehouse Station, NJ) rounded out the U.S. effort with a sixth place finish on Grandioso on a score of 72.000%.
Weltino’s Magic continues to rise to the occasion for Peters, despite one mistake early in the test, Peters was pleased with Jen and Bruce Hlavacek’s 9-year-old Westphalian gelding. Weltino’s Magic nearly broke to canter in the first trot extension across the diagonal.
The U.S. Dressage Team’s Gold medal never looked in doubt today at the 2011 Pan American Games. They started off confidently and with each ride, the margin improved. They stormed to victory and won their fourth consecutive Pan American Games Team Gold medal – a first in the sport of Dressage. Their combined average score of 74.421% left them well clear of the Canadians who won Silver with a combined average of 70.413%. Colombia put in a valiant late effort to surge into the top three with 69.632%.
Led by Olympic veteran Steffen Peters (San Diego, CA) on Weltino’s Magic – the only combination to score over 80% – the U.S. Team put on an exhibition. Peters’s score of 80.132% is a Pan American Games record. A strong anchor rider, Peters had the luxury today of a little less pressure due to the fact that the entire team put in top 10 performances.
“It was one of the best tests this horse has done,” said Peters. “I have to say a big thank you to my teammates because they gave me a very relaxed position to start in today. Over the past few years I have always had to carry a lot of weight on my shoulders as the very last rider but the team did an awesome job, every single horse, every single rider.”
Heather Blitz is back with a student this week to unravel the language of dressage. Horse & Hound’s Dressage Editor Alice Collins brings us up to date with British Dressage and we also hear about the equine relief efforts in Alabama. You can listen in right here.
Dressage Radio Episode 108 – Show Notes and Links:
We have a Special Christmas Quiz Show this week with Heather Blitz and Debbie McNally playing Mary Lauritsen and Brittany Lincoln. Tune in for this battle of knowledge and wits, all in good humor, and it’s not just about dressage.