Tag Archives: Pan American Games

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 www.PremierEquestrian.com.

For more information contact:
Heidi Zorn, Premier Equestrian

Double-Gold and Individual Silver for USA in Pan-American Games Dressage

(L to R) Laura Graves (USA) silver, Steffen Peters (USA) gold, and Chris von Martels (CAN) bronze. (FEI/StockImageServices.com)

Lausanne (SUI), 14 July 2015 – America’s Steffen Peters and Laura Graves today added individual gold and silver to the team title secured on Sunday at the Pan-American Games 2015 in Toronto, Canada where the host nation’s Chris von Martels scooped individual bronze this afternoon.

The result is a sensational fifth consecutive Pan-American team victory for the Americans, bringing their tally to eight team and nine individual Dressage titles in the 64-year history of the event, and earning a team berth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

And it was a back-to-back double of individual gold for Peters who, although he didn’t surpass the Pan-American Games record score of 80.132 which he set at Guadalajara in Mexico four years ago with Weltino’s Magic, came close when posting 80.075 for today’s individual win with Legolas.

Team competition

The Americans took the lead from the outset of the team competition and held on for gold, but the host Canadians chased them all the way to the line to claim silver, while Brazil just pipped Mexico for the bronze. Results were combined from two days of mixed Small and Big Tour competition that began with Prix St George and Grand Prix last Saturday (11 July), and only teams with Grand Prix combinations were eligible for the single Olympic berth on offer so only USA, Canada, Mexico and Brazil were in that race.

US stalwart, Steffen Peters, posted the biggest Grand Prix score of the day with Legolas at 77.240, and when added to Laura Graves’ 75.080 with Verdades, and Kimberly Herslow’s 75.184 in the Prix St George the first-day US tally was 230.504. Three scores from each team were taken into account, so Sabine Schut-Kery and Sanceo’s 71.790 in the Prix St George was the team discard.

However, the Canadians were hot on their heels when Brittany Fraser and All In scored 76.105 and Chris Von Martels and Zilverstar posted 75.026. Of the Canadian Big Tour pairs it was Belinda Trussell and Anton who scored highest with 74.949, Megan Lane and Caravella awarded 72.400 for the discard. And going into Sunday’s decider Canada trailed the USA by just 4.433 points while the three-member Mexican side of Jesus Palacios (Wizard Banamex), Jose Padilla (Donnersberg) and Bernadette Pujals (Heslegaards Rolex) lay only 0.203 points ahead of Brazil’s Joao Paulo Dos Santos (Veleiro do Top), Sarah Waddell (Donelly 3), Joao Victor Marcari Oliva (Xama dos Pinhais) and Leandro Aparecido da Silva (D Caprio).

Plenty of pressure

There was plenty of pressure as the action got underway on Sunday in the Intermediaire 1 and FEI Grand Prix Special, but the Americans stood firm, bolstered by personal-best scores from both Graves in the Special and Herslow in the Intermediaire 1, and backed up by Peters‘ 72.667 while Schut-Kery posted 73.533. Their final tally of 460.506 moved them just over 5.5 points ahead of the Canadians to secure the gold at the end of the day, while the Brazilians leap-frogged the Mexicans for the bronze.

US Chef d’Equipe, Robert Dover, said his team’s great result “showed that our Small Tour horses are beautifully trained and our Big Tour combinations showed why they are ranked seventh and eighth in the world right now. What could be better for a Chef d’Equipe than to bring a team and have them earn personal bests at a very important moment. Having earned qualification for the Olympic Games, it allows us to now focus and put our energy into preparing for Rio (2016 Olympic Games).”

Graves, whose meteoric rise to prominence only began in the lead-up to last summer’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy where she sensationally finished tenth individually with Verdades, was delighted with her personal-best 77.177 in the Grand Prix Special. “He was amazing out there, really on again today!” she said of her horse. “He loves Toronto!” Graves and Verdades and Peters and Legolas were key players in the US team that lined up fourth in Normandy behind the three European powerhouses of Germany, Great Britain and The Netherlands who earned the three Olympic berths on offer there.

Paid tribute

Steffen Peters paid tribute to the silver medallists. “The Canadians did a wonderful job. They rode extremely well and gave us quite the run – it wasn’t easy!” he said.

Canada’s Belinda Trussell, an Olympian and three-time competitor at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ who was lining out in her first Pan American Games said, after scoring 76.578 in the Grand Prix Special, “I think, for Canada, that this Games has pushed us to a new level. To be coming away (from the team event) with nothing below 70 per cent, and highlights of 76 per cent, has never been done. It’s really exciting for Canada. We are so pumped as a nation, and pumped to go forward to the next Games. We are international contenders – there is huge excitement!” she added.

Individual medals

And the excitement continued today when a total of 21 horse-and-rider combinations lined out to contest the individual medals. Of these, 17 performed Intermediaire 1, while the final four Big Tour partnerships performed the Freestyle.

With just six left to go, von Martels and Zilverstar rocketed to the top of the leaderboard with a percentage score of 79.500 for his Intermediaire test. Judge at M, Great Britain’s Stephen Clarke, awarded 81.500 and at judge at H, America’s Lilo Fore, awarded 80.750, and all five Ground Jury members put the Canadian temporarily into first place.

The 32-year-old rider from Ontario held on to the advantage until overtaken by Peters and Legolas who posted the first, and only, over-80 per cent score when third-last into the arena. Fore, Clarke and Ground Jury President Elizabeth McMullan chose this pair for the no. 1 spot this time around, setting the new target at 80.075. And when, last to go, 27-year-old Graves and Verdades collected 79.825 they scooped silver and pinned von Martels and Zilverstar back to bronze. It was an extremely close-fought affair, with only 0.575 separating the three medal-winners.

After Sunday’s Grand Prix Special, Peters admitted to having some issues in the execution of his test, but today he put all that behind him and came out once again with all guns blazing. “I’m still on cloud nine!” he said, shortly after the prizegiving.

A good job

“On Sunday Legolas did a good job but I didn’t do my best riding job, so I wanted to prove today that Legolas deserves to be one of top horses in the world. I gave it every bit of my strength and he produced a wonderful clean test. And on top of that he allowed me to be within a tenth of a second to the music so we had high artistic scores,” he explained.

“This season we have had a few ups and downs, so to finish so strong in the last test of the season – I can hardly describe how I feel right now!” he added. When asked about team-mate Laura Graves’ close silver-medal finish, Peters continued, “I knew before the competition today that it would be awfully close. I saw her doing a beautiful clean test, so the tension to last second today was quite something. I have to admit I got very emotional when Legolas was called out the winner!”

And the 50-year-old rider was quick to refer back to his US team-mates and the success they have achieved over the last few days. “Let’s not forget that every single rider, including the fourth horse, contributed to the team gold medal. There was a combination of drop scores, so everyone did their job, and it is a fantastic group of people – all good-hearted athletes. It’s quite something to win with wonderful friends you almost have to call family!” he said.

Facts and Figures:

Victory in the team competition has secured a qualifying spot for the USA at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This was another record-breaking performance from the Americans who already held the record for four consecutive team victories, and have now increased that to five.

16 nations were represented in Dressage at the 17th Pan-American Games while 10 countries fielded teams.

The Ground Jury consisted of: Hans Matthiesen DEN, Stephen Clarke GBR, Maribel Alonso MEX, Elizabeth McMullan CAN (President) and Lilo Fore USA.

A total of 21 horse-and-rider combinations competed for the individual medals.

The list of teams so far qualified in Dressage for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games now includes, Brazil (automatic qualification), Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands (placings at Alltech FEI World Equestiran Games™ 2014 in Normandy), Australia (best ranked team from Olympic Group F or G at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy), and USA (single qualifier from Pan-American Games 2015 in Toronto, Canada).

Countries can also qualify “composite” teams. For full details of Olympic DRESSAGE qualification opportunities, and list of teams, check out this link: http://fei.org/system/files/Dressage%20-%20Rio%202016%20-%20Qualification%20System_13July%202015.pdf.

The next major Olympic qualification opportunity is at the forthcoming FEI European Championships in Aachen, Germany, 11-23 August 2015, where 3 further places are on offer.

History: Argentina staged the very first Pan American Games from 25 February to 9 March 1951 in its capital, Buenos Aires. A total of 22 countries took part, with four – Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico – competing in the three equestrian events. Just three riders from Argentina and Chile lined out in the Dressage discipline, with Chile taking team gold as well as individual gold and bronze. Individual champion was Jose Larrain with Rappel. At this 17th Pan American Games 64 years later, Argentina finished fifth, behind Mexico, in the Dressage team event on a score of 201.016.

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

Peters and Graves Earn Individual Medals at Pan American Games

Individual Medalists at the Pan American Games (StockImageServices.com)

Caledon, Ont. – The United States Dressage Team bids a fond farewell to the Pan American Games as they depart the Caledon Equestrian Park with Team Gold medals, an Individual Gold medal for Steffen Peters and Legolas 92, an Individual Silver medal for Laura Graves and Verdades, and a 2016 Olympic Games berth in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The week was marked by team success, invaluable experience, and ambitious optimism about the future.

The final day of dressage competition saw 21 athlete-and-horse combinations performing their FEI Intermediaire I Freestyles for the Small Tour and FEI Grand Prix Freestyles for the Big Tour.

Decorated American dressage athlete Peters and Four Winds Farm’s Legolas 92 performed the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle with their usual skill, expression, and excellence, earning a huge score of 80.075%. Speaking to the highlights of the test, Peters said, “He kept the cadence from the passage and the piaffe felt huge, the passage in the half-pass felt just as big as the half-passes on the straight line, his changes were clean, and he did not make a mistake – that in itself is a huge highlight for Legolas.”

Peters and Legolas 92 have the distinction of earning both Team and Individual Gold medals at these games. In addition, Peters won the Team and Individual Gold medals at the 2011 Pan American Games on Weltino’s Magic. FEI World Equestrian Games and FEI World Cup veterans, Peters and Legolas 92 are beacons of U.S. dressage achievement.

“I had to work today; he was very relaxed, and I gave it all,” said Peters. “This is just like the Olympic Games; there is no difference. From this morning, I had that mindset – we have to do this; we have to bring it home. Legolas gave it his all; he was just as good [today] as he was in the Grand Prix on the first day [Saturday]. What an awesome feeling; I am so extremely proud of him. For him to finish the season like this, it is just fantastic.”

The final combination to appear in Individual competition was the consistently successful team of Graves and her own Verdades. Always competitive in the best of company, they performed with characteristic accuracy and animation to achieve a score of 79.825% and earn the Individual Silver medal. The pair has had a career of ascending success including a fourth place team finish at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and a fourth place individual finish at the 2015 FEI World Cup Finals.

“Today we went in and did the best we could. It’s for yourself, so even though I am not as high as I was on Sunday, I am so thrilled to have another American on the top of the podium and a Canadian who rode extremely well this morning in Bronze,” said Graves of her Silver medal finish. “The highlight for me this week was really our Team Gold – that is what we came here for. To finish with a Silver medal next to Steffen is amazing.”

Kimberly Herslow and Kiroli Enterprises LLC’s Rosmarin were the first U.S. combination to enter the arena. Having achieved personal best scores on Saturday and Sunday, the pair produced a solid, though less precise, performance and earned a score of 73.175%. Explains Herslow, “My horse ran out of gas today. I think we did a super warm-up, but a shorter one would have been better. He still tried for me; he got flustered after the first mistake [in the first pirouette] and it just compounded after that because he does not usually make mistakes.” Herslow was proud of her efforts on behalf of the U.S. team. “I am still ecstatic about our prior two days competing for the team, and bringing that Gold back to the U.S.”

Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover praised the efforts of his human and equine athletes and is excited about their prospects.

“I could not be more thrilled and proud of my riders and everybody that contributed – their horses are obviously incredible. I am very hopeful that the depth in our country will continue improving and will be prepared to contend for a medal in Rio [at the Olympic Games].”

Canada’s Chis Von Martels and Zilverstar earned the Individual Bronze medal with a score of 79.500%.

Complete Individual Results

The FEI Bulletin released Monday night explains the series of events that lead to Sabine Schut-Kery and Sanceo not being permitted to compete in Individual competition. It is a great disappointment that a logical decision was agreed to by all parties and that subsequent and unnecessary actions were then taken by two countries. The USEF would like to express gratitude to Schut-Kery and Alice Womble, owner of Sanceo, who have been very understanding and gracious during this difficult process; they have been outstanding members of the U.S. Team.

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

From the USEF Communications Department

Pan American Team Gold Clinches Olympic Berth for U.S. Dressage

Team Gold for U.S. Dressage Team (StockImageServices.com)

Caledon, Ont. – Excellent performances by all four members of the U.S. Pan American Dressage Team over two days at the 2015 Pan American Games resulted in a Team Gold medal win and direct qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The team, composed of Sabine Schut-Kery and Alice Womble’s Sanceo and Kimberly Herslow and Kiroli Enterprises LLC’s Rosmarin in the Small Tour, and Laura Graves and her own Verdades and Steffen Peters and Four Winds Farm’s Legolas 92 in the Big Tour, was focused and consistently excellent to end on an overall score of 460.506. Both Graves and Herslow marked personal best scores in the FEI Grand Prix Special and Intermediaire I tests, respectively.

“I am so pleased that the team came and had personal bests here,” said a very proud Chef d’Equipe, Robert Dover. “It showed that our Small Tour horses are beautifully trained and our Big Tour combinations showed why they are ranked seventh and eighth in the world right now. What could be better for a Chef d’Equipe than to bring a team and have them earn personal bests at a very important moment. Having earned qualification for the Olympic Games, it allows us to now focus and put our energy into preparing for Rio [de Janeiro].”

As the sun rose in Canada this morning, the U.S. Dressage Team sat in first place by a small margin over Canada. The athletes felt the pressure as they faced FEI Intermediaire I and Grand Prix Special tests against formidable international competitors. With excellent leadership from their Chef d’Equipe, each individual executed their tests with confidence and skill to achieve the Pan American Games Team Gold medal. As Peters said, “The Canadians did a wonderful job. They rode extremely well and gave us quite the run; it wasn’t easy.”

Canada took the Team Silver medal with a score of 454.938 and Brazil won Team Bronze on 414.895.

Graves and her KWPN gelding Verdades performed masterfully in the FEI Grand Prix Special test. The pair achieved a personal best score of 77.177%, impressing the judges with their energy and precision. Graves was effusive in her praise of her mount. “He was amazing out there, really on again today. He loves Toronto!”

Herslow and Rosmarin were second to go in the Small Tour for the U.S. Exuding confidence and poise, the pair bested yesterday’s ride with brilliant extension and expressive movement. With a score of 77.158%, which set a new personal best, they were rewarded for their efforts. Herslow credits her coaches and her team for the great performances. “I feel like I had the most expression I have ever had in that test. It was an incredible score for an incredible ride. I am so happy to do my personal best here and contribute this score to the team.”

Schut-Kery and Sanceo performed an excellent FEI Intermediaire I test this morning. The first of the U.S. athletes to ride down the center line, the pair improved on yesterday’s score in earning a 73.553%. The nine-year-old Hanoverian stallion continued to be focused and energetic as the duo ironed out some minor bobbles in yesterday’s ride to show an improved score. Their test today was highlighted by clean changes and precise pirouettes. “Our test felt really good,” said Schut-Kery. “We stepped up and improved from yesterday which was our goal. Going into [Tuesday’s] Freestyle, we will aim to continue to better our performance.”

Peters and his accomplished mount Legolas 92 faced some challenges in their performance in the FEI Grand Prix Special. Their score of 72.667% reflects several bobbles in their execution of the test. Keeping the perspective of a champion, Peters was positive and forward thinking. “We had a few mistakes out there, but he delivered yesterday and Tuesday is a new day.”

Individual competition takes place on Tuesday with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle and the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle beginning at 11:00am ET.

Complete Results

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

From the USEF Communications Department

Canadian Dressage Team Lying Second in Pan Am Games Competition

Chris von Martels riding Zilverstar. Photo © Cealy Tetley – www.tetleyphoto.com.

Caledon, Ontario – The Canadian Dressage Team comprised of Brittany Fraser of New Glasgow, NS, Megan Lane of Collingwood, ON, Belinda Trussell of Stouffville, ON, and Chris von Martels of Ridgetown, ON is currently sitting in second position following the first of two days of team competition at the TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games. Dressage competition is taking place July 11, 12, and 14 at the OLG Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in Caledon, ON.

The USA currently sits in first place with a score of 230.504 points, followed closely by Canada in second position with 226.071 points. With 206.703 points, Mexico has edged ahead of Brazil, who scored 206.500 for fourth position. A total of ten countries are competing, with the best three scores from each team counting towards the team total.

In his major games debut, von Martels, 32, was the first rider into the arena for Canada. Riding Zilverstar, an 11-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding sired by Rosseau, von Martels displayed a clean and expressive test to earn a score of 75.026% from the five-member judging panel.

“I’m ecstatic,” said von Martels following his performance. “I’m really, really happy. It could not have been better, especially for the first day of competition. We had our goal and our strategy to go in and ride a really clean test, and that’s exactly what we did.”

Of his mount, von Martels said, “His overall focus was fantastic. It’s a big atmosphere in there, very energetic and very uplifting. He is a real show horse, and he rises to the occasion. He was certainly in that form today. The crowd is extremely supportive, and that is, without a doubt, a big help.”

Fraser, 26, was next in for Canada riding All In, a ten-year-old liver chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding (Tango x Damiro) owned by the athlete and Marc-Andre Beaulieu. Fraser held nothing back, producing a powerful test highlighted by incredible trot work, to put her name at the top of the leaderboard with a score of 76.105%. By day’s end, the Nova Scotia native was in second place in the individual rankings.

Brittany Fraser is currently ranked second individually with All In.
Brittany Fraser is currently ranked second individually with All In.

“My horse was amazing!” said Fraser, who, like von Martels, is also making her major games debut. In praise of All In, Fraser continued, “He’s never experienced a crowd or atmosphere like that. He’s ten years old. He doesn’t have that much experience in an atmosphere like this. He’s the horse of a lifetime.”

While von Martels and Fraser rode the Prix St. Georges test, Lane and Trussell both contested the Grand Prix, which meant that a ‘bonus’ of 1.5 points was added to the team total for each athlete. Only teams comprised of Grand Prix competitors are eligible for 2016 Rio Olympic qualification, putting Argentina, Canada, Mexico and the USA in the running for the one and only Olympic qualifying spot available at the Pan American Games. As the host nation, Brazil is pre-qualified.

In the Grand Prix, Lane, 24, rode Caravella, a 14-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood mare (Contango x Riverman) owned by the athlete and her mother, Cathy Lane. The pair produced a precise test to earn a score of 70.900%.

“I was really happy with my performance and with my horse,” said Lane of the mount she also rode at last year’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. “It is unbelievable to have my own horse, my junior horse, come all this way. We’ve essentially grown up together. I’m at a loss for words!”

Lane is based at Deer Ridge Equestrian in Loretto, ON, which is a ten minute drive from the OLG Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park. Deer Ridge Equestrian also acted as the host for the Canadian Dressage Team Pan Am training camp.

“If I didn’t know I was in Palgrave, I wouldn’t believe it,” said Lane. “The work that they have put in here is mind-blowing! It’s really fantastic, a great venue to ride at, and the horses seem really happy here. That makes for a beautiful Pan Am experience. I’m thrilled to be here.”

Riding in the anchor position was Canadian Olympian Belinda Trussell, who is also a three-time World Equestrian Games competitor. Her international experience paid off, earning a score of 73.440% riding Anton, a 15-year-old dark bay Sachsen-Anhaltiner gelding (Antaeus x Melit) owned by Robyn Eames and Marc Trussell.

When Trussell’s score was posted, it became apparent that the race for team gold is far from over.

“We came here to leave a mark and we did that,” said Trussell, who is competing in her first Pan American Games. “We came for gold and we’re still going to strive for it. Tomorrow is another day out there. I know it’s going to be hard, but one of our goals today was to achieve personal bests and a lot of us did that. I am so proud of my team!”

Team competition continues on Sunday, July 12, with both team medals and the all-important Olympic qualification hanging in the balance. Fraser and von Martels will perform the Intermediaire I test, while Lane and Trussell will contest the Grand Prix Special.

On Tuesday, July 14, individual medals will be decided by the popular freestyle to music competition. Currently, Steffen Peters of the United States leads the way with a score of 77.240% earned riding Legolas 92 with Canada’s own Fraser hot on his heels with 76.105%. American Kimberly Herslow sits third with a score of 75.184% riding Rosmarin.

Laura Graves of the United States is fourth with Verdades on 75.080% while von Martels is currently ranked fifth, followed by Trussell in sixth. Lane currently holds the eighth position, putting all four Canadian Dressage Team members in the top eight individually.

For more information on equestrian events at the Pan American Games, please visit www.toronto2015.org.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439

US Pan American Dressage Team Has Sights Set On Olympic Qualification

Laura Graves and Verdades (StockImageServices.com)

Caledon, Ont. – The 2015 Pan American Games equestrian competition will begin tomorrow with dressage. New for the 2015 Pan American Games, dressage teams may be comprised of both Small Tour and Big Tour combinations. The following nations have entered at least one Grand Prix combination in team competition and are thus eligible to compete for 2016 Olympic qualification: Argentina, Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The remaining six teams have entered Small Tour combinations only, but are still eligible to compete for team medals. Competition gets underway tomorrow at the Caledon Equestrian Park with the first day of team competition. Small Tour combinations will contest the FEI Prix St. Georges test, while Big Tour competitors will perform the FEI Grand Prix test. All United States horses passed inspection yesterday. There were two draws, one for each tour, and the U.S. has drawn fifth in the order for the Small Tour and fourth in the order for the Big Tour. The U.S. will ride in the following order with Small Tour combinations competing first, followed by Big Tour:

  1. Sabine Schut-Kery and Sanceo (11:34 a.m. ET)
  2. Kimberly Herslow and Rosmarin (2:39 p.m. ET)
  3. Laura Graves and Verdades (4:27 p.m. ET)
  4. Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (5:12 p.m. ET)

The stakes are high as the team of Laura Graves, Steffen Peters, Kimberly Herslow, and Sabine Schut-Kery aim to qualify the U.S. for the 2016 Olympic Games. Direct qualification will be secured by earning the Pan American Games Team Gold medal.

“All our U.S. combinations had a wonderful warm-up in the main arena today and I feel extremely confident in their ability to excel in each phase of competition,” said U.S. Chef d’Equipe/Technical Advisor Robert Dover. “We are focused on achieving Olympic qualification and realistically this means we need to win Team Gold. We are ready for this challenge.”

Graves, of Plymouth, Fla., will ride down center line on her own Verdades, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding. Graves and Verdades made their international debut last year and were on the U.S. Team at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, where they earned fifth place in the Grand Prix Freestyle and helped the U.S. Team to a fourth-place finish. In 2015, Graves and Verdades had another spectacular finish on the world stage, taking fourth place individually at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Las Vegas.

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (StockImageServices.com)
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (StockImageServices.com)

Peters, of San Diego, Calif., will partner with Four Winds Farm’s 13-year-old Westphalian gelding Legolas 92. Peters is one of the most successful dressage athletes ever to represent the U.S., having participated in three Olympic Games, three FEI World Equestrian Games, and four FEI World Cup Dressage Finals. At the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, Peters rode Weltino’s Magic to Team and Individual Gold medals. Upon the retirement of his famed mount Ravel, Peters has continued his winning ways with Legolas 92. In 2014, the pair clinched their third consecutive The Dutta Corp./USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship title. In 2015, they performed beautifully at the Aachen CDI5* Grand Prix to finish in third place.

Herslow, of Stockton, N.J., will ride Kiroli Enterprises LLC’s Rosmarin, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding. Competing in the Small Tour classes, the duo began the 2015 season in top form as they helped the U.S. Team to victory in the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup in Wellington, Fla. Competing in Europe for the first time this summer, Herslow piloted Rosmarin to wins in the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I at CDI4* Achleiten and CDI1* München-Riem.

Also successful in Small Tour classes and competing as a member of the U.S. Pan American Dressage Team is Schut-Kery, of Thousand Oaks, Calif. Schut-Kery will pilot Alice Womble’s Sanceo, a nine-year-old Hanoverian stallion. Schut-Kery has competed Sanceo since his five-year-old year, forging a long and successful partnership. This year, the pair has had tremendous success on both U.S. coasts with wins in California and Florida. Extending their efforts to Europe, they were third in the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I at CDI4* Achleiten and second and third, respectively, in the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I at CDI1* München-Riem.

Poised and focused, the U.S. Pan American Dressage Team will be a formidable competitor at the 2015 Pan American Games.

Pan American Games 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

Minikus Commands Canadian Podiums at Spruce Meadows as Pan Am Games Approach

Todd Minikus was third with Two Swan Farm’s Babalou 41 in the $400,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup on July 4th at Spruce Meadows. (Photo courtesy of Spruce Meadows Media)

Calgary, AB, Canada (July 7, 2015) – 2015 U.S. Pan American Games Show Jumping Team Traveling Reserve Todd Minikus continues to occupy the leader board before the 2015 Games in Toronto, delivering two trips to Spruce Meadows podiums this past week. At Spruce Meadows’ ‘North American’ CSI 5*, Minikus took home reserve in the $85,000 Enbridge Cup 1.50m on July 5th with Quality Group’s Quality Girl, and third with Two Swan Farm’s Babalou 41 in the $400,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup.

Less than a week before, the 2007 U.S. Pan American Games Team Gold Medalist had the victory lap against a field of 77, riding Plum Creek Hollow Farm’s Con Capilot to first-place in the $34,000 WestJet Cup of the ‘Canada One’ Tournament FEI series at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

In the $85,000 Enbridge Cup, Minikus and twelve-year-old Oldenburg (Quidams Ruben x Dobrock) mare Quality Girl kept the heat on fellow American rider and two-time Olympic Gold medalist, McClain Ward, on HH Carlos Z, staying within less than a second of Ward’s 40.50-second winning effort and delivering the second-fastest (41.26 seconds) clean ride over Santiago Verala’s 1.50m course.

Minikus also faced two-time U.S. Olympic Gold medalist and three-time Queen’s Cup champion Beezie Madden on July 4 in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup. Minikus finished third on ten-year-old Oldenburg mare Babalou 41, after Madden retired Cortes C and ceded to the 39.52-second effort by Ward and HH Azur in the jump-off.

Minikus was thrilled with Babalou 41 and her performance, saying “I have been riding her since she came to the states as an extremely green five/six-year-old in the schooling jumpers and on, so it is very rewarding for me to get to this stage with her. I am very proud of her and very thankful to Two Swans Farm for their support.”

The Florida-based rider, with over 75 grand prix titles, has been amply successful in acclimating his Pan American Games Traveling Reserve partner, Babalou 41, to Canadian show soil leading up to Toronto. Earlier in June at Spruce Meadows, the pair were second in the $210,000 CP Grand Prix during the ‘Continental’ CSI 5* Tournament, and fourth in the $34,000 Duncan Ross Cup. The pair had a spectacular start to their season in March at Wellington, Florida, with double clears to anchor a U.S. squad to victory in the $100,000 Nations Cup and first-place in the $150,000 Winter Equestrian Festival 8 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix.

When not proving his and his horses’ talent in the show ring, Todd Minikus offers sales and training services just minutes from Wellington, Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) show grounds. Follow Team Minikus on Facebook or click www.toddminikus.com to ensure you don’t miss a minute of Minikus or the news that keeps the world jumping.

Contact: Amanda Minikus

Dressage Gets Equestrian Events Underway at 2015 Pan-Americans

American riders claimed team gold and all the individual medals in Dressage at the 2011 Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Pictured at the individual medal prize-giving (L to R) Heather Blitz (silver), Steffen Peters (gold) and Marisa Festerling (bronze). (FEI/Stockimageservices.com)

Lausanne (SUI), 6 July 2015 – With definite entries now confirmed, a total of 44 horse-and-rider combinations from 16 nations will line out in Dressage when the equestrian action gets underway at the Pan-American Games 2015 in OLG Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in Toronto, Canada next Saturday, 11 July.

The Pan-American Games are the world’s largest multi-sport event apart from the summer Olympic Games, and take place on a four-year cycle leading up to each summer Olympics. The Pan-Ams provide Olympic qualification opportunities for athletes in FEI geographical regions D and E – North America and Central/South America.

Approximately 6,135 athletes from 41 nations will compete in 36 sports at this 17th edition of the event which runs from 10 to 26 July. And a record 45% of competitors are expected to be female, the most ever for any multi-sport event. The Games will also be the largest multi-sport event ever held in Canada, with double the number of athletes that competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The equestrian programme also includes Jumping and Eventing. The deadline for definite entries for these two disciplines is Monday 13 July.

Single qualifying spot

A total of 10 nations – Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, USA and Venezuela – will line out in the Dressage Team competition, but only four will be eligible for the single qualifying spot on offer for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. With teams made up of a combination of Big Tour and Small Tour pairs, only Argentina, Canada, Mexico and the USA can make the cut directly, as they are armed with the required Grand Prix-level partnerships.

However, apart from the single team spot up for grabs, countries can also qualify if three strong individual performances provide them with the option of creating a “composite” team.

The American record at the Pan-Americans has long been outstanding, and at the last edition staged in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011 they returned a record-breaking fourth consecutive team victory and filled all three steps of the individual Dressage medal podium as well.

Cruised confidently

They cruised confidently into pole position in the team event ahead of the silver medallists from Canada, while Colombia claimed the bronze. And Steffen Peters set a new Pan-American Games record when posting a mark of 80.132 with Weltino’s Magic in the team competition before claiming individual gold ahead of Heather Blitz with Paragon in silver and Marisa Festerling and Big Tyme in bronze. It was a thoroughly convincing performance at all levels, and anchorman Peters was the linchpin of the US side.

He will fill that role once again this time around, partnering Legolas, the horse that gave the home fans so much to cheer about when the pair finished third in the Grand Prix at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015 Final in Las Vegas, USA in April.

Ones to beat

The 2011 result brought the US tally to seven team and eight individual Dressage Pan-American titles, and there is little doubt that they are the ones to beat. Peters will be joined by Laura Graves (Verdades), Kimberly Herslow (Rosmarin) and Sabine Schut-Kery (Sanceo) in the bid to further improve the already-impressive US strike-rate.

Canada sends out Brittany Fraser (All In), Megan Lane (Caravella), Beldina Trussell (Anton) and Chris Von Martels (Zilverstar), while Argentina will be represented by Cesar Lopardo Grana (Tyara), Micaela Mabragana (Granada), Maria Florencia Manfredi (Bandurria Kacero) and Maria Juliana Ugalde (Caquel Cautivo). The Mexican side consists of Jose Luis Padilla Moreno (Donnersberg), Jesus Enrique Palacios (Wizard Banamex), Bernadette Pujals (Heslegaards Rolex) and Mariana Quintana Rivero (Guapo).

Meanwhile, the Brazilian team includes Joao Victor Marcari Oliva whose mother, Hortencia Marcari, is a sporting icon in her home country and Vice-President of the Brazilian Olympic Athletes Commission. The Basketball legend was a member of Brazil’s winning team at the 1994 FIBA World Championship before going on to clinch Olympic silver two years later in Atlanta, USA, so her son is following in a strong sporting tradition.

Taking to the stage

Individuals from Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Puerto Rico and Uruguay will also be taking to the stage as Dressage gets the 2015 equestrian events underway at 09.00 local time next Saturday morning.

“We are thrilled with the development of Dressage in the Americas,” FEI Director Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage Trond Asmyr said. “For the first time at the Pan-American Games some of the riders will compete at the same level as in the Olympic Games. This also makes the qualifications for the Olympics more in line with the rest of the world.”

Find out more about the Pan-American Games 2015 here and check out the programme of events here, while results will be available here.

The list of definite entries for Dressage can be found here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

At Toronto:

Jean Llewellyn
Press Officer

All Four Riders on Canada’s Pan Am Dressage Team Are C-DAAP Recipients

Belinda Trussell with Anton (left) and Megan Lane with Caravella (right) (Left photo –  CLiXPhoto.com; Right photo – Rob Madronich)

Toronto, Canada (June 23, 2015) — All four members of Canada’s recently announced dressage team for the 2015 Pan American Games have something else in common that they can boast about: they are former recipients of the Canadian Dressage Athlete Assistance Program (C-DAAP). Team members Brittany Fraser, Megan Lane, Belinda Trussell and Chris Von Martels all benefited from the funding that C-DAAP provides for the support and advancement of Canada’s high-performance dressage athletes in their pursuit of excellence.

The non-profit organization offers 100 percent of its net proceeds from fund-raising events to the riders to offset the cost of training and competing for high performance to compete against the world’s best. In fact, more than $130,000 has been awarded to seven riders since 2012 to help them achieve their goals with another $80,000 slated for distribution this summer.

“I am thrilled to see all four C-DAAP recipients represent Canada at the Pan Am Games,” said C-DAAP’s founder, Deborah Miculinic. “It shows how important it is to provide our riders with the necessary programs and funding so they can compete at the very top of their sport. Congratulations to each of these riders on achieving such a remarkable accomplishment. You can bet they will make Canada proud and we will be certainly cheering them on!”

Brittany Fraser with All In (left) and Chris Von Martels with Zilverstar (right) (Left photo courtesy of Horse Junkies Unlimited; Right photo courtesy of Jessica Mendoza)
Brittany Fraser with All In (left) and Chris Von Martels with Zilverstar (right) (Left photo – Horse Junkies Unlimited; Right photo – Jessica Mendoza)

Miculinic added, “C-DAAP depends on the generous support of organizations like Omega Alpha Pharmaceuticals, Reser’s Fine Foods and many others for financial support and product donation for our fundraisers. Without these generous sponsors, we would not be able to support the riders to the extent that we do.”

The funding criteria for 2015/2016 have been established with guidelines available at www.cdaap.ca. The deadline for applications is July 31 and recipients will be announced on August 17.

For more information about C-DAAP, visit www.cdaap.ca. Check out C-DAAP’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CanadianDressageAAP.

Contact: Deborah Kinzinger

USEF Names Ranked Alternates for the 2015 U.S. Pan American Eventing Team

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has named the ranked alternates for the U.S. Pan American Eventing Team for the 2015 Pan American Games.

The alternate athlete-and-horse combinations have been ranked in the following order (pending the approval of the Ad Hoc Selection Group):

Jennie Brannigan (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Nina Gardner’s Cambalda, a 2002 Thoroughbred Cross gelding

Lauren Kieffer (Ocala, Fla.) and Jacqueline Mars’ Vermiculus, a 2007 Anglo-Arabian gelding

Matt Brown (Petaluma, Calif.) and Blossom Creek Foundation’s BCF Belicoso, a 2006 Irish Sport Horse gelding

Will Faudree (Southern Pines, N.C.) and Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables’ Pfun, a 2007 Irish Sport Horse gelding

Tamra Smith (Murrieta, Calif.) and Eric Markell, Alexandra and Ellen Ahearn’s Mai Baum, a 2006 German Sport Horse gelding

Michael Pollard (Dalton, Ga.) and Carl, Nicolas and Stanislas Bouckaert’s Cyrano Z, a 2001 Zangersheide gelding

As the first ranked alternate, Brannigan and Cambalda will travel to Toronto with the U.S. Pan American Eventing Team as the Traveling Reserve.

The U.S. Pan American Eventing Team includes: Phillip Dutton with Fernhill Cubalawn or Fernhill Fugitive, Lauren Kieffer with Meadowbrook’s Scarlett, Marilyn Little with RF Scandalous, and Boyd Martin with Pancho Villa.

From the USEF Communications Department