All U.S. and Canadian horses were accepted this afternoon in the first horse inspection for the 2015 Pan American Games here at the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in Palgrave, Ontario. Three horses in all were sent to the holding box, with one not accepted upon re-inspection, which will send 44 combinations on to dressage tomorrow.
Team USA jogged last of the 13 nations participating in the competition. All the U.S. horses looked fresh, feisty and ready to shore up a ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which we can do by besting all of the other unqualified teams. Just Canada and Brazil are qualified for Rio of all the teams competing this weekend.
Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive, Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook’s Scarlett, Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa, and traveling reserves Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda jogged in that order, sporting team jackets with white pants for the ladies and khakis for the guys.
It was a nail-biter for Team Canada when Colleen Loach and Qorry Blue D’Argouges were sent to the holding box as the first combination down the jog strip for the host country. The next three team members — Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti, Waylon Roberts and Bill Owen, and Kathryn Robinson and Let It Bee — all passed, then traveling reserves Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High passed.
Then Qorry Blue D’Argouges was accepted upon re-inspection, with the entire Canadian contingent breathing a huge sigh of relief. Canada already has a ticket to Rio, but they’re still on a mission to take team gold this weekend. Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti will also look to defend their individual gold medal.
The Canadian ladies definitely stole the show on the jog strip in classy red dresses and white blazers. Waylon Roberts, who flashed a huge smile to the photographers when he came by with Bill Owen, also got into the team spirit in red slacks. Most of the teams opted for a more conservative look at the first horse inspection, so it was great to see Team Canada spice things up.
In addition to Qorry Blue D’Argouges, Mauricio Bermudez’s mount Pepper Shot and Rodrigo Abella Lemme’s mount SVR Arbitro were also sent to the holding box. SVR Arbitro passed upon re-inspection, which keeps Uruguay in the team competition with three horses. Pepper Shot, the reserve horse for the Colombian team, was not accepted, but Colombia will still field a full team after all four of their team horses passed.
Canada wins EN’s Best Dressed Team Award, and Lauren Billys definitely wins EN’s Best Dressed Award. As the sole rider representing Puerto Rico, she rocked a stunning blue dress, chunky white necklace and coordinating belt down the jog strip with Castle Larchfield Purdy, who looked equally fantastic thanks to the handiwork of super groom Marta Tabatabai.
It’s exciting to have so many countries represented here at the Pan American Games, where 13 nations will compete in the eventing competition. Keep checking back for more photos from the first horse inspection, which I’ll keep uploading this afternoon. If you missed EN’s cross country course preview, click here to see each fence on Wayne Copping’s track. Stay tuned for much more.