Team USA is enjoying two spots in the top three at the halfway point of dressage here at the 2015 Pan American Games in Palgrave, Ontario, but Brazil is leading the way after Carlos Paro and Calcourt Landline scored 45.6 as the fifth combination out on this chilly, rainy day.
The Brazilian team is coming in hot to these Games with Sir Mark Todd at the helm as coach and strong group of experienced horses representing the country. Calcourt Landline, a 9-year-old Anglo-European gelding owned by Fiona Edwards, finished 11th at the Saumur CCI3* earlier this spring and delivered a lovely test today with Carlos in the irons.
That score of 45.6 gives them a bit of breathing room over Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive and Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook’s Scarlett, who both scored 48.4 to sit in equal second place currently and give the U.S. the lead in the team standings.
Phillip was the first out for Team USA this morning, and the ground jury of Wayne Quarles at H, Christian Landolt at C, and Annabel Scrimgeour at B disagreed quite a bit on his score: 71.25% at H, 67.29% at C and 64.58% at B. But Phillip said after the test that he thought “Jack,” a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Annie Jones and Tom Tierney, went well.
“Certainly one judge was a little hard on him, I think, but I was really pleased with how he went,” Phillip said. “There’s a little bit of atmosphere in there. He was obedient and couldn’t have done much better.”
Lauren said she was surprised when “Scarlett,” an 8-year-old Thoroughbred/Holsteiner mare bred and owned by Marie Le Menestrel, snuck in a lead change in the counter canter serpentine to the right — an uncharacteristic bobble for them.
“I was thrilled with her,” Lauren said. “She’s a young horse, and she really handled the atmosphere well. I was very caught off guard by the swap in the counter canter. I actually thought she would score a little better. I thought she felt really good in her trot work, but everyone is getting scored by the same people today.”
Colleen Loach and Qorry Blue d’Argouges are sitting in fourth place on a score of 51.8 after making their championship debut, and Colleen said after the test that she was very pleased with the 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding owned by Peter Barry.
“I was really happy with him. I don’t think he could have done much better for where we are now and my nerves,” Colleen said. “It’s my first big team experience. He was super and handled the atmosphere really well.”
The crowd gave a huge cheer for their Canadian rider at the the conclusion of the test. What does it feel like to have all your friends and family in attendance to support you at the biggest competition of your career? “It’s hard to explain,” Colleen said. “It’s a really nice feeling. I feel very proud to be a Canadian and representing Canada.”
Jose Luis Ortelli Jr. and Jos Cassius round out the top five for Argentina on a score of 54.3. Brazil has another rider in the top 10 in Henrique Plambon, who scored 55.4 with Land Quenotte to sit in sixth place. Lauren Billys and Castle Larchfield Purdy scored 56.3 to sit in seventh as the sole representatives of Puerto Rico.
Waylon Roberts and Bill Owen were the first combination out for Canada this morning, and tension unfortunately crept in during the performance for a score of 65.1. It’s not an easy atmosphere out there, with wind blowing, rain falling and lots of buzz from the spectators sitting in the grandstands.
Just three riders have cracked the 40s so far, and I’m ready to see some extra fancy prancing this afternoon. Click here to follow along with EN’s live updates, here to see the live scores and here to follow @eventingnation on Twitter, where I’m tweeting during the tests for the American and Canadian riders. Go Eventing.