Team USA’s final training session for the 2019 Pan American Games wrapped up on Friday morning at Stable View in Aiken. After several days of training for all three phases, the team was feeling prepped and ready for the games in Lima, Peru.
Erik Duvander, the USEF Performance Director, said the team was grateful to be able to train at Stable View’s world-class facilities, especially with the use of the breezy covered arena on hot South Carolina days. “The horses have been really comfortable here,” he said, noting that “We are just ticking the boxes at this point — all the training really has been done.”
First thing Friday morning, Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg worked with Duvander on some ground pole exercises before moving to grid work. Boyd, feeling confident, said the team’s “real mission is to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. America has a wonderful team and we are competing against some strong countries.”
Will Faudree, a team reserve, schooled a show jumping course in Stable View’s large outdoor arena in preparation for New York’s Millbrook Horse Trials this weekend. “It has been fun to be part of the preparations, and I hope to be part of the Team again soon,” Will said.
Doug Payne, a local Aiken rider, said he enjoyed the “low-key” atmosphere of the week as riders fine-tuned their horses before the busy travel days. “The team itself is feeling confident and looking good,” he said. Each rider schooled their dressage test with James Burtwell in the covered arena before a final jog and vet check. Burtwell also assisted the team in Maryland before the mandatory training camp in Aiken.
Tamie Smith and Lynn Symansky both schooled show jumping and cross country on Thursday, and practiced their dressage on Friday. Smith said, “[Mai Baum] wasn’t really wanting to do dressage today, but he ended really nicely. I think we are in a really good place. Stable View is a great facility — it is so wonderful that they let us come here. You couldn’t ask for any better. The ground was perfect to school on, the show jumps were beautiful, and the footing is fantastic.”
All the riders and their grooms were able to spend some time together before the games to mesh as a team as they all were able to stay on site together in Stable View’s accommodations.
The horses left Aiken on Friday evening to drive through the night to Miami, where they departed for Peru. On Wednesday evening, Stable View hosted a Send-Off Reception to honor the team and allow the Aiken community to share in the excitement of the games.
Aiken Saddlery prepared gift bags for each of the riders, and Blanchard Equipment provided John Deere gators for the team to use while at Stable View.
Barry Olliff of Stable View said the training event was “special for Stable View, and special for Aiken.”
Best of luck to the U.S. Team in Peru!