Let the Hunt for Shiny Objects Begin! U.S. & Canada All Clear at Pan Am Games First Horse Inspection

    This Chilean horse is all of us on the eve of the 2019 Pan American Games. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Did you know that humans are the only animals who have an obsession with shiny objects? There’s a popular misconception that magpies do as well, but science says that’s garbage, and barracuda are only attracted to sparkly things because they mistake them for delicious fish dinner. Humans, on the other hand, are drawn to all that glitters — from disco balls to diamond rings — like moths to a flame (to reference a bit of nature mythology that IS legit, as you know if you’ve ever seen those suicidal ding-dongs nosedive straight into a campfire.)

This week, no one is feeling the magnetic pull toward shiny objects stronger than the 10 eventing teams contesting the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. A gold or silver medal means 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualification, and since no countries from FEI Olympic Group D (North America) and E (Central and South America) qualified at the 2018 WEG Tryon, those medals are going to be a at a premium in Peru.

Who’ll be setting off the Lima airport metal detectors with their new gold jewelry come next Monday? We’ll find out soon enough, as eventing is officially underway.

I’m rooting for this one, honestly. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Forty-six horses, including five U.S. and four Canadian combinations, presented at the first horse inspection this morning at Equestrian Club Militar La Molina. Three horses were sent to the holding box: Jhonatan Fabian Rodriguez’s Caipirina from Colombia, Carlos Villarroel’s Quilano from Chile and Ricardo Jequier’s Barbecho from Chile. Caipirina and Quilano passed upon re-inspection and Barbecho was withdrawn; however, Chile presented five horses in total so will still have four horses competing. Mexican reserve rider Fernando Parroquin Delfin did not present Romana. All other horses passed.

Same team, different grey horse losing its damn mind. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Team USA jogged fifth of the 12 nations participating in the competition, with traveling reserves Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver leading off followed by Tamie Smith and Mai Baum, Lynn Symansky and RF Cool Play, Doug Payne and Starr Witness, and Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg.

Team USA:

“He’s just feeling the same as he does at home, which is pretty cool. He’s definitely been enjoying himself and feeling quite sassy. He had a jump today and felt brilliant.” — Liz Halliday-Sharp with Cooley Quicksilver. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

“When we arrived here and it’s winter, they’ve all been pretty fresh, and he’s extra very high-headed and feeling really great. But he’s really taking in all the sights and loving that they’ve thrown quite the party for him.” — Tamie Smith with Mai Baum. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

“He’s a very brave cross-country horse. He’s a huge galloper, which I think sometimes is hard on a track like this because you’re turning so much.” — Lynn Symansky with RF Cool Play. Shoulda brought Donner, Lynn! He’d fit right in at this jog. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

“I think she’s in a great place to put in a very competitive performance. The first minute or so cross-country she’s going to have an eyeful, but I think she’s absolutely confident.” — Doug Payne with Starr Witness. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

“He has a German pedigree but an American spirit.” — Boyd Martin with Tsetserleg. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Canada and Brazil already had their Rio Olympic qualifications in hand ahead of the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, but not so this go-round. They’ll be battling it for a slice of sparkle pie as well, and both are represented by strong squads.

Team Canada:

Karl Slezak and Fernhill Wishes. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Dana Cook and Mississippi. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

What a unique coat! Dana Cook and Mississippi. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Colleen Loach and FE Golden Eye. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Forty-two horses will compete on dressage day tomorrow, which begins at 10 a.m. We’ll be along later today with a cross country course preview so do check back. Until then, Go Eventing!

A few more photos from the indomitable Shannon Brinkman for you to Peru-se (har har — you miss Jenni already, don’t you):

If you have a thing for horses AND men in uniform, the Pan Am Games is the event for you. Team Mexico’s M. Guillermo De Camp and Quelite. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

“Can you not just act normal for one moment?” Team Chile’s Ricardo Aliro Jequier Durán and Barbecho. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

But the Best Dressed Award goes to … Equador individual competitor Carlos Alfred Narvaez and Que Loco. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

South American sweater game strong. Team Guatemala’s Stefanie Brand Leu and Ginifer Palo Blanco. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

By my count, every horse on Team Chile had a complete come-apart at some point during the jog. Team Chile’s Guillermo Garín Heyermann and Bipolar. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Smooch! These equine athletes with their part-time modeling careers owe it all to their hardworking grooms. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

These braids. Team Guatemala’s Carlos Gonzolo Sueiras Lemus and Valentina RN. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

One more, just for kicks! Team Argentina’s Ignacio Jose Zone and Remonta San Jorge. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

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