USA started off strong today at the 2019 Pan American Games with the team in gold medal position and all four riders sitting in the top ten individually after dressage in Lima, Peru.
The United States sits on a result of 76.4 after the first phase, followed by Canada with 81.3 points in second and Brazil taking up third on 85.9.
Tamie Smith leads the pack individually in her first championship appearance aboard the striking Mai Baum, a 13-year-old German Sport Horse (Loredano x Ramira, by Rike) owned by Alexandra Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell. Tamie and “Lexus” proudly earned a score of 22.8.
“I feel like I’m on one of the best horses,” Tamie said to the USEA. “Towards the end when I was almost done–that was my favorite part! When I came around to canter and I was getting ready to trot I was like, ‘Oh, that was a great test.’ So I started smiling then.”
Eventing National Champions Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg, Christine Turner’s 12-year-old Trakehner gelding, are second individually on a 25.6.
“In every test you might wish you had one movement this and one movement that, but I’m really happy with it overall, Boyd said.
A team veteran, Boyd still recognizes the intensity of riding on a championship stage: “My favorite part was finishing because it’s very nerve wracking in there. You want to get every movement done. We’ve been thinking about that test for weeks and weeks and practicing every movement over and over again. I think it was good–could’ve been better, could’ve been worse.”
Brazil’s Marcelo Tosi earned third place with a score of 26 aboard Starbucks, an 8-year-old Warmblood (Showmaker x Smash Hit, by Sandro Hit) owned by Marcelo and Anna Louise Ross.
Canadians take the next three spots on the leaderboard with Colleen Loach, Jessica Phoenix and Karl Slezak sitting fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
Colleen piloted her own and Amanda Bernhard’s FE Golden Eye, on of the youngest horses in the field at 7-years-old, to a score of 26.2.
Canadian team anchor Jessica Phoenix and her longtime partner Pavarotti, a 17-year-old Westfalian (Pavarotti Van De Helle x Fedelia, by Foxiland xx), posted a 27.4.
“It’s always so much fun to compete for Canada on that horse. He’s such an experienced competitor and he didn’t let me down today. It was one of his best tests ever,” Jessica told Susan Stafford-Pooley of Horse Canada. “Whenever you enter an arena like that and you go around those white boards it’s just such an emotional experience – you’re so proud to be there and you know how much hard work you’ve put into it. To be there on a horse that you have so much history with is just awesome.”
Karl Slezak was the second ride of the day aboard Fernhill Wishes. He and the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Chacoa x KEC Galway Bay, by Gildawn Diamond), who is owned by Karl and Kirk Hoppner, rode to a career personal best score of 27.7.
Doug Payne and Starr Witness, an 8-year-old Dutch mare (Chello II x Carmen, by Veneur) sit seventh on a score of 28. Owned by Doug, Laurie McRee and Catherine Winter the chestnut mare rose to the challenge of her first team appearance.
“She’s one hell of an athlete and really spectacular,” he said. “There were a couple of moments that she started to get a bit distracted or wanted to look, but I was really, really happy and proud of her. I would say it was a big win for her, a big step in the right direction. There’s a lot more to do for sure tomorrow but I can’t wait.”
Carlos Parro and Helena Ashworth’s Quaikin Qurious are eighth riding for Brazil on a score of 28.1.
U.S. pathfinder Lynn Symansky is ninth with RF Cool Play. “Coolio,” an 11-year-old German Sport Horse (Condors Champion x Roxana, by Radscha) owned by the Donner Syndicate, felt the atmosphere in the arena. The judges disagreed a bit on the performance, with Delano Bastos De Miranda (BRA) and Jo Young (CAN) scoring the pair differently by over six points, but he still earned a respectable 29.2.
“We did what we could this morning, he came out a little more holding, but he’s never naughty – he tries so hard, almost to a fault sometimes when he gets in there and holds his breath,” she said. “I could feel how nervous he was in there, and he still stays listening to me, that’s what’s so important about these partnerships, getting in there and feeling how much you can push and where you maybe have to sacrifice a few points for the overall picture.”
Rounding out our top ten is Chile’s Carlos Lobos Muñoz. He and Ranco, who is owned by the Chilean Army, earned a 31.
Canada’s final team pair, Dana Cooke and FE Mississippi, sit 13th on a score of 32.8.
Team results after dressage:
- United States (76.4)
- Canada (81.3)
- Brazil (85.9)
- Mexico (105.8)
- Chile (111.1)
- Argentina (117.1)
- Guatemala (117.1)
- Uruguay (125.5)
- Colombia (127.2)
- Peru (131.9)
Cross country starts tomorrow at 11 a.m. local/12 p.m. eastern. Check out our fence-by-fence preview here.