Hello everyone! Over the next week I’ll be posting daily from the Pan Am Games in Toronto, where Team USA will be doing its best to secure a team gold medal, and the only remaining team berth for the Americas for the 2016 Rio Olympic Dressage competition.
There will be as few as two nations even eligible for the Rio team spot in Toronto. The new FEI rules for the Pan Am Games and Olympic qualification require that at least one member on a team be competing in Toronto at the Grand Prix level.Laura Graves and Steffen Peters are joined by Canadians Megan Lane and Belinda Trussell in the big tour division, but it’s possible that the Americans and Canadians will be the only teams with at least one GP combination. Mexico’s Bernadette Pujals and Colombia’s Marco Bernal are both in Toronto with horses they have competed at GP, but both of these riders competed at the Central American Games last November at the small tour level. I won’t arrive in Toronto until early tomorrow morning, and the online information (link: http://results.toronto2015.org/IRS/en/equestrian/results-dressage-individual-h-00.htm) shows the list of teams and individuals, but no information about what level at which each combination will be entered.
Today the horses were presented for the inspection, and of the 46 that were presented, 45 were accepted – including all the US team horses as well as Rosamunde, Steffen Peters’ reserve mount. One Mexican team horse, Mariana Quintana’s Guapo, was held for re-inspection tomorrow, which is a training day.
Competition at the Caledon Equestrian Park will begin at 9 am Saturday (EDT), with the Prix St. Georges and Grand Prix tests both scheduled for that day. Team medals will be decided following Sunday’s Intermediate I and Grand Prix Special tests, and the individual medals will be handed out on Tuesday after the freestyles. I’m curious to see how this new Pan Am format plays out. This is the first Pan Am Games in history to have combined the small and big tour divisions. I’m predicting that there will be extensive review and some changes following this ‘live pilot’ in Toronto. Over the next few days I’ll provide more detail about how the scores are combined with the split level competitors on teams, and how the individual medals will be decided in this unusual format.
I expect we will see some milestone performances in the coming days, and possibly some new Pan Am record scores. I’ll be back here with a post following the first team leg on Saturday.