2015 Pan Am Games, Toronto
The equestrian divisions of the 2015 Pan Am Games, hosted in Toronto, has come to a close. These games, held once every 4 years, and always the year before the Olympics, are instrumental in qualifying countries for the Olympic games who have not yet secured a berth.
The Pan American games hosted 42 countries from the Americas and featured a broad variety of sports, similar to the Summer Olympic Games. Some of the sporting events were Archery, Bowling, Boxing, Field Hockey, Biking, Gymnastics, Swimming, Tennis…just to name a few!
Within the Equestrian Disciplines the Pan Am Games hosted Dressage, Show Jumping and Eventing. For a full list of the participating sports visit the 2015 Pan Am Toronto website.
Dressage kicked off the equestrian competition on July 9th with the horse inspection and had riders competing in Prix St. George, Intermediate I, Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle tests at both the team and individual levels. Team members representing the US were as follows:
- Laura Graves aboard Verdades
- Kimberly Herslow aboard Rosmarin
- Steffen Peters aboard Legolas 92
- Sabine Schut-Kery aboard Sanceo
The US team was under extreme pressure to bring home the gold to secure a berth for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. With that thought in the back of all their minds, our team delivered, narrowly edging out the Canadian team by under 5 points to bring home the gold.
Dressage Daily was on site in Toronto and interviewed our Chef d’Equipe after the competition.
“I am so pleased that the team came and had personal bests here,” said a very proud Chef d’Equipe, Robert Dover. “It showed that our Small Tour horses are beautifully trained and our Big Tour combinations showed why they are ranked seventh and eighth in the world right now. What could be better for a Chef d’Equipe than to bring a team and have them earn personal bests at a very important moment. Having earned qualification for the Olympic Games, it allows us to now focus and put our energy into preparing for Rio [de Janerio].”
US Dressage Medal/Results
- Steffen Peters – Individual Gold
- Laura Graves – Individual Silver
- US Team Gold – 460.506
- Canada Team Silver – 454.938
- Brazil Team Bronze – 414.895
Show Jumping Highlights
The US Show Jumping Team came to Canada with a spot already qualified for the 2016 Olympics due to their 3rd place finish at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. Nonetheless, the US Show Jumping Team Members came gunning for medals.
- McLain Ward aboard Rothchild
- Georgina Bloomberg aboard Lilli
- Kent Farrington aboard Gazelle
- Lauren Hough aboard Ohlala
The highlight of the US team’s results was McLain Ward and Rothchild laying down a foot perfect and fast round for individual gold, remarkably his first individual medal at a championship! Venezualan Rodriguez Andres, who trains out of Wellington, clinched individual Silver, and US Team mate Lauren Hough also impressed with an individual Bronze.
In the team competition it was Canada who prevailed for gold on their home soil, with Argentina taking Silver an the US taking team Bronze.
- Mclain Ward – Individual Gold
- Lauren Hough – Individual Bronze
- US Team Bronze
It should be noted that Canadian Ian Millar, who has attended a record number (10) Pan Am games, is 68 years old and still going strong! Millar was a member of the 1987 Canadian team, winning individual gold and team gold, at the 1987 Pan Am Games…which also happened to be the last time Canada took home team gold!
With the US already qualified from their 3rd place finish at the 2014 WEG in France, and Brazil qualifying as the host country, this Gold medal for Canada meant that they also secured their spot for the Olympics. There is no better feeling than qualifying on home turf!
The US Eventing team also had gold on their mind. With a disappointing result at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy France, the pressure was on for team members to bring home a qualifying gold in order to go to Rio.
- Phillip Dutton aboard Fernhill Fugitive
- Lauren Kieffer aboard Meadowbrooks’ Scarlett
- Marilyn Little aboard RF Scandalous
- Boyd Martin aboard Pancho Villa
Even though the Pan Am eventing competition is traditionally a 2* event, team selectors put together a top notch team, anchored by Olympic veterans Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin. Show jumper turned eventer, Marilyn Little was another wise choice on her dynamo of a mare, RF Scandalous, who had racked up 7 wins since her eventing career began in 2014!
In a heart stopping finale 4 of our US eventing team riders finished individually inside the top 10 with Marilyn Little bringing home the individual old, Boyd Martin finishing in 4th, Lauren Kieffer finishing in 7th and Phillip Dutton rounding out the top 10. Their combined efforts ultimately resulting in a Team Gold as well and a secured berth for the 2016 Olympics!
US Eventing Medal Count
- Marilyn Little – Individual Gold
- US Team Gold!