October 27, 2023
Team USA is firmly in control on the opening day of the 2023 Pan American Games
Defending champions from the USA took a firm hold at the top of the team and individual leaderboards as the dressage phase of the 2023 Pan American Games began in Quilota, Chile today.
Taking the CCI4* test, it was Sharon White who took the early lead with a score of 28.2 with her 11-year-old Holsteiner Klaus 63 (Catoo x Tina II), and was then overtaken by her American teammate Caroline Pamoko with a score of 26.8. On the board with her and Molly Huff, Sherry Martin, eight-year-old Denise Pamoko and the Irish gelding HSH Blake (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass). But leading the final group of the day to the track, Liz Halliday and Mixmaster C (Mighty Magic x Qui Luma CBF) pulled another two notches off their target score to go into tomorrow’s cross country stage at the head of affairs at 24.8.
The 44-year-old California-born described Ocala Horse Properties and the 11-year-old Deborah Palmer gelding as “an enthusiastic bean, who has a great engine and wants to keep going! It’s a pretty electric atmosphere out there. This horse has been to Kentucky and has He definitely noticed. “I had to work on keeping him relaxed,” she said after giving a really smart performance.
The duo finished third in Kentucky this year, the biggest accomplishment of the 44-year-old racer’s career. “It was his first five-star award, he’s a fantastic horse, a very exciting horse for the future. We haven’t been together for a long time so it’s really nice to be here,” Halliday said.
Looking ahead to the second stage tomorrow, she described the cross country course as “a little more complex than Kentucky! I don’t think eight minutes will take much from Mix, he’s an amazing runner, 16.2 hours, not very tall but strong and solid in his body. He has a great stride.” Makes it look great with lots of push and lift!
She singled out the Knights Bank at 20AB, near the house on the 23-fence track, as a bank that could be influential. “I jumped the Irish Banks in Ireland at Millstreet, and the step at the seventh fence is also a strange thing you’ll find there. They’re very intelligent, something most of our horses haven’t seen, and they grab your attention and make you think. There’s so much to do on this course,” she said. “.
She believes she should not be underestimated.
“It’s a big championship for seniors and it’s important. When you’re on a horse with almost that experience, it makes you focus a little bit more, because the jumps are a little smaller – it’s still a tough track and anyone takes it for granted.” It would be so ridiculous!”
The route that starts in the main plaza over the Vina del Mar clock fence before moving on to the military base’s polo field and then out through open country is the focus of everyone’s attention now. Designed by Frenchman Pierre Le Goupil and built by Dominic Moore of Great Britain from Jump1, it is colourful, smart and a lot of fun. The two men have only worked together once before, at the 2023 FEI Eventing Championships at Haras du Pin in France in early August.
“We don’t talk enough about builders with amazing skill and creativity,” Le Goupil said today. “Six months ago I didn’t know who I was going to work with, I had an idea of what the course should be” technically but the details of the fences I didn’t know because it depended on the materials you had available and who would be doing the job. Dominique is creative and it was an exchange of ideas between us.” Frenchman explained that the Pan American residence in Quilota is very different from Normandy.
“Here the natural materials that we normally use are not available or they are completely different. In the end though the result is great and everyone likes the way it was built and presented. Now it should satisfy the riders and spectators tomorrow, and we will let the sport do the talking,” said Le Goupil.
He explained the principles he adheres to when designing fences for riders with varying levels of PanAms experience.
“The course should provide an opportunity for everyone to finish it, but it should not be too easy. We need the first, second, third and last! Safety is the priority, but too easy is never safe. It should be difficult enough so that they pay attention and ask enough questions “For them to stay focused, we need to keep them mentally engaged and attentive the whole way through.”
The optimal time is 8 minutes and 3 seconds.
Course creator Dominic Moore is delighted to be working alongside Le Goupil again, in a setting so different from the French countryside. “It’s a great experience for us to win two championships on opposite sides of the world!”
“In the Europeans we had big hills and natural woods, and when we came here we wanted to do something completely different,” he explained. His construction team includes Charles Matthews and John Williams, who run the Jump 1 crew in Europe, and Aert Vanderjoos from Maarsbergen Horse Trials in the Netherlands. Raymond Martins who builds for Eric Winter in Argentina, Eric who came to help and Hannah Matthews who is in charge of the flowers. Many of the fences have been beautifully painted by the Kudo family who live locally. The father of the family is a former commander at the military base.
Chilean fans don’t hold back when they enjoy their sport, and when competition resumes at 11.00 tomorrow morning, there will be plenty of Latin American energy and excitement in the air.
The fourth member of the American team, Sydney Elliott who is 10th with Carol Stevens’ 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding Qc Diamantaire (Diarado x Latana), will be first out again. The USA leads the team leaderboard with a score of 79.8, Canada is in second place with a score of 93.5, Brazil is close behind with a score of 99.9, and Mexico is in fourth place with a score of 109.2 followed by Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Colombia in that order.
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