I’m going a bit out of order here, so please forgive me and know that a dedicated post to our superlative Silver & Bronze Eventers will be following tout suite.
In the hopes of being at least timely for today, I’m posting first about Day 1 of Pan Am showjumping, which was the qualifying round.
Under the new Pan Am format, which is being modeled after the Olympics format, the usual speed round has been dropped. Instead the qualifying round, as well as the 2 Team rounds on Thursday, is what helps to determine the top 35 who move onto the Individual medal round on Saturday. Having said that, the Pan Am rules state that only the top 3 riders per nation can compete in the Individual Final. So if Canada has all 4 athletes in the top 35, one will be dropped. It’s a rule which I think can be long debated weighing the pros of “universality” vs a true competition of the best-of-the-best.
For a great explanation of the format, as well as reactions from riders, check out www.horsecollaborative.com including comments from heavyweights like Eric Lamaze and McLain Ward who aren’t big fans of the new format and feel that consistency should be rewarded and champions should be decided by their stellar performance every day, not just on medal day.
So while Day 1 was essentially an easy warm-up class, with 30 horse/rider combinations going clear (including all of Team Canada – yay!), over what looked like a fairly straightforward course, look for course designer Michel Vaillancourt to turn it up a few notches for both the Team competition on Thursday and the individual medal showdown on Saturday.
Having said all that, it was an amazing day at the Games. After going through oppressive heat & humidity for Eventing it was awesome to watch the best horses & riders in the Americas under sunshine with fluffy clouds in a blue sky, no humidity, and a wonderful breeze.
And for those not fortunate enough to be there, CBC is finally showing equestrian some love with live coverage!
Roll on the Team Medal competition!
YANN CANDELE & SHOWGIRL
TIFFANY FOSTER & TRIPPLE X III
ERIC LAMAZE & COCO BONGO
IAN MILLAR & DIXSON
Starting Gate’s Jennifer Ward with TO2015 Equestrian Sport Venue head honcho Craig Collins
Eric Lamaze, Tiffany Foster, Ian Millar, Craig Collins & Jonathan Millar
Yann Candele & Eric Lamaze
Tiffany Foster with her sister (right) and Reserve Team Rider Elizabeth Gingras
Canada & Barbados Team Spirit!
Dr. Yves Rossier on the far right
The nicest guy you could ever meet!
McLain Ward & Rothchild….with ears forward!!
Kent Farrington & Gazelle
Tiffany Foster & Tripple X III make their way to the ring with Yann Candele, Mark Laskin, her groom Caroline Holmberg and her sister Rebecca Foster
Eric and Coco Bongo ready to go!