It’s amazing how long it takes to get life back on track when you get totally consumed by a Major Games.
The individual showjumping finals saw a tough course built by Canadian FEI course designer (and 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist) Michel Vaillancourt. The jumps were high, and the time was tight.
After leaving everything out on the field of play to grab the Team Gold (and ticket to Rio2016), Eric, Ian and Yann had a tall order to replicate the magic and unfortunately it wasn’t to be. However the very appreciative crowd gave them a hero’s welcome each time they entered the ring.
Here are some pictures and videos from that day.
It doesn’t get much more Canadian than this….
The officials keep everything running smoothly (David Ballard standing)
Surprisingly this jump didn’t come down very often. All the train cars are separate, which made for an entertaining re-setup when it was knocked down.
Some of the hardworking volunteers had a chance to catch the action.
One of my favourite combinations – Argentina’s Jose Larocca Jr & Cornet du Lys (4th place)
The Grandmaster himself – Craig Collins. Job well done!
It’s the finals for individual showjumping today, and I’m about to head out the door, but I had to make a very quick post about Canada’s golden moment in the Team medal round. I have lots of pictures and videos to share, but hands down this is the best one.
Canada showed everyone that it’s not over until it’s over, and now not only is there gold hardware hanging around Tiffany’s, Yann’s, Eric’s and Ian’s necks…but a ticket to Rio for Canadian showjumping!
Now onto the domination of the individual medal round, where unfortunately because of the Pan Am rules Tiffany & Tripple X III won’t be competing as there is a maximum of 3 riders per nation. Same goes for Kent Farrington & Gazelle of the USA.
So as not to tempt fate, I’m wearing the same outfit as I did for Team competition.
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.