Lima, Peru—July 31
When Sarah Lockman was 10 years old she had already planned out her future.
“I told one of my first horse trainers, ‘I’m going to be a horse trainer, and I’m going to go to the Olympics,’ ” she recalled.
She climbed up another step toward that goal today when she marked her second personal best score of the week at the Pan American Games aboard First Apple in today’s freestyle, clinching individual gold on a mark of 78.98 percent. Canada’s Tina Irwin, who already earned team gold on Monday, laid down a lovely test on Laurencio to take silver, and Lockman’s teammate Jennifer Baumert took bronze aboard Handsome.
Riders at the Games may compete in small tour or large tour, and all three individual medalists competed in the former.
“I am so proud of my horse and, to be honest, of myself,” said Lockman, Wildomar, California. “I put a lot of pressure on myself today because the last two days were so phenomenal. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I’m over the moon excited—I might still be in shock. I’m so happy with that score and so happy I was able to do that on this international stage.”
Lockman, 30, demonstrated a high degree of difficulty aboard the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Vivaldi—Oogappel, T.C.N. Partout) in her routine set to a medley of dance music. She was overwhelmed with happiness as the gold medal was placed around her neck.
“I came into this just wanting to score the best I possibly could, and of course a silent goal was to have personal best,” she said. “From the warm-up until the very final halt salute that horse was 100 percent with me.”
Irwin was thrilled to make it onto the podium but expressed a bit of regret over a costly error.
“I was super happy with my ride until the very last centerline where my horse decided to give a preview to Tokyo and did a bunch of one tempis,” said Irwin, Stouffville, Ontario. “Other than that he felt great, so what can you do?
“I though the entrance was really good, the two [tempi changes] to the halt were a highlight,” she continued. “I think the degree of difficulty [was high] with four pirouettes in kind of in a unique spot in some of the corners, so they’re nice to ride on him.”
Baumert, Wellington, Florida, has found herself with a much more electric horse in Handsome (Hochadel—Wyona K, Weltmeyer) since she’s arrived in Lima, and she’s had to adjust her riding to suit him.
“In other venues he’s a little bit quieter,” she said. “So it’s a little different ride which makes me have to make an adjustment really quickly. I can’t complain about having the energy; I was really happy with my trotwork at the end because at that point he was lit. I think over the days I’ve figured out how to ride him in this atmosphere. He and I have a really strong bond for years. But I do think that each day I’ve learned how to ride my horse a little better.
“[Coming into the Pan American Games] I did think I had a chance at a medal,” she continued. “I know that my horse is capable; I’m capable and we have a really awesome freestyle, so of course I was hopeful but you never know. It’s all up in the air until it really happens.”
U.S. Chef d’Equipe Debbie McDonald also coaches Baumert and was ecstatic to see Baumert and Lockman on the podium.
“It’s pretty amazing and pretty overwhelming, as somebody who knows how their lives are going to change from this,” said McDonald who won double gold herself at the 1999 Pan American Games (Manitoba) with Brentina. “It means so much for me because I know from being in this situation how things change. For those two girls to walk away with medals on their necks, it’s life-changing.”
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Check out our July 22 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse magazine, our Pan Am preview issue, for more information about the competitors, and be sure to read the September 2 issue to get full analysis from the Games. What are you missing if you don’t subscribe?