When? The first round goes at 2 p.m. EST on Tuesday, July 21. Then the jumpers have a day off before the two-round Nations Cup on July 23, which will decide the team medals. They have another rest day, then on July 25 is the second horse inspection and two rounds of jumping to decide the individual medals.
Where? The show jumping will take place at the OLG Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in Caledon, Ontario.
What’s At Stake? The U.S. team is already qualified for the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympic Games courtesy of their bronze medal performance at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, but this year’s team will be hungry to defend the 2011 team’s gold medal sweep.
The U.S. team of (from left) chef d’equipe George Morris, Kent Farrington, Christine McCrea, Beezie Madden and McLain Ward earned gold at the 2011 Pan American Games. Photo by Mollie Bailey
The U.S. team may be gunning for gold, but they aren’t the only ones. The Canadian and Mexican team are in dire need of qualifying for the Olympic Games with a medal finish in Toronto, and they’re bringing their top riders and horses.
The U.S. Chef’s Words: In the Chronicle’s Pan American Games Preview Issue, U.S. chef d’equipe Robert Ridland wrote an informative preview of the competition that included his quote: “Just because we’re qualfied for the Olympics doesn’t mean we’re taking the Games lightly.
“We’re sending a team that we hope will win the gold medal,” Ridland continued in the Chronicle. The Pan American Games is a championship competition at the same level as the European Championships, and it’s an important championship in its own right. There’s a lot to be striving for.”
Christine McCrea and Romantovich Take One jumped to individual gold at the 2011 Pan American Games. Photo by Mollie Bailey
The favorites: The United States, Canada, Mexico and Brazil are all sending top-notch teams. The U.S. team has just the mix of experienced pairs and younger talent that Ridland aims for in Nations Cup teams. McLain Ward and Rothchild are the definite anchors of the team as they helped the team take bronze in the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (France) last year and placed fifth individually.
Ward’s teammate on that WEG team and the gold-medal 2011 Pan American Games team, Kent Farrington, is bringing a talented new mare on the way up the ranks to the Pan Ams—Gazelle. This is her first year competing at the 1.60-meter height, but the 9-year-old has consistently been in the ribbons at that level.
Hough and Ohlala bring a lot of experience to the table, but this will be the first international championship team appearance for the little bay mare with the big jump. It’s also the first international championship trip for Georgina Bloomberg, who put in excellent results in Furusiyya FEI Nations Cups last year and has been in the hunt at grand prix classes this spring. She brings Lilli, a greener mare who has shown great results this year, winning the $127,000 Adequan Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival in January.
In 2011, the U.S. team discussed strategy with chef d’equipe George Morris. Photo by Mollie Bailey
Canada, on the other hand, is fielding a seasoned team in a determined bid to win. Captain Canada, Ian Millar, is joined by 2008 individual Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze, his protege and 2012 Olympic Games veteran Tiffany Foster, and another go-to for the team, Yann Candele, on Showgirl. They’ll also have the advantage of the home crowd cheering them on—Millar and Lamaze have hero status with Canadian show jumping fans.
Rodrigo Pessoa leads a Brazilian team that is pre-qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games, as they’re the host nation, so the Olympic and World Games veteran is anchoring a team in development with 2016 in mind—Pedro Veniss, Eduardo Menezes, and Marlon Modolo Zanotelli.
The Colombian and Mexican teams are also fielding multiple solid international horse/rider combinations and can’t be counted out for a medal.
The other teams: In addition to the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, there are teams from Uruguay, Chile, Venezuela, Argentina and Guatemala competing. El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Peru, Ecuador, Barbados and the Dominican Republic will send individuals.
Will there be live streaming? Show jumping is the one equestrian sport that CBC has scheduled for live streaming coverage. Live streaming of the Pan American Games is being handled by CBC Sports and according to their live-streaming schedule, they’ll show three hours of the first leg on July 21 (from 2-5 p.m.), both rounds of the Nations Cup team competition on July 23 (from 10:00 a.m.-5 p.m.) and the individual final on July 25 (from 11:00 a.m.-5 p.m.).
For U.S. viewers, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app are supposed to be broadcasting the CBC feed of show jumping, but that’s not confirmed.
So how will you follow the action? The Chronicle has two reporters on-site in Caledon to bring you all the results, photos, behind-the-scenes details and fun from the Pan Ams. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and check in at www.coth.com for insightful stories and fantastic photos.