The Land Rover U.S. Eventing team of Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive, Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook’s Scarlett, Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, and Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa completed the cross-country phase of the Pan American Games with double clear rounds today to maintain gold medal position in the team standings on 133.0. Brazil (136.7) and Canada (159) traded places for second and third in the team standings, respectively.
Brazilian Olympic veteran Ruy Fonseca holds the individual gold position, followed by Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous on a 40.3. Canadian Jessica Phoenix is in bronze position on 42.1, followed by Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa in fourth on 44.3. Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive and Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook’s Scarlett are tied for seventh place on 48.4.
Little commented, “There was plenty of terrain and there were a lot of options on the course. You had to have a plan but be open to change. You didn’t want to be married to your plan in case your horse got tired. My horse came out firing and was a lot to hold on to in the beginning; she’s only been Eventing for a year and has done one CCI2* in her career. She’s a careful jumper, and with luck on our side we’ll leave the poles up tomorrow.”
Australian course designer Wayne Copping’s two-star track at Will O’Wind Farm caused a few shake-ups, notably when Canadian Kathryn Robinson, who stood second individually after dressage, took a tumble with Let it Bee at only the second fence on course. Her elimination from the competition (and the loss of her dressage score) dropped the Canadian team into bronze position.
Strong performances from Canadians Colleen Loach, Waylon Roberts and Jessica Phoenix kept the team in the running for the medals, though Canada no longer has a drop score heading in to show jumping tomorrow.
All four Brazilian riders delivered double clear rounds today: Ruy Fonseca and Tom Bombadill Too, Carlos Paro and Calcourt Landline, Jorge Marcio Carvalho and Lissy Mac Wayer, and Henrique Plombon and Land Quenotte. Just one rail now separates the US team from the Brazilians in show jumping.
Eighteen riders were clear and in the time today. Nine riders were eliminated due to refusals and falls, and there was one hold on course (Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa were held about 1/3 of the way around) when Argentinean Marcelo Javier Rawson and Larthago fell at the second water complex. The horse was transported off the course, but was later proclaimed to be doing well.
There was a great deal of team spirit at the Games, with Canadian fans decked out in red and white and lots of colorful flags from the various Latin American countries represented.
“There’s a wonderful sense of camaraderie on the US team,” said Little. “Regardless of the pressure to produce the score for the US to go to Rio next year, and to bring home a gold medal this weekend, it’s a great group of competitors and it’s inspiring to ride with them.”
The second horse inspection is at 10:30 AM tomorrow followed by show jumping at 1:00.