Aug 03, 2019

The Pan American Games from the Spectator's Seat: Dressage Day

Lynn Symansky and RF Cool Play's 29.2 is the U.S. team's drop score. Erin Gilmore Photo.

USEA Board of Governors member Morley Thompson is on the ground in Lima, Peru at the 2019 Pan American Games and will be sharing his thoughts from the spectator's seat!

The Army Equitation School is a green oasis of solitude in a concrete urban jungle. Getting there in Lima traffic is a challenge, but once you enter the walls it has beautiful trees and many helpful volunteers. The overall size of the grounds is quite limited though. The entrance for a spectator is a bit like shopping at IKEA as you are routed along a circuitous path through sections of the cross-country course, through the Peruvian equivalent of a Tiki hut, and eventually get to the dressage area.

The picture doesn’t show the slope, but it effectively creates a pretty big jump and drop. Morley Thompson Photo.

The size of the venue is so limited that the cross-country course loops back and forth on itself. Imagine a CCI3*-L course at Kentucky in an area that is probably smaller than the inside of the Kentucky steeplechase track. There are some slight hills and lots of trees, so it does not feel like a Tryon derby field, but the twisty course may prove tough for horses that are not handy.

There are places where trucks are rumbling on city streets on the other side of a wall less than 20 yards from a cross-country jump and there literally were cross-country jumps within the dressage stadium, with a water complex less than 10 yards from A.

Never seen bricks as a jump material before. Morley Thompson Photo.

Today's dressage was very impressive for the top tier of riders. The U.S. is in a very enviable position to have Lynn's 29.2 be our drop score. Lynn's test set a bar for being calm, rhythmic, and precise but other tests bested her in brilliance and energy. Tamra's test was fantastic and would have placed well in any international competition.

Individually, Brazil's Marcelo Tosi on Starbucks was very impressive. I am probably showing my lack of familiarity with many of the international riders, but I was very impressed by the riding skills of Guatamela's two ladies. Sarka Kolackova De Mendez's Carneval 32 has some incredible moments of brilliance and energy, but with all his energy the extended walk was not on his playlist. For this test, the walk-canter transition at C when the horses were anticipating the medium canter (and pointed at a cross-country jump) proved very challenging for several.

Both the Canadians and Brazil are close on our tail so we need two more great phases!

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