With eventing at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru kicking off in almost exactly four weeks, the U.S. team athletes and horses gathered together for the first time yesterday in The Plains, Virginia to begin their final preparations.
Boyd Martin, Doug Payne, Tamra Smith, Lynn Symansky, and the reserve riders who have been selected to represent the USA for the upcoming 2019 Pan American Games trained today at Chestnut Run Farm and Beverly Equestrian Center. All riders rode dressage in morning sessions and jumped with U.S. Eventing Performance Director, Erik Duvander in afternoon sessions to prepare for a busy schedule in preparation for Lima.
“It looks like everyone’s been doing the work they need to do at home,” said Symansky. “Mine feels better than he was in the spring. I think the term is ‘cautiously optimistic’. I am a positive thinker but not outwardly so. My mental game is: prepare for the worst and expect the best.”
Smith and Alex and Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell's Mai Baum arrived from their home base in Southern California late last night, completing the team save for traveling reserve Liz Halliday-Sharp, who is at home in England and preparing to compete at Barbury this weekend. “I’m in bit of disbelief that I’m here,” Smith said. “We just flatted today, but he felt great. He got here and took a deep breath and a nap!”
Mai Baum and the other team horses are overnighting at Mary Ann Ghadban’s Chestnut Run Farm in The Plains before heading to The Maryland Horse Trials this weekend.
In total nine team horses (including reserves) schooled over a Chris Barnard-designed course in Beverly Equestrian’s outdoor arena, that modeled what riders should expect to see in Lima. Duvander was pleased with the day.
“It’s always interesting when you first put a new group of people together. There’s a lot of talk about team culture and so on, but it’s always developed with individuals - you can’t create a culture until you put them all together and see what happens, and I don’t know if we were lucky on day one, but it’s been a really good day,” Duvander said. “All the horses went well and everyone worked with really good focus. It’s about ticking the boxes every day, getting it right every day, and I think today we got it right with all horses.”
The scoreboard was kept working at full tilt on cross-country today at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International as 24 of the 41 CCI4*-L starters picked up some sort of jump penalty on Derek di Grazia’s course. The leader position changed several times throughout the afternoon as 15 penalties were handed out by the ground jury, but Waylon Roberts and Lancaster kept their slate clean to take over the top spot.
Derek di Grazia’s cross-country courses at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International is the setting for all the action today in Elkton, Md. Here is what you need to know to follow along:
With 70 percent of the scores coming from the second day of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships, the 4- and 5-year-olds had a big moment in front of them to impress the judges Chris Ryan and Sally Ike. The horses were judged over a set of show jumps (15 percent) then moved directly into the cross-country portion (30 percent) before finally showing off their gallop and earning an overall score for their jumping (15 percent) and general impression (10 percent).
At the end of a busy day wrapping up the dressage phase of The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day (FHI), two new riders took over the top of the leaderboards. Mara DePuy and Congo Brazzaville Z moved into first in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship with their 28.6, while Alexa Gartenberg and Louis M claimed the pinnacle position in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship on a 25.9.