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 spring eventing season in the Midwest is always a toss-up due to unpredictable weather. Will it rain, will it be sunny, or will it be a snowstorm? No one knows! Mid-America Combined Training Association’s (MACTA) first cross-country schooling of the season was cancelled in March due to extremely muddy footing conditions and by the time our April dates came around, COVID-19 was in full force and we were unable to host our cross-country schooling and schooling show.
The FEI has published its Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at assisting organizers and national federations with the safe resumption of international equestrian events in line with national and local restrictions.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has approved additional modifications to the qualification period for the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The AEC is scheduled to take place August 25-30, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, and the USEA is doing everything possible to ensure a safe and successful Championship, while also ensuring fair opportunities for all.
This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).