October 25, 2011--The U.S. Show Jumping Team will be looking to make it a Team Gold medal sweep at the 2011 Pan American Games after both the Dressage and Eventing topped the medal podium earlier in the competition.
They got off to a great start Monday, presenting five fit and sound horses at the jog. Under the guidance of Chef d'Equipe George Morris and under the care of veterinarian Dr. Tim Ober, farrier Todd Meister and physiotherapist Janus Marquis, all five horses were beautifully prepared by their grooms ? and shone in the Mexican sunshine.
The U.S. Team arrived in Mexico with a mission: to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games.
To do so, they need to finish in the top three in the team competition of the teams that are NOT already qualified. Of the teams competing at the Pan American Games, both Brazil and Canada qualified at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
?We have five top riders and five lovely horses,? said Morris. ?It's as strong a team as we have probably right now.?
McLain Ward (Brewster, NY) and Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, NY) have won two Olympic Gold medals together. They are the stalwarts of the U.S. Jumping Team. Ward has been riding Grant Road Partners' Antares F for just over a year, but has had considerable success with the 11-year-old Wurttemberger gelding. Madden and Coral Reef Ranch's Coral Reef Via Volo, a 13-year-old Belgian mare, have forged a strong partnership over the last 18 months. Both of these horses are contesting their first championship.
Christine McCrea (East Windsor, CT) and Windsor Show Stables' Romantovich Take One have been reliable all summer long, consistently jumping clear rounds in both Europe and the United States. The 11-year-old KWPN gelding and McCrea are contesting their first championship, as are Kent Farrington (Chicago, IL) and RCG Farm's Uceko. The diminutive 10-year-old Dutch gelding was full of energy at Monday's jog, and won the biggest prize of Farrington's career in August when they captured the King George Cup at CSIO5* Hickstead.
Mario Deslauriers (New York, NY) and Jane F. Clark's Urico have made the trip as the Traveling Reserve. A classy veteran, the Canadian expatriate first represented the United States last year at WEG with the 10-year-old KWPN gelding.
The training session begins at noon (CDT) on Tuesday, October 25, in the main ring of the lovely Guadalajara Country Club. The first Individual Qualifier begins at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
?So far I think it is the loveliest venue I have been to at a Pan American Games ? and the first one I went to was in Chicago in 1959,? said Morris.