The Pan America Equestrian games redeemed itself for me on Tuesday, July 21, 2015. The preliminary Jumping competition was an enjoyable, tense, and reasonably organized experience (though school bus shuttles and port-a-potties prevailed. Check out my Sunday experience here).
At the jumping preliminaries, 30 out of 50 riders from South and North America sailed over the Canada-themed course fault-free and within the 80-second time allowance. They will move to the second qualifying round with a score of zero, both as individuals and teams.
Best part: all four Canadian team members rode clean rounds with – surprisingly – Ian Millar’s time not counting in the team score. (Only three of the four riders’ score count for the final team tally).
The Pan Am Games (also known as Toronto 2015) Canadian Equestrian Jumping Team consists of the legendary ‘Captain Canada,’ Ian Millar (68) riding Dixon; Eric Lamaze (47) riding Coco Bongo; Yann Candele (44) on Showgirl; and youngest member Tiffany Foster (30) riding Tripplex III.
The U.S. team also rode perfect rides, so all four lead by McLain Ward riding Rothchild will proceed to the first qualifying round July 23 with no faults. Team Brazil also had a strong showing.
True to equestrian fan style, audience members rooted for all riders and horses equally despite team associations, audibly feeling the disappointment of each fallen rail. No one jumped proved more challenging than the other though combinations were the site of most faults and the centre Oxer – flanked by two horse-sized Muskoka chairs – garnered notice from the announcer.
The second & third qualifying rounds are on July 23 at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Ontario, Canada. The individual finals are July 25, same place. This event I won’t be watching live because tickets were already sold out the day they went on sale. However, check out my Eventing Jumping report here.
If you missed the games, or like me didn’t want to stand in line for t-shirts and souvenirs, check out the online store here.