Steffen Peters & Legolas Win Pan Am Individual Gold, Laura Graves & Verdades Silver, Canada’s Chris von Martels & Zilverstar Bronze

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Pan American Games individual gold medalists Laura Graves (silver), Steffen Peters (gold) and Chris Von Martels (bronze). © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Pan American Games individual gold medalists Laura Graves (silver), Steffen Peters (gold) and Chris Von Martels (bronze). © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

PALGRAVE, Ontario, July 14, 2015–Steffen Peters squeezed every ounce of strength from himself and Legolas to perform a “picture perfect” ride that won Pan American Games individual gold Tuesday with gold medal team mate Laura Graves on Verdades taking silver and Canada’s Chris von Martels on Zilverstar the bronze.

For Steffen Peters, the United States top rider and No, 7 in the world, the gold with a score of 80.075 per cent was the fourth in four starts at the Pan Ams–he won team and individual gold on Weltin’s Magic in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011–that this year included Grand Prix combinations for the first time, mixed with small tour.

Verdades was “completely out of gas” on the third day of championship competition, said Laura Graves of her 13-year-old KWPN gelding that the pair scored 79.825 per cent, shy of their 2014 World Games result that placed the pair fifth.

Chris von Martels on Zilverstar had the small tour ride of his life and by far a personal best score of 79.500 per cent and gave the hometown crowd that came close to filling the 4,000 seats plenty to cheer about.

Steffen Peters and Legolas completing their Pan American Games individual gold medal Freestyle ride. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters and Legolas completing their Pan American Games individual gold medal Freestyle ride. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Steffen of San Diego, California said the ride Tuesday after a disappointing Grand Prix Special on the second day of the Nations Cup was “picture perfect and we were within one-tenth of a second to changes of the music” for their choreography.

The Freestyle he rode in Munich when he and the riders long listed for the Pan Am team went to compete in Europe in May as preparation for these Games was, he said, the best Freestyle he felt he and the 13-year-old Westfalen gelding had performed to that time.

“I think today was even better,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy after the Grand Prix Special. We usually go straight from the Grand Prix to the Freestyle and not do a Special. That’s why the victory today feels even sweeter.

“I gave it every ounce of my strength and so so did Legolas.”

He was asked whether it became easier with his competition record of three Olympics for a team bronze, three World Equestrian Games for both team and individual medals, two Pan Americans with four gold in four starts and three World Cup Finals, becoming only the second American to win the title, he replied:

“The bottom line is that it doesn’t get easier, the pressure is there every single time. When its over you feel a huge weight lifted off your shoulders.”

Watching the competition was his wife, Shannon, and Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang who own Legolas, the talented eight-year-old Rosamunde that has competed in Grand Prix on both sides of the Atlantic as well as Ravel that he took to two Olympics, a World Games and won the World Cup in 2009.

Laura Graves on Verdades at the Pan American Games individual competition where the pair won the silver medal. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves on Verdades at the Pan American Games individual competition where the pair won the silver medal. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Verdades, said Laura who is based in the Orlando community of Plymouth, was “completely out of gas, which was a surprise. He overflowed the tank in the warmup and this is good. I liked that feeling in the Grand Prix.

“It was quiet when I entered the arena. He was quiet. I took it for granted.

“Sometimes the applause from the crowd gets him excited. I’m used to having to calm him down when that happens. Now I now for the future that I should take him for a little extended canter.”

She praised the panel of five judges as having “really nailed it, they made the playing field level” although they were judging two different levels over three days of competition.even.

Chris von Martels , who with his team mate Brittany Fraser on All In trains with Ashley Holzer, set the standard albeit at small tour for the Canadian team with both competing in their first senior championship.

Zilverstar, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding, Chris said, “has been fantastic throughout the whole Games, and he was peaking at the right moment.”

Chris von Martels on Zilverstar who won Pan American Games individual bronze. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Chris von Martels on Zilverstar who won Pan American Games individual bronze. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Canada’s Big Tour combination of Belinda Trussell and Anton rode to a personal best score of 76.800 per cent that put them just off the medals podium.

Belinda and the 15-year-old gelding was the most experienced combination on the Canadian team with the 2010 and 2014 World Games on their record.

Belinda Trussell and Anton, the World Games veteran combination competing at Big Tour for Caada. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Belinda Trussell and Anton, the World Games veteran combination competing at Big Tour for Caada. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Brittany Fraser on All In, the other half of Canada’s small tour section of the team that put a scare into the United States in the Nations Cup where they placed fourth individually but slipped a slot in the individual competition to fifth on 76.800 per cent, the same score as team mate Belinda Trussell.

Brittany will take a break from competition before working with her coach Ashley Holzer to move the horse up to Grand Prix, possibly ready to compete at next winter’s Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida.

Brittany Fraser and All In at the Pan American Games individual championship. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Brittany Fraser and All In at the Pan American Games individual championship. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Brazil that won team bronze placed all three of their small tour riders in the top 10 and the highest placed outside of Canada and the United States.

Di Caprio ridden by Leandro da Silva placed sixth on 73.300 per cent that was a personal best.

Leandro said he is now ready move the 13-year-old KWPN gelding up to Grand Prix.

Leandro da Silva on Di Caprio that competed at small and placed sixth in the individual championship. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Leandro da Silva on Di Caprio that competed at small and placed sixth in the individual championship. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Joao Victor Marcari Oliva of Brazil, the youngest rider at age 19, rode Xama dos Pinhais to seventh place on 73.275 per cent.

The Brazilian national champion in 2014 competed the 12-year-old Brazilian=bred Lusitano in Europe before the Pan Ams.

Joao Victor Marcari Oliva riding Xama dos Pinhais in the Pan American Games individual championship. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Joao Victor Marcari Oliva riding Xama dos Pinhais in the Pan American Games individual championship. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The USA’s Kimberly Herslow on Rosmarin who were second individually in the Nations Cup competition had a letdown in the individual competition placing eighth on a score of 73.175 per cent.

Kim of Stockton, New Jersey said that Rosmarin squealed at her when she arrived at the show grounds Tuesday morning that he was ready to go.

Rosmarin was so good in the warmup that she realized too late that she should have kept it to no more than 10 minutes–“I could have ridden straight from the barn into the arena he was so ready to go,” she said–but instead warmed up for 10 minutes.

By the end of the Freestyle Rosmarin was tired and the result of 73.175 per cent put the pair in eighth place.

Rosmarin ridden by Kimberly Herslow in Intermediate Freestyle in the Pan American Games individual medal competition. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Rosmarin ridden by Kimberly Herslow in Intermediate Freestyle in the Pan American Games individual medal competition. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

One of the most popular rides was by Brazil’s Joao Paulo dos Santos on Veleiro doTop whose one-handed extended trot up the final centerline with a bull fighter like flourish in pirouette earned the pair 72.950 per cent for ninth place.

Joao Paulo Dos Santos on Veleiro do Top brought a dramatic flourish to the Pan American Games individual medal compegtition. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Joao Paulo Dos Santos on Veleiro do Top brought a dramatic flourish to the Pan American Games individual medal compegtition. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The unique format of mixed Big and Small Tour combinations that began the Pan Ams with 10 teams and six individuals contesting the Nations Cup over two days with “bonus” points going to Grand Prix pairs and capped by the Intermediate/Grand Prix Freestyles where there was no bonus was declared a success in its mission improving the level of competition dressage in the Americas.

Argentina, Canada and the United States fielded the maximum of two Grand Prix combinations to go with their two Small Tour horses and riders while Mexico included one Grand Prix pair. The format was first introduced at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Florida three years ago and tweaked since.

The next step, officials said, will be to raise the standard higher for the next Pan Ams in Lima, Peru in 2019.

The format likely will be upgraded and likely to be tested at the Nations Cup at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington in which teams can be made up entirely of Grand Prix combinations but also allowing Prix St. Georges horses on teams but requiring at least one Grand Prix pair.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Dressage Committee along with FEI Dressage Director Trond Asmyr will determine the format for the future and the pace of upgrade.

Results:

 Intermediate I / Grand Prix Freestyle
Judges: E: Maribel Alonso MEX H: Lilo Fore USA C: Elizabeth McMullen CAN M: Stephen Clarke GBR B: Hans-Christian Matthiesen DEN
 
Rank Horse nº Rider % Score & (Rank) Total
Horse Name E H C M B %Mark
1 167

LEGOLAS 92

2
78.500
1
81.500
1
79.500
1
82.000
3
78.875
80.075
2 165

VERDADES

1
80.750
3
78.000
2
79.125
3
80.375
1
80.875
79.825
3 119

ZILVERSTAR

3
78.125
2
80.750
3
78.125
2
81.500
2
79.000
79.500
4 118

ANTON

4
77.250
4
77.750
4
77.125
5
75.750
4
76.125
76.800
4 116

ALL IN

5
76.125
5
76.875
5
76.000
4
78.875
4
76.125
76.800
6 110

DI CAPRIO

8
71.875
10
72.125
6
73.750
6
75.000
6
73.750
73.300
7 112

XAMÃ DOS PINHAIS

6
73.875
8
72.750
12
72.125
7
74.875
8
72.750
73.275
8 166

ROSMARIN

7
73.625
8
72.750
9
72.750
9
74.125
9
72.625
73.175
9 111

VELEIRO DO TOP

9
71.750
6
74.875
16
70.250
8
74.375
7
73.500
72.950
10 154

WIZARD BANAMEX

11
71.250
13
71.375
11
72.250
14
71.250
10
71.500
71.525
11 146

ADAJIO

12
71.125
17
68.875
14
71.750
10
74.000
10
71.500
71.450
12 124

FINN

14
69.250
12
71.625
10
72.625
13
71.875
13
70.500
71.175
13 103

BANDURRIA KACERO

14
69.250
7
73.625
17
69.125
16
70.625
12
71.000
70.725
13 159

ROYAL AFFAIR

10
71.625
14
71.125
15
70.500
14
71.250
18
69.125
70.725
15 155

HESLEGAARDS ROLEX

17
68.750
20
67.625
6
73.750
11
72.375
13
70.500
70.600
16 128

BECKHAM

13
69.750
11
71.875
18
68.875
12
72.125
20
67.125
69.950
17 141

CHARDONNAY

18
68.125
15
70.000
8
73.125
19
69.125
19
68.625
69.800
18 153

DONNERSBERG

19
67.875
16
69.875
12
72.125
21
67.375
17
69.500
69.350
19 127

FAREWELL IV

16
69.125
17
68.875
21
67.125
17
69.625
16
70.125
68.975
20 135

BELLO ORIENTE

20
67.750
19
67.750
20
68.125
18
69.375
15
70.375
68.675
21 174

VON PRIMAIRE

21
66.625
21
64.625
19
68.750
20
67.750
21
65.250
66.600