Florida-Based Monica Burssens Sweeps Mexico Selection Event in Campaign for Central American & Caribbean Games Team Spot
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MEXICO CITY, May 5, 2018–Monica Burssens on Elfentanz put herself firmly into contention for Mexico’s team for the Central American and Caribbean Games by winning both competitions in the second of three CDI3* qualifying events.
Monica, who lives in Wellington, Florida, where her family has been a part of the international equestrian community for more than two decades, topped a record number of entries to ride the 10-year-old Oldenburg mare to win the Intermediate 1 Sunday on a score of 68.382 per cent after capturing the Prix St. Georges Saturday on 69.912 per cent.
If successful in winning one of the four places on Mexico’s team at the Games scheduled for Bogotá, Colombia in mid-summer, it would be the first championship for the 31-year-old Monica since the North American Young Rider Championships in 2007. Mexico won team and individual gold at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games.
After this week’s second of three selection events, Monica on Elfentanz has moved up to second place from fifth in the Games rankings behind Mariana Quintana with Benzemá that are still atop the list, as the pair were after the first round.
Bernadette Pujals, Mexico’s leading international rider this century, filling second and third spots with Heeslegards Rolex that she rode at the 2016 Olympics, and Baron de Ley, respectively, after the first round but did not compete in the second event. Enrique Palacios on Lorenzo would move to third place, up one spot from fourth.
Monica took Elfentanz and the nine-year-old Oldenburg Sao Passionato to Mexico City for the selection events. She competed both horses throughout the winter-long Global Dressage Festival in Wellington.
Success at Bogotá is vital as it is a qualifying event for the Pan American Games in 2019, continental championships held once every four years and surpassed in size only by the Olympics as a multi-discipline sports event.
Monica has lived in Wellington since the age of 10, when her parents moved to Florida from Mexico to set up a dressage training center. She attended schools there–was a cheerleader at Wellington High–and went to college in Madrid. On returning home from Spain, Monica went full-time into the equestrian business operated by her parents, Patrick and Marisol Burssens.
She was short-listed for the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011 but her horse, Dance of Joy, foundered.
Monica spent two summers in Germany working with, Klaus Balkenhol, Olympic team gold medal rider and former United States team coach.
She was married last year to Manuel Lecuona, a jumper rider from Mexico City with whom she has been together for several years. Monica is pregnant.
CDI3* Prix St. Georges