Record 12 Teams for Pan American Games Dressage

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico, Sept. 26–A record 12 national teams will compete in dressage at next month’s Pan American Games , 11 of them seeking to qualify for two places at the 2012 Olympic Games. The United States has already qualified for London.

The 12 countries with confirmed teams are Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela. All but the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are sending teams of four riders to the Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. As three scores count, squads with four combinations can discard the lowest result.

In addition to the teams, Argentina, the Cayman Islands and Honduras will be represented by individual riders.

The United States is hot favorite to win its third straight team gold medal at the Pan Ams, held once every four years at small tour. The U.S. qualified for the Olympics at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky last year.

So the two Olympic spots will be contested by the other 11 countries.

Many riders are based in the United States or western Europe.

For example, Colombia’s team for which Margot Otto-Crépin, the French Olympic medalist will be coach, includes Pan Am Games silver medalist Marco Bernal who is based in Wellington, Florida, and Constanza Jaramillo Calderón, who bought Wakana from Ulla Salzgeber this summer and trains with the Olympic gold medalist in Germany.

The Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz, who medaled at the 2003 Pan Ams in Santo Domingo and again at Rio de Janeiro in 2007, is also based in Wellington along with many other Latin American competitors.

This year will be the last in which the small tour competition will act as an Olympic qualifier, a move that is widely opposed in the Americas as it is feared it may lead to dressage being dropped from the Pan Ams as few countries will be able to assemble a team of three Grand Prix combinations.

Countries that have already qualified for London in 2012 are host Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Spain and the United States.

Two nations will qualify in the Pan Am dressage Oct. 16=17 and two nations from Asia, Africa and Oceania will qualify in competitions in Sydney, Australia Oct. 28 and Ermelo, The Netherlands on Nov. 2.