Pan Am Games Equestrian Venue Get Thumbs Up from USA’s Steffen Peters

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Pan American Games equestrian venue at the Guadalajara Country Club.

GUADALAJARA, Mexico, Oct. 14–Riders and horses from 15 nations–a record 12 teams and three individuals–scheduled training sessions for Saturday at the equestrian venue of the Pan American Games, with the facility receiving a thumbs up from U.S. Olympian Steffen Peters despite soaking rains from the remnants of Hurricane Jova.

The 42 nations participating in the 16th Pan Am Games paraded Friday night at the Omnilife Stadium. Mexican recording artist Vicente Fernandez sang the national anthem of Mexico to open the ceremonies. President of Mexico Felipe Calderon declared the Games open.

The Pan Ams held once every four years at Prix St. Georges for the team compettion, will qualify two teams for the Olympics in London next year. Intermediaire level will decide individual medals. The United States has already qualified for London so the battle for Olymic berths will be between the other 11 teams.

Dressage is the first of the three Olympic equestrian disciplines at the Guadalajara Country Club. It begins Sunday with the team title at Prix St. Georges with Intermediaire on Monday to begin the individual medal competition and the top 15 riders and horses moving on to the Freestyle that will be held Wednesday.

The U.S. is the hot favorite to win team gold and take two of the three individual medals–no nation can win more than two individual medals in equestrian competition under Pan Am Games rules.

Several teams, in addition to the U.S., have international level riders on their squads including Luiza de Almeida Tavare of Brazil, Bernadette Pujols of Mexico, Marco Bernal of Colombia, Tom Dvorak of Canada and Yvonne Losos de Muñiz of the Dominican Republic, the winner of individual bronze medals at the last two Pan Ams.

“A wonderful show facility,” Steffen Peters reported to, “with great stalls and good footing.

“Mexico and Guadalajara know how to put on a show. I’m very impressed.”