Pan American Games Dressage Competition Photo Gallery – Part 1 of 2

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Canadian silver medal team prefer a group hug to posing for photos on the medals podium at the Pan American Games. The USA won gold and Colombia bronze for their first ever team invitation to an Olympics. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The Pan American Games are the second largest sporting event in the world behind their big brother, the Olympics, and held once every four years, mainly as a qualifier for national teams for the following year’s Games but also as a celebration of athletic endeavors in the New World.

While equestrian sports are not at Big Tour level, in dressage, for example, the competition is just as fierce at Prix St. Georges/Intermediaire as the European Championships are at Grand Prix.

At these Games, the 16th, a record of 12 nations sent teams to contest the dressage Nations Cup, most with four riders, demonstrating both growth and commitment throughout the Americas. With Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in just five years, the Americans (meaning those who live in the 50 or so countries and another two dozen dependencies from pin pricks in the Caribbean to economic and population behemoths like Brazil, Mexico and the U.S.) will be looking to celebrate only the second Olympics in Latin America. The first was Mexico City in 1968.

The dressage competition was at the Guadalajara Cuntry Club, a beautiful shaded sports enclave 20 minutes from the center of Mexico’s second largest city.

The competition facilities were first rate, from stabling to footing (sand and wood chips that won lots of praise and not a single complaint) to security (polite and friendly and not needed) to spectator seating (when was the last time the stands were near full for the opening morning of a championship anywhere? though hot sun in the open stands drove out spectators in the afternoons) to almost always full VIP sections to a media center with working communications and as friendly and helpful as the best press rooms.

For the record, this correspondent heard nothing but praise for the judges, nothing negative whispered off the record. The judges were Stephen Clarke of Great Britain, president of the ground jury, Gabriel Armando of Argentina, Lilo Fore of the United States, Cara Whitham of Canada and Raphael Saleh of France.

To the delight of the non-Mexicans, the flavor of the show was Mexican, as shown by these ladies leading in the individual medalists for the magnificent awards ceremonies.

Women riding side saddle leading individual medal winners at the Pan American Games. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Bearing precious gifts of gold, silver, bronze, flowers and Mexican dolls for the champions at the Pan Ameican Games. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Canada's Tom Dvorak on Viva's Salieri W. Tom is a Pan Am veteran and was the only serious threat to a U.S. sweep, leading his team to the siver medal and through the two individual phases to finish fourth individually © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

Germany's Ulla Salzgeber, one of the most recognizable dressage riders and trainers in the world with Olympic gold and World Cup titles to her credit, all alone watching her star student, Constanza Jaramillo of Colombia competing in the Intermediaire Freestyle for individual medals. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
One of the new stars of the Americas, Constanza Jaramillo of Colombia riding Wakana. The mare was bought from Ulla Salzgeber with whom Constanza trains only in July. Although the mare was dropped back to Prix St. Georges from the Ulla-trained Grand Prix, Constanza turned in an amazing performance to finish third individually in the team competition and led her nation to bronze and their first ever invitation to send a team to the Olympics. In the individual placings she was sixth, the highest ranked combination after USA and Canadian pairs. Constanza is heading back to Germany to train with Ulla in readiness for London. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Friesian horses tracing their heritage to The Netherlands are not unusual in dressage, but are not common in Latin American dressage. Ecuador's Julio Cesar Mendoza on Ivan at the Pan American Games. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Sergeant Luiza Almeida Novaes Tavares! The 20year-old was recently inducted into the Brazilian Army so she could compete in the military games. She can quit any time she likes, but while Luiza remains in the miltary (boot camp, not required) she must wear the uniform in championships. As a teenager, she won the hearts of the crowd at the 2008 Olympics on Samba. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
In top hat and tails, Luiza Almeida on Samba at 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Rogerio Clementino on Sargento do Top, a team mate of Luiza's on the medal-winning squad at home in 2007 as well as in Guadalajara, wanted no part of the announcer's request for quiet during the rides. Rogerio urging the crowd to make as much noise as they want in the midst of his freestyle. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

Dominican Republic's Yvonne Losos de Muñiz on Dondolo Las Marismas in her third Pan Am Games. She won bronze in Santo Domingo in 2003 and Rio de Janiero in 2007. Her scores in Guadalajara clinched her an individual berth at the London Olympics next year. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Bernadette Pujals, Mexico's star dressage rider, on IUSA Rolex to finish first for the host nation. Bernadette admitted that the loud support from the crowds was a little distracting for her young horse. The Spanish-born rider has competed at Olympics and World Equestrian Games and rated these Pan Ams at home as equal to the best championships she has experienced. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com