USA Not to Hold Head-to-Head Trials for Pan American Games Team

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Teams of Canada, USA and Colombia on the medals podium at the 2011 Pan American Games. All three qualified--the USA at the 2010 World Equestrian Games and Canada and Colombia at the Pan Ams. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Teams of Canada, USA and Colombia on the medals podium at the 2011 Pan American Games. All three qualified–the USA at the 2010 World Equestrian Games and Canada and Colombia at the Pan Ams. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Dec. 4, 2014

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The United States team for the Pan American Games next July will not be selected through a head-to-head trial and the national championships that have been the usual team competition will be held later in 2015.

The U.S. Equestrian Federation said Thursday that the selection procedures for the Pan Am team are expected to published by mid-December and details of the national championships known as the Festival of Champions available by Jan. 1.

“It is anticipated that the USEF Selection Procedures for the 2015 Pan American Games Dressage Team will be published by mid-December upon approval by the USOC (U.S. Olympic Committee),” the federation said.

“The proposed selection process will not include a head-to-head Selection Trial in the United States.”

It said the Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. will be held later in 2015 and that details of date and location are expected to be published by Jan. 1.

The festival of national championships includes six divisions: USEF Pony Rider, AGCO/USEF Junior, AGCO/USEF Young Rider, USEF Young Adult “Brentina Cup,” The Dutta Corp/USEF Intermediaire I and The Dutta Corp/USEF Grand Prix.

Selection of the American team for the 2015 Pan Ams has been complicated by a new format for the continental championships and the July competition date with entries required a month earlier.

The Pan Ams, one of the world’s largest multidiscipline sporting events, are scheduled for Toronto with dressage competition July 10-14.

The Games are critical for both the United States and host Canada as only one team can earn a berth through the Pan Ams for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, unlike previous years when two teams could qualify for an Olympic start.

The new format for the Pan Ams provides for teams of mixed Grand Prix and Prix St. Georges combinations unlike small tour qualification that applied at previous championships held once every four years.

Only teams of up to four horse and rider combinations that include at least one Grand Prix combination can qualify at the Pan Ams for the Olympics.

That provision realistically tilts the odds in favor of Canada and the United States.

Nations can, however, qualify so-called “composite” teams for the Olympics through individual rankings, requiring a minimum of three combinations.

The USEF told dressage-news.com that a multiyear extension of The Dutta Corp. title sponsorship of the Festival of Champions as well as individual sponsorship of the Grand Prix and Intermediaire Championships was still being finalized.