Picture Postcards from Munich

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USA team jackets, for the first time one of the most common sights around the Nürnberger arena that is the center of dressage at the Munich CDI5*/3*/1* that is one of the biggest horse shows in Germany. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
USA team jackets, for the first time one of the most common sights around the Nürnberger arena that is the center of dressage at the Munich CDI5*/3*/1* that is one of the biggest horse shows in Germany. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Seven American riders and eight of their horses competed at Big and Small tour seeking to win selection to the U.S. team for the Pan American Games in Toronto less than two months away.

The European tour of three top shows and a “home” event at their base near Munich is the first headline performance by about two dozen American combinations set to compete in four Nations Cups–Rotterdam; Falsterbo, Sweden; Hagen, Germany and Hickstead, England as well as other top shows.

In what amounts to the American dressage community taking control of its own destiny, about $2 million will be raised from major sponsors to pay for this unprecedented effort to put American teams back on Olympic and World Games medals pedestals from which they have been absent since the 2006 WEG (Steffen Peters won two individual medals on Ravel at the Kentucky world championships).

Kimberly Herslow on Rosamrin led American domination of the small tour--taking four of the five top spots in the Prix St. Georges and the top three in the Intermediate 1. Small tour performances are critical as team for the Pan American Games require only one Grand Prix combination on a team of four if the gold medal winner wants to field a team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Kim and Rosmarin leading the victory gallop ahead of Sabine Schut-Kerry on Sanceo and to the left Olivia LaGoy-Weltz on Lonoir. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Kimberly Herslow on Rosamrin led American domination of the small tour–taking four of the five top spots in the Prix St. Georges and the top three in the Intermediate 1. Small tour performances are critical as teams for the Pan American Games require only one Grand Prix combination on a squad of four if the gold medal winner wants to start in the Nations Cup at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Kim and Rosmarin leading the victory gallop ahead of Sabine Schut-Kerry on Sanceo and, to the left, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz on Lonoir. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The performance by the Americans at both Prix St. Georges and Grand Prix levels drew attention from other teams and spectators not just for the results but also for team cameraderie, support for each other though half the squad will be disappointed because they won’t make the final cut. The atmosphere was described as “living like sorority sisters”–all but one of the seven American riders were women.

Not only other riders and the ever-present U.S. coaches Robert Dover and Debbie McDonald but coaches of other riders showed up to watch a ride by Sabine Schut-Kery on Sanceo as they did for others--Johan Hinnemann who coaches Steffen Peters and Kathleen Raine and Juan Matute who coaches Kasey Perry and the Pierre St. Jacques and Susan Dutta as the official selection "eyes" whose job was presumably made easy. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com Not only other riders and the ever-present U.S. coaches Robert Dover and Debbie McDonald but coaches of other riders showed up to watch a ride by Sabine Schut-Kery on Sanceo as they did for others–Johan Hinnemann who coaches Steffen Peters and Kathleen Raine and Juan Matute who coaches Kasey Perry, and Pierre St. Jacques and Susan D