Steffen Peters acknowledges the crowd after the finish of his freestyle ride. Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography
Tuesday’s dressage freestyle competition to determine the individual dressage medals was an absolutely super day! The weather early in the day before competition started was rainy and it looked to be settling in for the entire day. But, by the time the first horse went down centerline it had cleared up and except for a few sprinkles during the third ride the day was rain free with a light breeze and even turned partly sunny by late afternoon.
Sabine Schut-Kery and the stallion Sanceo performed the Intermediaire freestyle test ride first thing in the morning after it was decided that the fourth riders for the U.S. and Canada would not be allowed to compete for medals. Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography
Despite the disappointment over the fourth riders not being allowed to compete, the 21 freestyle rides were very enjoyable and the crowds enthusiastically showed their appreciation for each and every ride. There was some great music and fun choreography. Riders from a dozen nations participated: Argentina; Brazil; Canada; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; Guatemala; Mexico; Puerto Rico, and the United States of America.
After problems in their Grand Prix Special ride on Sunday, Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 of the U.S.A., who performed third from last today, had a nearly flawless ride in the freestyle and took the gold with an 80.075%. Peters was over the moon with the results and said he and Legolas’ owners Jerry Yang and his wife Akiko Yamazaki and their daughters planned to celebrate this evening. He also said that Legolas would get a well deserved vacation and that they may or may not participate in the National Championships to be held in Florida in December.
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 owned by Four Winds Farm displaying outstanding lateral work during the Grand Prix freestyle ride. Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography
Laura Graves and Verdades from the U.S. were the final ride of the day. They had the top score in the Grand Prix Special on Sunday, and put in a lovely, but a bit subdued, freestyle ride to take second with a 79.825%. Graves commented afterward that Verdades was tired and she had never been put in the situation to have to “rev up” him up before going into the ring.
Laura Graves and Verdades of the U.S.A. are known for their lovely freestyle. Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography
The home crowd was delighted with the absolutely spot-on freestyle produced by Christopher von Martels and Zilverstar. The very promising young combination produced a personal best score of 79.500% to take the bronze. Canadian riders also took fourth (Belinda Trussell and Anton and fifth (Brittany Fraser and All In) with equal scores of 76.800%. For a full set of results from dressage, visit results.toronto2015.org.
Next up are the eventers. Thursday is their first horse inspection and a tour of the cross-country course for the media, so I’ll have more news and photos then.
Kimberly Herslow’s and Rosmarin’s trot work was superb in their Intermediaire freestyle. After the Games Herslow plans to more Rosmarin up to Grand Prix and hopes for a spot on the U.S.A.’s team for the Rio Olympics next year. Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography
Steffen Peters and U.S. dressage team chef d’equipe Robert Dover congratulate Sabine Schut-Kery on the great job she did riding Sanceo at her first major games. Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography
Joao Paulo Dos Santos from Brazil wowed the crowd with his one-handed ride on Veleiro Do Top. They finished ninth in the freestyle. Photo by Jen Emig/MacMillan Photography
Julio Mendoza Loor of Ecuador had only been riding his horse Chardonnay for 10 months prior to the Games. He was thrilled with the 69.800% they achieved in their Intermediaire I freestyle test. Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography
Canadian Olympic rider Jacquelyn Brooks was named alternate to this year’s Canadian Pan Am Team, so she decided to volunteer when she didn’t get to ride. She gave all of the riders high fives as they came out of the ring and lead the crowd in doing the wave during the breaks. Photo by Jen Emig/MacMillan Photography
The 2015 Pan American Games individual medalists in dressage (left to right): Laura Graves, U.S.A., silver; Steffen Peters, U.S.A., gold, and Christopher von Martels, Canada, bronze. Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography
Chris von Martels was so happy to represent his country on the medal podium in his first major games. Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography
With her first individual games medal tucked safely in her jacket, Laura Graves concentrated on keeping an exuberant Verdades under wraps during the victory gallop. Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography
No stranger to winning medals, Steffen Peters says he enjoys each victory like it was the first. Photo by Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography