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Greetings from Toronto! Our MacMillan Photography crew is covering the 2015 Pan American Games equestrian events this month for Horse Illustrated. My husband Allen, photographer extraordinaire, and our three great associate photographers: Jen Emig from Mascoutah, Illinois; Shelley Higgins, from Orangeville, Ontario, and Sarah E. Miller from Indianapolis, Indiana, are here covering the action.
Shelley lives at her Shellcrest Farm just outside of Orangeville, Ontario. The rest of us are very lucky to be staying with wonderful hosts Deb and John Lowcock in the rolling hill country of Mono, Ontario, about half an hour from the main Pan Am horse show park at Caledon Equestrian Center. The Pan Am cross-country course is located at Will O’Wind Farm about five minutes from our host home.
The Pan American Games include all of the North, Central and South American countries as well as the Caribbean Islands. They are held every four years one year before the Olympic Games and are operated under Olympic rules by the International Olympic Committee. In many cases they can be the qualifying competition for countries to go on to the next Olympic Games. This year is critical for the U.S. and Canadian dressage teams as only one of the two will qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics assuming that one of them wins gold and the other team will stay home (unless they can qualify enough individual competitors to make a team).
Since there’s no live streaming or TV coverage available in the U.S., we’ll do our best to give you a few snippets of news and some photos from each day.
July 9 – First Horse Inspection for Dressage
First up on the Pan Am equestrian schedule is dressage. At the FEI level, the horses all have to pass a horse inspection for soundness and well being. Two days before going down centerline for their first tests, the 43 dressage horses strutted their stuff in front of the veterinary committee. Thanks to Shelley Higgins who photographed the horse inspection for us and who also bravely caught up a loose horse who got away from his handler at the jog. Way to go Shelley!