Articles: Press Release
American Dressage Riders Stand at First, Third in Individual Dressage
Medal at Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
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Web site: www.usef.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2007
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil-When most people think of Rio, sunshine comes
quickly to mind. However, that was not the case today at Deodoro Stadium
and the National Equestrian Center outside of the city. Clouds, the
threat of rain showers and cooler temperatures loomed, but it was a
rather bright day for the hopes of the American dressage riders as all
three of them competed in the first of two rounds that will determine
the Individual medals for the discipline.
But, the Americans would have to wait until late in the day to take to
the arena. In fact, the three Americans were of the last six riders to
go. That made for a long day for those who were waving their red, white
and blue flags that have been seen dotting the stand's landscape. It was
all well worth the wait.
Scores from the dressage team final were wiped clean and riders started
anew. The Monday competition determined the top 15 riders that would
move forward to Wednesday's Individual final, and all three Americans
made the grade.
Leading the Yankee pack was Maryland's Christopher Hickey and Regent, a
nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Brenna Kucinski. The pair
scored a 69.350%, which was enough to land them in first place overall
going into the final phase of Individual competition - the Intermediaire
freestyle. Hickey and Regent were only one of two pairings (the other
being Dominican rider Yvonne Losos de Muniz aboard Bernstein las Maris)
to crack the 70% mark today among any of the judges' scores.
"Today, I felt a little bit more secure in the collection and,
therefore, he [Regent] was a little bit more balanced, and had better
self-carriage," he said. "I was able to ride boldly, but also keep him a
bit more underneath himself. It allowed me to be more expressive in the
extensions, and I was very pleased overall."
The only small problems came in the form of a change in the first
three-tempi in the line of three where there was a mistake, plus a
bobble in the first extended trot which cost a few points. Those things
withstanding, Hickey said he was happy with the day's effort.
"I felt like we came in the ring today, and we felt like we were ready
to do a good job," he said.
Second in line for the Americans was New Jersey's Lauren Sammis on a
score of 68.550% aboard Sagacious HF, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood
gelding owned by Al and Judy Guden of Hyperion Farm. It was a very nice
test, but one flaw surfaced in some botched tempis to possibly cost her
the lead going into the final day. However, she is in striking distance
to come back on Wednesday to make things right. She finished the day in
third place overall going in to the final phase of competition.
"Sagacious was pretty fresh today...and he is getting fresher as the
time goes on instead of being tired," she said. "He's like a little
Energizer Bunny, and I'm very pleased about that because when it does
come time for us to do the grand prix in the future, we are going to
need a horse that's got that extra push to carry me through."
After the qualifier in Gladstone, NJ, earlier this year, Sammis said to
expect some changes in her freestyle, ones that would enhance its level
of difficulty and raise the stakes in Rio. Today, she was coy about
specifics, but said there were some "surprises" in store for Wednesday.
"With the suggestion of quite a few professionals that I respect, I did
change some things a bit," she said. "Obviously, you don't change the
entire thing coming into something like this, but it's a little bit
harder. For me, the freestyle is a blast and just a lot of fun. I have a
great time in the freestyle - win or lose or whatever the scores are. I
just have a great time, and I'm excited about it. Let the chips lay
where they will."
Last for Team USA, but certainly not least, was Ohio's Katherine
Poulin-Neff with a score of 66.350%, enough to seat her at sixth place
(her same overall seating after the team final) going into Wednesday's
wrap-up of dressage competition.
Aboard Brilliant Too, owned by her mother, Sharon Poulin, Katherine put
in a conservative performance that seemed to be holding something back.
An unrealized rein back at C and a flawed right pirouette were among
some technical flubs.
"My horse was really nervous in there today. When I tracked to the left
when you do the extended trot across the diagonal, and also in my
extended trot in that direction, there was just something in the stands
that he [Brilliant Too] saw. He just didn't want to go in that
direction," she said. "There were no major mistakes, just some tension
issues...it's just been a real learning experience for the both of us.
My horse has never been in a stadium before, and I'm really happy with
how it went taking into consideration what happened."
For her first international competition, and the youngest member of the
entire U.S. equestrian contingent, she showed incredible poise and
Dominican rider Losos de Muniz is nestled in second place overall
between the Americans, and also performed a strong test. She is
accompanied in the top five finishers by Canadian Tom Dvorak and
Beaumarchais (fourth place - 67.900%) and Argentinean Vera Protzen and
Kadirmo (fifth place - 66.900%).
There was also a real sense of gratitude from the three riders for the
work that has been done for them to make it to the Pan American Games.
All three riders agreed in saying they were thankful for the team behind
"From quarantine to the Deodoro venue...there have been so many comforts
for the riders," said Hickey. "We are very, very lucky to have a team
behind us that thought ahead of any problems."
With all three riders in the top 15, chances are enhanced for an
American (or two, or three) to be standing atop the medals podium. An
American has not won an Individual dressage medal at the Pan American
Games since Debbie McDonald's Gold medal at the 1999 Winnipeg Games.
As the National Governing Body (NGB) of Equestrian Sport, the United
States Equestrian Federation(r), Inc. (USEF) is the regulatory body for
28 breeds and disciplines, including our country's international teams
competing in the disciplines of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing,
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members, it is the country's largest multi-breed organization and
annually license more than 2,800 competitions nationwide. The USEF
governs all aspects of competition, including education and licensing of
all judges, stewards, and technical delegates who officiate shows.
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