Articles: Press Release
Team USA's Lauren Sammis Leads in Dressage Competition at the XV Pan
American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2007
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil-Equestrian competition began on Saturday morning
at the National Equestrian Center at Deodoro, outside of Rio de Janeiro.
Up first for the three disciplines contested in the Pan American Games
was dressage, and there was one American to take to the arena-Lauren
Sammis. At the end of the 13 riders going on Saturday (one from
Columbia withdrew), she sat in the early lead headed into Sunday's Round
Two that will see the other two American teammates-Katherine Poulin-Neff
and Christopher Hickey-put down their scores in hopes of bringing home a
Team medal for the U.S.
Today's competition not only served for the Team Final in dressage, but
also as part of the Individual Qualifier. All three American riders have
high hopes of making the cut to compete for an Individual medal to be
awarded on Wednesday.
Sammis and her mount entered the sun-soaked arena just after the
morning's first break and looked confident aboard her eight-year-old
Dutch Warmblood gelding Sagacious HF. And with a vocal contingent of her
fellow Americans in the stands, she had to be pleased with the support
she received. This was her debut performance at the Pan American Games,
and international competition in general.
It was a strong debut effort for the rider from South Orange, New
Jersey. Both horse and rider seemed controlled and confident and scored
Sammis, who competes and teaches fulltime, brought her "A" game today,
displaying textbook center lines.
"I'm pleased...really pleased," said Sammis who began riding Sagacious
HF last year in January. The ride seemed to go without any hitches, with
the exception of a fleeting moment when Sagacious HF seemed to spook as
workers were walking behind the judges' stand. But, this is not a
"spooky" horse, so he put it out of his mind and kept on with the work
What was the best part of Sammis' ride today? "The end!" she joked. "My
second shoulder in was quite nice. I was a little bit of a passenger for
the first shoulder in. In all, I just feel so blessed to ride this horse
that I just enjoy every minute of it. I just know that it is a gift."
Sammis said that over the last few days she had not felt so secure in
his changes, but they were definitely secure enough today according to
the score awarded by the judges.
"Over the last couple of days, I've not felt so secure in them," she
said. "I did one line of changes today before I went in, and he, in the
ring, always pulls through on them. Now that he knows it, I don't mess
with it very much."
As the first rider representing Team USA, Sammis knew that she would not
only be setting a standard to build upon, but giving the international
panel of judges a first taste of what the Americans brought to Rio. She
would also be giving them a first impression of what she can do in the
"I went in there today to give the judges and impression of what we [the
team] are going to be," she said. "Also, they [will] know that the U.S.
in bringing out all the guns, and we are here for real."
With her first international team test under her belt, Sammis reflected
on just how special it is for her to make it to the "big international
team league" and some of the people she was thinking about.
"One is to ride for Judy Guden [of Hyperion Farms], who has breast
cancer, and to ride for her means more than riding for any international
judges here," she said. "And, I love the opportunity of riding on the
international level. It's something that you dream about from the time
you start riding...making a team. In reality...I ride for the people
that are in my life."
Day Two of dressage starts on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. and the two
remaining American riders will add their scores to the American count.
At the end of tomorrow's competition, the Team medals will be awarded.
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,
para-equestrian, reining, show jumping and vaulting. With over 87,000
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.
Vision Statement: The vision of United States Equestrian Federation(r)
is to provide leadership for equestrian sport in the United States of
America, promoting the pursuit of excellence from the grassroots to the
Olympic Games, based on a foundation of fair, safe competition and the
welfare of its horses, and embracing this vision, to be the best
national equestrian federation in the world.