Gold and a ticket to Tokyo !

Despite the fact that some people think watching dressage is as exciting as watching paint dry there are times when dressage competition can be an edge of the seat nail biter! This is how it was at the Pan American Games in Lima today. The Canadian dressage team, of four riders, were under a lot of pressure. They had to win a medal in order to secure a berth to send a dressage team to the Tokyo Olympics. Yesterday was the first day of competition. The Canadian team had four horse rider combinations. First to go were Tina Irwin and Lindsay Kellock competing in the Prix St. George.

Lindsay Kellock and Floratina
Tina Irwin and Laurencio

They both had good rides and for some time they were in the lead with Tina scoring 73.375 and Lindsay 73.176. But…the last horse and rider to go were the American rider Sarah Lochman and her horse First Apple who swept into the lead to take the win with 76.088.

Then came the Grand Prix level of the competition. Naima Moriera Laliberte riding Statesman came in and did a marvelous ride for a score of 71.413 to win the class.

Naima Moriera Laliberte and Statesman.

The second Canadian rider , Jill Irving and her horse Degas 12 also did well with a 68.391.

Jill Irving and Degas 12

As the Grand Prix is a higher level than the Prix St. George the highest Grand Prix score of a team is awarded an extra 1.5% and this went to Naima.

At the end of the day Team USA was a gnats whisker ahead. The totals were USA 219.970 and Canada 219.828. Brazil was in 3rd place with 204.472 It could not have been closer for Canada and the US. It did look like Canada would get a medal and a berth for Tokyo. But those riders wanted the gold and they went for it.

The second day got off to a good start with Tina scoring 73.853 in the Intermediare 1 and Lindsay 73.147. Then came the Grand Prix Special. The USA had won the Intermediare 1 with Sarah Lochman scoring 75.912. It was going to be very tight for that gold medal!

At the barn this afternoon and we were all on tenterhooks waiting for results. When Naima rode my coach Belinda Trussell and I both had live results coming up on our phones. As each movement was completed the score would go up from each judge. It was going well. “I think she can do it.” Belinda said. “Come on Naima!” Movement by movement the scores went up. Then the final tallies for the final scores. We waited. “I think she’s done it” Belinda said. Then….. yes…..it looked like her score of 71.787 would be enough. Adding the 1.5% to the highest score of a team that took her score to 73.287. YES!! Team Canada’s total 440.11, the USA 437.7921 and Brazil 408.696.

Belinda and I jumped up and down and gave each other a hug. Team Canada Dressage had won the Gold Medal and a berth for the Olympic games in Tokyo 2020.

Congratulations to all the riders: Tina Irwin, Lindsay Kellock, Jill Irving and Naima Laliberte. I would like to add that Naima is 22 years old and this is her first time representing her country in a major international competition. The pressure was really on her to go out there and be the one to get the top score that would win the Gold Medal for Canada. She did it. In my humble opinion that is a considerable feat.

The next stage of the Pan Am dressage competition will be the individual medal competition. So there is more to look forward to.

All the photos of the riders in Lima are by Cealy Tetley who is the official photographer. Thank you to Jessie Christie of Equestrian Canada for making these photos available to me. The featured cover photo is of Jill Irving, taken by me, last year at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon N.C. I thought the Canadian flag on the horse’s fly bonnet was appropriate!

20 Comments Add yours

  1. txjessy says:

    Awesome, will you fly to Tokyo to watch live?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      No I’m afraid not. I did try to get media accreditation but they give put very few. I will be watching from afar.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. txjessy says:

        It’ll be great either way. You can’t say you didn’t try :).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Exactly. Thanks for this comment! We always have to try.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Tina Schell says:

    As you know Anne, I don’t know much at all about dressage, but I do know photography and your opening photograph is absolutely stunning! Your love of horses puts you in a place where you capture the essence of horse in your images. Just magical.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Tina I appreciate this comment very much.

      Like

  3. dprastka says:

    WOW!! How thrilling, edge of your seat kind of day and CONGRATULATIONS!! ~ Team Canada! ❀️ How can you not be so proud! I hope team USA gets to go to Tokyo too! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes Team USA has qualified last year as they won the Silver Medal at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon NC.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s awesome dear Anne, it must have been wonderful to witness! Congratulations to all the team! πŸ€—πŸŽπŸ₯•πŸ₯•πŸ₯•πŸ₯•

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Vicky Earle says:

    Great report and wonderful results! Go Canada!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it is. Thanks for leaving a comment Vicky!

      Like

  6. Your writing made the post exciting. Congrats to the team.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Michael I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Like

  7. Lignum Draco says:

    Congratulations to the team. What a close score and I’m sure you were all doing the mental arithmetic as it was going on. Gook luck with the individual competition as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I enjoy watching Dressage. My daughter used to teach/coach it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      There are some excellent dressage riders in Australia. I’m glad you like watching it.

      Like

  9. Congratulations to the team.

    Liked by 2 people

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