Though a seasoned team rider, this was Amy Millar’s first Pan American Games appearance, and she came away with sixth place to add to her team silver medal. The tough course caught up to her teammates Beth Underhill on Nikka Vd Bisschop and Tiffany Foster on Figor who finished 9th and 14th, respectively.

With a maximum of three entries per country, the first round saw 28 competitors compete over a difficult course set by Brazil’s Marina Azevedo that only produced three clear rounds, unfortunately none from the Canadians.

Tiffany Foster and Figor.

Tiffany Foster and Figor. (Cara Grimshaw photo)

To the great delight of the crowd, the first clear round of the day was from Chilean rider Augustin Covarrubias and Nelson du Petit Vevier. Covarrubia, who spent the bulk of the year competing in Mexico, had a rail and two time faults in the second round to left him in 13th overall with 24.96 faults.

Argentina’s Jose Maria Larocca and Finn Lente were the second clear in the first round, though five faults in the second put them to 8th place overall with 18.27 faults.

Brazil’s Stephan de Freitas Barcha and Chevaux Primavera Imperio Egipcio came into the competition in third place. The pair put in two clear rounds during team competition to help their team secure the gold medal, and added a third clear round in the first round of the individual final. They had a five-fault lead heading into the last round so despite having the last rail on course, the pair earned the individual gold.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” said a delighted Barcha over the cheering young fans who had gathered to get pictures with him. “Winning this kind of Championship for us in South America in Pan American is a dream come true. We work hard every day for day like this, it’s a long journey, no? There are a lot of things that we have to do to be ready for this time and we have just 60 seconds for our life? I’m really, really happy. I have a lot of people who work with me. I have a lot of friends who are happy in Brazil. I’m going to celebrate a lot today, but tomorrow we will start to focus on the next goal that is Paris. “

The USA’s Laura Kraut with Dorado 212 and McLain Ward and Contagious started the day holding the first two spots, but two rails on the course in the first round dropped Ward to fifth place heading into the second round while Kraut maintained her second place when she added four faults. Meanwhile, teammate Kent Farrington and Landon, who had started the day in eight place, improved to fourth place with four faults in the first round. The only clear round of the second round boosted them into the silver medal position.

“We had to battle from the back of the pack today,” said a smiling Farrington after. “He’s a very inexperienced horse jumping at this level. I thought he got better as the week went and I’m thrilled with the result.”

“It’s been a brilliant week for the American team,” said Ward with the medal around his neck. “The courses were brilliant today. The courses were very big, very hard. Everything that a Championship should be. I think [Marina Azevedo] did an A+ job.”

Millar and Truman started the day with an unfortunate eight faults, dropping the last two jumps in the first round. The pair appeared to be clear in the second round, but they had rubbed the oxer at 4b which stayed on the edge of the cup until the pair were at the very last jump which was eight jumping efforts later. After reviewing the video footage, it was clear that the rail came down as they were jumping and before they crossed the timers which, according to FEI rules, counts as four faults on course. Had the rail fallen two seconds later, after they had crossed the timers, it would have been worth a bronze medal, but the extra four faults left Millar in 6th place with a score of 17.71.

Beth Underhill and Nikka.

Beth Underhill and Nikka Vd Bisschop. (Cara Grimshaw photo)

“Today was a difficult day for our team,” commented Millar afterward. “When I was one stride from jump 10, the front rail of 4b came out of the cups, and for this I received four faults. I have never lost this way before. I congratulate McLain; he is undeniably an incredible athlete and I understand that with the way the rules are written he is the rightful bronze medalist. I congratulate all the medal winners today. However, I am deeply disappointed, Truman gave it his all out there and we all believed he jumped a clear round. It is especially disappointing because the result was the loss of a medal for Canada. This one will hurt for a while.”

Foster started the day in fifth with 4.40 faults, just 1.06 faults behind the leader. An uncharacteristic 12 faults in the first round followed by 10 faults in the second round left the pair in 14th overall.

“I thought my horse jumped well. I had a little extra luck in the Nations’ Cup and I didn’t have any luck in the first round here today,” said Foster. “He made a very slight error twice in a row, the same thing, and then at the end he maybe a little tired. He doesn’t often tire but it’s very hot here today.

“I thought he jumped amazing in the second round. I got a little too deep to the liverpool and I think that was my fault. And the same thing, the gas kind of went out to the last. You saw that with a lot of horses, but I’m still very proud of him and thought he jumped amazing.”

Underhill started the day in 11th position with 8.02 faults and added nine faults in the first round with two jumping and one time fault. A cautious trip in the second left all the fences up, but four time faults left her with 21.02 faults to finish in 9th.

“I’m very proud of Nikka this week,” said Underhill of the mare’s effort. “She jumped one of very few rounds with just time faults in the second round and showed a lot of class. She is still a young horse who is developing with a tremendous amount of quality. I am very happy we were able to contribute to Canada earning a team silver and a ticket to Paris.”

All the Canadians except for Underhill will be heading to The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair for the international week of competition where they will once again compete against Farrington and Ward and several other Pan Am riders.

Results here.