Canada’s three Big Tour riders all competed in the Individual Final in Quillota, each producing solid freestyle tests. Ecuador’s Julio Mendoza Loor, who trains in South Carolina, won the gold with Jewel’s Goldstrike, the first medal for Ecuador in dressage at a Pan American Games. Silver was won by Brazil’s Joao Victor Marcari and Feel Good VO, while bronze went to Anna Marek of the US with Fire Fly.
The competition included 20 combinations made up of the 15 highest-ranked Big Tour combinations and the five remaining slots went to the highest-ranked Small and Big Tour combinations from the Intermediare I or Grand Prix Special (with a maximum of three riders per country).
Mathilde Blais Tetrault and Fedor were the first in for Canada, scoring 74.195, including the 3% bump that the Big Tour riders have been getting throughout the competition because of the higher degree of difficulty of their tests. They finished the competition in 12th.
“I’m excited, that was pretty good. I wish I didn’t do the mistakes we did so the score would have been way higher, but that’s life,” she said after acknowledging the error in the flying change. “It’s been a really long week for him and the fact that I was able to compete in all three tests, I’m pretty grateful. I’m just going to enjoy this moment.”
Next up for Team Canada was Camille Carier Bergeron and Sound of Silence 4, who earned a score of 78.915% with a fantastic test that placed them 7th overall as Canada’s top-placed combination.
“He felt really on my aids and really relaxed. More relaxed than usual, so maybe he was a bit tired after all this week, but he didn’t show it. He was with me and did everything I asked. He’s building his confidence in there, I think he really started to like the stadium, so it was really, really cool.
“Everything was just really harmonious,” she said of their test. “I remember creating this pattern at the beginning of the year. It was our first year of Grand Prix and I thought to myself ‘I might be making this too hard. I’m really putting my standards up.’ Now it just felt so easy going in there; I knew where we were going, and we had time. It was good to step back and think we made a lot of progress in the last year, so I’m really excited.”
The final Canadian combination of Naima Moreira Laliberte and Statesman had a nice test with only one mistake in the one-tempis to score 77.130 to finish in 10th overall.
“It was mission accomplished,” said Laliberte after. “We had many ups and downs. In the end, we are very happy and I’m really happy. My horse tried his best, so I can’t ask for more.
“I’m relieved this is over. It’s been fun but I feel like I lost a year of my life this week,” she said, laughing. “I don’t stress so much for myself, but I stress for my teammates while watching them. I just want it so badly.”
All three riders have plans to spend the winter season in Florida to try and qualify to end up on the team for next year’s Paris Olympics.
In addition to the team Olympic berths handed out on Monday, there were two individual Paris spots awarded today. The first went to Ecuador based on the gold medal earned by Loor, and the second went to Chile based on the 8th place finish by Svenja Grimm and Doctor Rossi.