Launched in 1951, the Pan American Games are a multi-sport championship held once every four years that also serves as a qualifying event for countries to earn spots in the Olympic Games. The 2019 Pan American Games are now underway in Lima, Peru, featuring the three Olympic disciplines of dressage, jumping and eventing – the first two of which we will see at the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas next April. The dressage competition was held last week and it was very exciting to say the least!
During the two-day team competition, riders competed at both the Small Tour (Prix St. Georges/Intermediate 1) and Big Tour (Grand Prix/Grand Prix Special) levels. Canada clinched the team Gold medal with a final score of 440.111 to narrowly edge the U.S. who won team Silver on 437.791. Brazil claimed team Bronze with 408.696. As a result, both Canada and Brazil have qualified to compete in next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo (the U.S. had already qualified by winning the team Silver medal at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon).
Canada fielded two Small Tour and two Big Tour partnerships. Three of their combinations – Lindsay Kellock on Floratina, Tina Irwin on Laurencio and Naima Moreira-Laliberté on Statesman – all posted scores above 73 percent, while their fourth team member, Jill Irving on Degas 12, scored 67.851.
Canada’s 22-year-old Moreira-Laliberté is the daughter of Guy Laliberté, co-founder of Cirque du Soleil which offers several amazing shows you can see while in Las Vegas (remember to book tickets early!). She competed at the Big Tour level and led her team in both rounds. She was thrilled with her horse. “This is my first year of Grand Prix, my sixth competition at this level and my first major Games,” she said.
Led by Chef d’Equipe Debbie McDonald (2003 FEI World Cup champion), the three-rider U.S. contingent included Nora Batchelder and Faro SQF, Jennifer Baumert with Handsome, and Sarah Lockman aboard First Apple. New to Championship-level competitions, they performed extremely well in winning three medals, the team Silver plus individual Gold and Bronze.
“I’m really proud of the team and their performances,” said McDonald. “There is a lot to look forward to when you look at the direction of this program and I believe the future is very bright. The more international and championship exposure we can give our athletes, the better we become as a team. Overall, I think everyone handled the environment to the best of their ability, and these riders have each benefited greatly as a group and individually from this experience.”
In the individual competition, the USA’s Sarah Lockman and First Apple won the Gold medal with a personal best score of 78.980% in the Freestyle to music. This made it three times in a row that the U.S. has taken the Pan Am individual Gold, following wins by Steffen Peters (2009 FEI World Cup champion) in 2011 and 2015. This was the U.S.’s ninth individual Dressage title at the Pan American Games!
“I am over the moon excited about it!” said Lockman, who also had the highest individual score in the team competition. “It’s everything I ever dreamed of and wanted. I’m just so proud of my horse and thankful to everyone who helped get me here. This is my first time representing the U.S. and it’s such a different feeling as our sport is for the most part an individual sport. This (the team competition) has brought a different element and I love it. It’s amazing seeing our flag raised; it’s definitely a rush and something I will never forget!”
Canada’s Tina Irwin on Laurencio added to her team Gold, winning the individual Silver with a Freestyle score of 77.780%. America’s Jennifer Baumert on Handsome won the individual Bronze on 75.755%!
Dressage – with the Biggest of the Big Tour stars! – will be one of two equestrian disciplines on display when the world’s best horses and riders come to Las Vegas next April 15-19 to compete in the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals. Less than two weeks remain for you to take advantage of an exclusive pre-sale opportunity for All-Session tickets before they go on sale to the general public. To take advantage of this exclusive opportunity, go to www.worldcuplasvegas.com/world-cup-club and join the World Cup Club right now. Membership is FREE and it will give you an inside edge on getting the best available seats as well as the latest breaking news, host hotel updates, hospitality information and much more!
All-Session Ticket Packages are available as follows:
*Additional fees may apply
All VIP ticket holders will have access to the impressive Taylor Harris Club presented by Lugano Diamonds which will be an amazing experience. Located in the Thomas & Mack Center’s brand new Strip View Pavilion, the new 36,000 square-foot, two-story magnificent VIP space has an outdoor patio overlooking the stabling area with spectacular views of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. Access to the Taylor Harris Club, presented by Lugano Diamonds will provide:
- VIP seating in the first four rows of the venue
- Easy access from seats to the VIP area
- VIP Food & Beverage
- Live music
- An exclusive entrance to the venue for VIP ticket holders only
- Large screen TVs so no one has to miss any action
- Complimentary World Cup Souvenir Program
- Complimentary Day Sheets
The Thomas & Mack Center will be the place to be next April for equestrian sports’ biggest annual championship. Join me in the Entertainment Capital of the World, April 15-19, 2020, for a week you’ll never forget and to see who will be crowned World Cup Champion in both jumping and dressage!
Further information on the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas, and the chance to join the World Cup Club, is available at the event’s official website at www.WorldCupLasVegas.com.