Tag Archives: USA

The Night That Changed Dressage Forever

It wasn’t just one of the great dressage performances of all time, it was the night that changed the sport forever!

An electrifying performance by U.S. rider Debbie McDonald and the magical chestnut mare Brentina at the 2005 FEI Dressage World Cup Final in Las Vegas broke all the rules and paved the way for dressage’s emergence as an entertaining spectator sport.

Traditionally, dressage had featured freestyle performances to classical music and audiences that would sit still and remain silent until the end of the performance. However, on this Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, the crowd could not contain itself. Debbie and Brentina performed to a medley of popular Motown hits and as they rode their last piaffe pirouette and passage down center line, set to Aretha Franklin’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T, the capacity crowd was standing and clapping to the music which made Debbie grin from ear-to-ear. As the pair danced to their final salute, the crowd erupted in cheering so loud that the building nearly shook ! It was pure magic and dressage has never been the same!

If you’ve never seen this remarkable performance, or if you want to see it again, click here. Be sure to turn up the volume and listen as the end of the performance nears to hear the crowd as it joins in. It still makes me smile!

“People still bring it up when they see me,” Debbie once told me. “And I have to say that I smile every time they do. I really do feel that it changed the way we present dressage and I think it played a major role in our sport’s growth. It was something special and I’m sure it is a night I will never forget!”

Peggy Thomas, who owned Brentina with her husband Parry, for whom Las Vegas’s Thomas & Mack Center is named, once said, “The bigger the crowd and more frightening the situation, the better Brentina would perform. ‘Bring it on, I can take it,’ she would seem to say. She lit up the minute she walked into the ring at the World Cup, as if to say, ‘Oh good, my public has arrived!’”

Debbie and Brentina didn’t win the Final that year (they did claim a spot on the podium after finishing in third), but that hardly mattered. Their incredible performance changed the direction of the sport and how people watch dressage. It was a fitting legacy for one of the most beloved, and one of the most successful, horse/rider combinations in dressage history!

Debbie and Brentina first stepped onto the international stage at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, where they won team and individual Gold medals. It was an incredible accomplishment as Brentina was just 8 years-old! The pair dominated the sport over the next decade, winning medals and championship titles at the most prestigious competitions around the world.

The pair won the 2003 World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, the first U.S. pair to do so. They competed at two Olympic Games – 2008 in Hong Kong and 2004 in Athens, where they were part of the U.S.’s Bronze medal team. They were part of the Silver medal U.S. Team at the 2002 World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Jerez, Spain, as well as the 2006 Bronze medal WEG team in Aachen, Germany.

Brentina was formally retired in a special ceremony at the 2009 World Cup Finals in Las Vegas.  The diminutive Debbie wiped tears from her eyes as Brentina’s long-time groom, Ruben Palomera, took her saddle off for the last time and a beautiful rose garland was placed over the beloved 18-year-old Hanoverian mare’s neck. The Thomas family, along with Bob McDonald, Debbie’s husband, were also spotlighted in the arena and the packed stadium gave her a long standing ovation. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

Brentina was inducted into the U.S. Dressage Federation (USDF) Hall of Fame that year and she has been made into a Breyer horse model. After her retirement, Peggy and Parry Thomas continued Brentina’s legacy through sponsorship of the Young Adult “Brentina Cup” with the hopes of supporting rising stars in American dressage. One example is Adrienne Lyle, who trains with Debbie. Debbie is now also the U.S. Dressage Team Chef d’equipe and Technical Advisor.

As we think back on her incredible career, it is safe to say that the beautiful Brentina will forever have

R-E-S-P-E-C-T as America’s ‘Queen of Dressage,’ just as the late Aretha Franklin will forever be loved as the ‘Queen of Soul.’

The 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals return to the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas next April 15-19.  It’s hard to predict what magical moments, like Brentina’s historic performance, will occur, but I know you won’t want to miss them. So please, ORDER YOUR TICKETS NOW!

All-Session tickets for both disciplines are now on saleAll-Session Ticket Packages are available as follows:

  Jumping Dressage Combo
VIP Seating $2,000 $2,000 $3,950
Plaza $450 $450 $850
Balcony $250 $250 $450

*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 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 VIPs only
  • Large screen TVs so no one has to miss any action
  • Complimentary World Cup Souvenir Program
  • Complimentary Day Sheets

Click here for the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals Tentative Schedule

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.

World Cup Preview Next Week at Las Vegas National Horse Show

With the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas less than six months away, the pressure for riders to earn a spot in the Finals is intensifying. Next week, top national and international riders are heading to the “Entertainment Capital of the World” to compete at the 2019 Las Vegas National Horse Show CSI3*-W (November 11-17), which is hosting the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Las Vegas on Saturday evening, November 16, at the South Point Hotel.

LVN crowd

Las Vegas National crowd

The Las Vegas National is one of 14 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Qualifying events in North America. The top 16 placing riders in the qualifying class will gain points in their league, with a goal to earn an invitation to the 2020 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, which returns to the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas next April 15-19.

Peter Lutz (FB profile photo)

Peter Lutz

Some of the top U.S. riders entered for Las Vegas next week include Adrienne Sternlicht who won a team gold medal at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon last fall, U.S. Olympic gold medalist Will Simpson, who has competed at four World Cup Finals, and Peter Lutz, who won the 2015 FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifier in Las Vegas and went on to compete at the 2016 FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Also entered are a some impressive up-and-coming riders including Brian Moggre, who won the World Cup qualifier last March at the Live Oak International in Ocala, FL, and who is currently ranked fourth in the North American Eastern Sub-League, as well as Abigail McArdle, who competed at the World Cup qualifier at the Columbus CSI3*-W in Ohio last month.

Setting the tracks will be world-renowned Course Designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela, a FEI 4* level Course Designer who has designed courses at many of the biggest events in the world, including the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong. No stranger to Las Vegas, Palacios was the FEI Foreign Technical Delegate when the World Cup Final was last held there in 2015.

Leopoldo Palacios

Leopoldo Palacios

The competition will be thrilling and undoubtedly fierce. Riders are not only seeking the glory of a victory and the top prize money, but to accrue the valuable points necessary towards earning an invitation to the 2020 World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas!

For more information on the 2019 Las Vegas National Horse Show, visit https://thelasvegasnational.com.

Nearly 74,000 spectators came to the 2015 Finals in Las Vegas and more are expected in 2020, so I urge you to GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!  All-Session tickets for both disciplines are now on sale.  Tickets for individual sessions will go on sale early this winter, so it’s best to get your tickets NOW to be sure you get the best seats! Everyone is welcome to join the World Cup Club at www.worldcuplasvegas.com/world-cup-club. Membership is FREE and members receive all the latest breaking news, information on host hotels, hospitality and much more!

All-Session Ticket Packages are available as follows:

  Jumping Dressage Combo
VIP Seating $2,000 $2,000 $3,950
Plaza $450 $450 $850
Balcony $250 $250 $450

*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 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 VIPs only
  • Large screen TVs so no one has to miss any action
  • Complimentary World Cup Souvenir Program
  • Complimentary Day Sheets

Click here for the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals Tentative Schedule

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.

The 1980s: When the U.S. Ruled the Show Jumping World!

The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final is an annual international showdown among the world’s best show jumping horses and riders, started in 1979.  Of the 41 Finals held through 2019, the U.S. has won the most titles – 11 – with seven of those wins coming in the 1980s.

Mclain Victory 2 © Lili Weik LOW RES

Mclain Victory © Lili Weik

While U.S. riders have won four Finals this decade – Rich Fellers in 2012, Beezie Madden in 2013 and 2018, and McLain Ward in 2017 – the dominance of the U.S. in the 1980 is not likely to be seen again.  The 1980s were the golden era for U.S. jumping. Not only did the Americans dominate the World Cup, but the U.S. also won team Gold medals at the 1984 Olympics and 1986 World Championships, as well as team Silver at the 1988 Olympics.

The first World Cup Final was held in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1979, and it was the start of something very special for equestrian sport. The event was everything the organizers, as well as the spectators, hoped it would be. Austrian rider Hugo Simon impressively won the inaugural event on Gladstone in a jump-off with U.S. rider Katie Monahan who took second place with The Jones Boy. It was a crowded podium that year as her compatriot Norman Dello Joio on Allegro tied for third place with Ireland’s Eddie Macken and Carrols of Dundalk.

The 1980 Final took place on American soil in Baltimore, Maryland, and began the U.S. domination. The Americans scored a one-two finish as Conrad Homfeld and Balbuco claimed victory with Melanie Smith and Calypso taking second. At the 1981 Final in Birmingham, England, the U.S. once again took the top two spots, with Michael Matz and the great Jet Run clinching the victory and Donald Cheska and Southside, who were competing outside the U.S. for the first time, taking the runner-up spot. The event’s debutante winners, Hugo Simon and Gladstone, took third place. It was an incredible result, as a total of six U.S. riders finished in the top ten!

The 19982 Final returned to Gothenburg with a change in the format and scoring, and the U.S. celebrated another victory. Melanie Smith became the first female to win the Final aboard her superstar Calypso. It was an exciting finish as the pair finished just one penalty point ahead of second-placed Paul Schockemohle of Germany and Akrobat, while Hugo Simon and Gladstone shared third place with Great Britain’s John Whitaker and Ryan’s Son.

Norman Dello Joio and I Love You World Cup Finals '83

Norman Dello Joio and I Love You • World Cup Finals ’83

Both Norman Dello Joio and Melanie Smith returned to the podium in 1983 in Vienna, but this time it was Dello Joio who clinched the win with I Love You, while Smith and Calypso took third place behind home nation favorites Hugo Simon and Gladstone. Although he wasn’t able to enjoy a victory on home soil, the ever-competitive Austrian did later reclaim the World Cup trophy with back-to-back victories in 1996 and 1997, and he remains one of five riders that have scored three wins in the history of the World Cup Final.

At the 1984 Final in Gothenburg, the Canadian national anthem was played, but the stars and stripes were still flying. Dello Joio and I Love You tied for second place with Brazilian rider Nelson Pessoa and Moet et Chandon Larramy, as Mario Deslauriers, at just 19 years-old, clinched the first win for Canada aboard Aramis who was only seven years-old! Deslauriers became the youngest rider ever to win the FEI World Cup Final, a record that still stands today.

Homfeld at 1985 World Cup Final with Abdullah

Homfeld at 1985 World Cup Final with Abdullah

The 1985 Final in Berlin saw a record field of 45 riders from 13 nations. Conrad Homfeld became the first rider to win the World Cup for a second time, and it was with the famed grey stallion Abdullah, his partner at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles where they not only helped the U.S. win its first-ever team Gold medal in show jumping, but also won the individual Silver medal. European riders rounded out the World Cup podium, as Great Britain’s Nick Skelton took second place aboard Everest S. James and France’s Pierre Durand and Jappeloup took third.

When the 1986 Finals returned to Gothenburg, it was another exciting victory for the U.S. as Leslie Burr became the second woman to win the World Cup Final. Leslie and her horse McLain won with a score of zero faults, ahead of Canada’s Ian Millar and Big Ben, who later would become the first rider to win back-to-back World Cup titles in 1988 and 1989. Leslie’s compatriot Conrad Homfeld made his third appearance in the top three, taking third place with May Be.

Katharine Burdsall and The Natural

Katharine Burdsall and The Natural

The U.S. claimed success yet again at the 1987 Final in Paris, taking two of the top three spots. Katharine Burdsall, a former student of Melanie Smith, copied her mentor and rose to victory aboard The Natural, the horse she rode on the Gold medal U.S. Team at the 1986 World Championships. France’s Philippe Rozier and Malesan Jiva took second place, while U.S. rider Lisa Jacquin and For The Moment rounded out the top three.

Following that incredible run of seven titles in nine years in the 1980s, it would be 25 years before another American rider claimed the World Cup title. At the 2012 Final in s’Hertogenbosch, Rich Fellers broke the spell. He and his chestnut stallion Flexible, reclaimed the title, followed a year later by a win by Beezie Madden and Simon in Gothenburg in 2013.

In 2017 in Omaha, McLain Ward and HH Azur jumped spectacularly throughout the event to clinch Ward’s first World Cup title. It was a truly special moment as he rode around in the victory gallop and waved to the appreciative home crowd while fighting back tears.  Switzerland’s Romain Duguet and Twentytwo Des Biches took second place, while Sweden’s Henrik von Eckerman took third aboard Toveks Mary Lou.

Beezie-Madden-Breitling-2018 LS-Photo-by-Taylor-Renner-45

Beezie Madden Breitling 2018 ©Taylor Renner

The American National Anthem played again at the 2018 Finals in Paris, when Beezie Madden claimed her second World Cup title, this time aboard Breitling LS. Countryman Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue had the ride of a lifetime, taking second place in their World Cup Final debut, while Henrick von Eckerman and Toveks Mary Lou again rounded out the top three on the podium. Ward and HH Azur finished fourth.

With U.S. riders dominating international competitions in recent years, it will undoubtedly be an exciting 2020 Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals! The best equestrian athletes from around the globe will be in Las Vegas (for the FEI Dressage World Cup™ too!) and you won’t want to miss it. The only prediction I can make is that history will be made once again, as it’s going to be the biggest and best Finals the world has ever seen!

The 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas take place April 15-19! All-Session tickets for either discipline are now on sale!  Tickets for individual sessions will go on sale early this winter, so it’s best to get your tickets NOW to be sure you get the best seats! Everyone is welcome to join the World Cup Club at http://www.worldcuplasvegas.com/world-cup-club. Membership is FREE and members receive all the latest breaking news, information on host hotels, hospitality and much more!

All-Session Ticket Packages are available as follows:

  Jumping Dressage Combo
VIP Seating $2,000 $2,000 $3,950
Plaza $450 $450 $850
Balcony $250 $250 $450

*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 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 VIPs only
  • Large screen TVs so no one has to miss any action
  • Complimentary World Cup Souvenir Program
  • Complimentary Day Sheets

Click here for the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals Tentative Schedule

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.

Outstanding Officials On Board for 2020 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas

The world’s elite jumping and dressage horses and riders will arrive en-masse in Las Vegas next April to vie for the prestigious title of FEI World Cup™ Champion. This week, the list of officials for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final is being announced, and as expected, it’s an all-star line-up!

Heading the list of officials is Anna Lindqvist of Sweden, who will be President of the Ground Jury. She will be joined by Ground Jury Members David Distler and Jack Robson of the USA, and Colleen Hoffman of Canada.

Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Germany will be the Course Designer. Dan Reed of the USA will be the Chief Steward, while Maria Hernek of Sweden will be the European Steward. Santiago Varela of Spain will be the Foreign Technical Delegate and Neil O’Connor of the USA will be the Limb Sensitivity Liaison Judge. The Jumping Final will once again be managed by Stephanie Lightner of Blenheim EquiSports.

Stephanie Lightner cropped

Stephanie Lightner

Anna Lindqvist (Sweden) – President of the Ground Jury

Anna Lindqvist is an FEI 4* rated judge – one of only two in Sweden. Lindqvist was a member of the Ground Jury at the 2016 and 2019 FEI World Cup™ Finals, both in Gothenburg, Sweden.

David Distler (USA) – Ground Jury Member

David Distler

David Distler has been judging around the world since 1975. He became an FEI show jumping judge in 1989, and is currently the only FEI 4* rated judge in the U.S. Distler has served as a member of the Ground Jury at several previous Finals, four of which he served as Ground Jury President, including the 2009 Final in Las Vegas. He served as a member of the Ground Jury at the 2008 and 2016 Olympic Games and was also on the Jury at the 2007 Pan American Games and 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games.

Colleen Hoffman (Canada) – Ground Jury Member

Colleen Hoffman is an FEI 3* rated judge with years of experience as an official. She was a member of the Ground Jury at the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Final in Omaha, Nebraska, among many others.

Jack Robson (USA) – Ground Jury Member

Jack Robson is an FEI 3* rated judge and course designer with over 30 years of experience. He has worked with the likes of Frank Chapot, Bert de Nemethy, Pamela Carruthers, and Robert Jolicoeur to name a few. He was a Member of the Ground Jury for the 2009 and 2015 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas, and has been either President or a Member of the Ground Jury at shows such as the Las Vegas National, Los Angeles National, Blenheim Equisports, Del Mar International and Ocala Masters.

Olaf Petersen, Jr. (Germany) – Course Designer

Olaf Petersen Jr

Olaf Petersen, Jr. is a FEI Level 4 Course Designer. He was Co-Course Designer at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and has also designed courses at the 2006 Asian Games, 2005 South East Asian Games, and over a dozen FEI World Cup™ qualifiers such as Thermal, Wellington, Del Mar, and Los Angeles in the U.S., Wroclaw (Poland), Budapest (Hungary), Moscow (Russia), Kiew (Ukraine) and Balvanera (Mexico) to name a few. Petersen competed at the grand prix level himself before adding course designer to his resume in 1990 after being inspired by his famed father, FEI course designer Olaf Petersen, Sr.

Santiago Varela (Spain) – Foreign Technical Delegate

FEI BarcelonaSantiago Varela began designing courses when he was just 15 years old and is now an FEI Level 4 Course Designer. He was Course Designer at the 2011 FEI European Championships and for the first Nations Cup Final in Barcelona in 2013, as well as the FEI European Championships for Young Riders, Juniors, and Children. He has designed courses for many of the biggest events around the world, and has been selected as the Course Designer for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Dan Reed (USA) – Chief Steward

Dan Reed has been a Steward at numerous top international jumping events across the nation including the National Horse Show, Las Vegas National Horse Show, Washington International Horse Show, Old Salem Farm Horse Shows, Hampton Classic, Palm Beach Masters and Split Rock Jumping Tour, to name just a few. He is highly respected for his integrity and calm demeanor.

Maria Hernek (SWE) – European Steward

Maria Hernek is a FEI 3* Jumping Steward and conducts FEI Jumping Steward clinics all over the world. She has been the Chief Steward at the Gothenburg Horse Show in Sweden for many years, including the 2013 FEI World Cup™ Final. She was also an FEI Steward at the 2011 FEI European Jumping Championships in Madrid, Spain. She was the Chief Steward at the 2015 FEI World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas.

Neil O’Connor (USA) – Limb Sensitivity Liaison Judge

Neil O’Connor is a USEF and FEI 3* Judge and Steward and officiates regularly at national and international shows. He has served as President or Member of the Ground Jury at many prestigious U.S. shows such as the Hampton Classic, Pennsylvania National, Winter Equestrian Festival, Washington International, National Horse Show, and the inaugural 2014 Central Park Horse Show. Internationally, O’Connor has officiated at Spruce Meadows and the Royal Winter Fair, both in Canada. A native of Millstreet, County Cork, Ireland, O’Connor now resides in the U.S.; ironically he was the Foreign Judge at the 2014 Dublin Horse Show.

The 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas take place April 15-19! All-Session tickets for either discipline are now on sale!  Tickets for individual sessions will go on sale early this winter, so it’s best to get your tickets NOW to be sure you get the best seats! Everyone is welcome to join the World Cup Club at www.worldcuplasvegas.com/world-cup-club. Membership is FREE and members receive all the latest breaking news, information on host hotels, hospitality and much more!

All-Session Ticket Packages are available as follows:

  Jumping Dressage Combo
VIP Seating $2,000 $2,000 $3,950
Plaza $450 $450 $850
Balcony $250 $250 $450

*Additional fees may apply

Click here to purhcase tickets

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 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 VIPs only
  • Large screen TVs so no one has to miss any action
  • Complimentary World Cup Souvenir Program
  • Complimentary Day Sheets

Click here for the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals Tentative Schedule

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.

Canada Wins Team Gold and U.S. Takes Silver in Pan American Games Dressage

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.

Lima 2019 Pan Am Games - Day 3

Gold medal team from Canada – 📸 by FEI/Raul Sifuentes/Getty Images

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!

Pan Am Dressage Silver Medal Team -- USA

Silver medal team from USA – 📸 by Taylor Pence/US Equestrian

“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:

  Jumping Dressage Combo
VIP Seating $2,000 $2,000 $3,950
Plaza $450 $450 $850
Balcony $250 $250 $450

*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

Click here for the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals Tentative Schedule

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.