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Pan Am Games: Eventing Double-Gold For Team USA


Team podium: Gold Medal Eventing Team on the podium for USA, Marilyn Little, Boyd Martin, Phillip Dutton and Lauren Kieffer at the OLG Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park during the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games in Caledon, Ontario, Canada. (Pic StockImageServices)

Highest Placed Canadian: Jessica Phoenix (CAN) and Pavarotti at the OLG Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park during the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games in Caledon, Ontario, Canada. (Pic Stock Image Services)

Individual Gold Medalist Eventing: Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous at Caledon Equestrian Park Cross-Country Centre during the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games in Caledon, Ontario, Canada. (Pic Stock Image services)
by Louise Parkes

America scooped both the team and individual titles as Eventing came to a close July 19, 2015 at the Pan-American Games 2015 in Caledon Park, Toronto, Canada. Always with their eyes on the target of that single qualifying spot on offer for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Philip Dutton, Lauren Kieffer, Marilyn Little and Boyd Martin forged a marginal lead over the host country in Dressage on Friday. And, once out in front, they held on tight to triumph ahead of Brazil, while Canada had to settle for bronze. 

Marilyn Little took the individual title in fine style. Lying second, and less than a fence behind Brazil’s Ruy Fonseca, who led from the outset with Tom Bombadill Too, the 33-year-old former Jumping rider kept a cool head to stay clear with her relatively inexperienced mare RF Scandalous. The 2011 Pan-American Eventing individual champions Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti from Canada claimed silver this time around when Fonseca’s single error dropped him to bronze medal spot.

A total of 11 nations lined out in the team competition, and Ecuador, Chile and Mexico were lying fourth, fifth and sixth after the Dressage phase. The USA had only a slender 0.7 point lead over Canada going into cross-country day, and Brazil was chasing hard when only three marks further adrift at this stage.

Cross-Country track

Canadian chances took a sharp knock when Kathryn Robinson was eliminated for a fall at the Hayracks with Let It Bee, the second fence on the cross-country track. Her team-mates Waylon Roberts (Bill Owen), Colleen Loach (Qorry Blue D’Argouges) and Jessica Phoenix (Pavarotti) all completed the course without incident. But Canada dropped behind Brazil when Fonseca, Carlos Parro (Caulcourt Landline), Henrique Plombon (Land Quenotte) and Jorge Marcio Carvalho (Lissy Mac Wayer) all, likewise, kept a clean sheet. Robinson’s brilliant 39.80 in Dressage, which placed her individually second on the opening day, was no longer being taken into account.  All four American team-members cruised home, maintaining their advantage with no penalties to add. 

From a starting field of 43, only 16 returned within the time-allowed of 8 minutes 39 seconds, including all three members of the team from Ecuador who eventually finished fourth. A total of 10 horse-and-rider combinations were eliminated over the 26-fence track created by Australia’s Wayne Copping.

Jumping phase

As the final Jumping phase got underway on Sunday, July 19, Team USA had less than a fence in hand over the Brazilians, while the Canadians were more than 20 penalties further adrift. America’s Martin (Pancho Villa) and Kieffer (Meadowbrooks Scarlett) kept a clean sheet once again, but when Philip Dutton’s Fernhill Fugitive collected four faults, then Little’s result might prove pivotal for the team rankings.

The individual medals were still very much up for grabs, and for Little there was no room for error as Canada’s Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti, who were lying just 3.20 points behind, had piled on the pressure with a brilliant clear round, when third-last into the ring. The American didn’t falter, however, leaving all the poles in place with her 10-year-old Oldenburg mare, and placing all the weight on Fonseca’s shoulders. Even a time fault would cost the Brazilian dearly, but when his 15-year-old gelding had a fence down he dropped all the way to bronze medal position individually and his team remained in silver medal spot.


Teams:  GOLD 
- USA 133.00: RF Scandalous (Marilyn Little) 40.30, Pancho Villa (Boyd Martin) 44.30, Fernhill Fugitive (Philip Dutton) 52.40, Meadowbrooks Scarlett (Lauren Keiffer) 48.40; SILVER - Brazil 140.70: Tom Bombadill Too (Ruy Fonseca) 42.90, Caulcourt Landline (Carlos Parro) 45.60, Lissy Mac Wayer (Jorge Marcio Carvalho) 52.20, Land Quenotte (Henrique Plombon) 55.40; BRONZE - Canada 163.00: Let it Bee (Kathryn Robinson) 1,000, Pavarotti (Jessica phoenix) 42.10, Qorry Blue D?Argouges (Colleen Loach) 51.80, Bill Owen (Waylon Roberts) 69.10.
Individual: GOLD - RF Scandalous (Marilyn Little) USA 40.30; SILVER - Pavarotti (Jessica Phoenix) CAN 42.10; BRONZE - Tom Bombadill Too (Ruy Fonseca) BRA 42.90.

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