Equestrian: United States Dominate at Pan American Games

The United States won five out of the six gold medals in equestrian at the Pan American Games as they displayed their dominance of the sport in the region. Several individual and team quotas were up for grab at the games. The Pan America Games are currently being held in Toronto, Canada from July 7th to July 26th 2015. The equestrian events were held from July 11th to July 25th 2015.

In dressage the highest ranked team along with the highest ranked individuals with a Grand Prix score from Group D (English America) and Group E (Latin America) not yet qualified will be given spots. In eventing only the highest ranked team qualifies. In jumping the two highest ranked teams qualify along with the six highest ranked individuals not yet qualified with a maximum of two quotas per nation.

It became clear that the fight between the only spot in team dressage will be between Canada and the United States. In the Grand Prix round the two nations had their entire team finish within the top 8, ahead of everyone else, but it was the United States, led by Steffen Peters whom led all nations by 4.433 points. Canada performed a bit better in the final Grand Prix Special round, but it was not enough as the United States was able to extend its lead to win the event and Olympics quota with 460.506 points over Canada whom finished with 454.938. Brazil finished in third with 414.895.

With the United States winning the team quota things were a lot easier for Canada to win an individual quota for individual dressage. The United States was still the best nation during the Grand Prix Freestyle portion as they were able to win the gold and silver medal from Steffen Peters and Laura Graves respectively. The Group D quota went to Belinda Trussell of Canada while the Group E quota went to Bernadette Pujals of Mexico as they were the highest ranked riders to have achieved a Grand Prix score, not intermediate score.

The fight for the team eventing quota wasn’t too interesting as both Brazil and Canada have previously qualified through being the host nation and through the World Championships respectively. As long as the United States finished the event they will very likely win the quota. At the end of the dressage portion the United States had a 0.7 slim lead over Canada with Brazil trailing by 3.7 points. Brazil, Canada, Ecuador and the United States all finished the cross-country portion with 0 penalty points; however Canada’s Kathryn Robinson was eliminated which meant her score will be the one removed at the end of the competition and given she was Canada’s best performer in the dressage portion meant Canada was now in a distant third place. In the jumping portion Brazil incurred 4 penalty points and while the United States did the same it was from the athlete that was to be dropped. Therefore the United States won gold and the Olympic quota with a score of 133.00. Brazil won silver with a score of 140.70 while Canada won the bronze medal with a score of 163.00.

Like with eventing both Brazil and the United States had previously qualified in team jumping through being the host nation and through the World Championships respectively. Both Colombia and Argentina surprisingly led the standings after the first round with a score of 1 and 2 respectively while Canada was sitting in third and outside of Olympic qualification with a score of 6. Disaster however struck Colombia as they incurred 14 penalty points in the second round to ultimately finish fifth. Canada however had a very good second round finishing with 1 penalty point for a total of 7. In the end it was enough for gold and the Olympic quota. Argentina won the second Olympic quota and the silver medal with a score of 8. The United States won bronze with a score of 12.

In the individual jumping event a jump-off was required for the gold medal as two riders finished tied with 0 penalty points. United States’ McLain Ward was able to get through the jump-off without penalty and thus won the gold medal as Venezuela’s Andres Rodriguez finished the course with 4 penalties. Bronze went to Lauren Hough of the United States who had to win a bronze medal jump-off of her own. The six Olympic quotas went to Venezuela, Venezuela, Uruguay, Colombia, Colombia and Peru.

This was mostly the final opportunity to qualify a team in any equestrian discipline for Pan America. The only other way to qualify a team would be if a nation qualifies enough individuals to form a composite team. This also concludes the Pan American Games in terms of direct qualification to the Olympics.

Number of Athletes by Nation

  • United States – 8
  • Canada – 5
  • Argentina – 4
  • Colombia – 2
  • Venezuela – 2
  • Mexico – 1
  • Peru – 1
  • Uruguay – 1



2 thoughts on “Equestrian: United States Dominate at Pan American Games

  1. Chris von Martels and Jesus Palacios didn’t earn those quotas, Belinda Trussell and Bernadette Pujals did. That’s because they were the ones that competed in the Grand Prix while Martels and Palacios competed at the intermediate level… Qualification system states that only Grand Prix combinations count.

    This change was introduced after the London 2012 when Colombia qualified a team for the Olympics with intermediate combinations only. And at the end they couldn’t send anyone because none of their riders reached the qualification scores in the Grand Prix.


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