The U.S.A. cakewalked their way to a gold medal during the first day of equestrian competition at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Steffen Peters and Weltinos Magic won the class, Heather Blitz and Paragon were right behind them in 2nd, Marisa Festerline finished in 4th with Big Tyme, and Cesar Parra was 10th with Grandioso. It was the fourth consecutive Team Gold for the U.S. at a Pan Ams Game, and Steffen Peters’ high score of 80% was not only the only 80 of the day, it was a personal best for him and Weltino’s Magic. And that’s not all – yesterday the U.S.A. swept the first day of individual competition, taking the top three spots. Steffen Peters again won the class on a score of 78.079%, Heather Blitz and Paragon finished second with 77.184%, and Marisa Festerling advanced from her 4th place finish the day before with Bit Tyme, scoring 74.316%. Cesar Parra and Grandioso finished in 6th with 72.00%. For full scores go here.
All four American riders advance to the Final Individual freestyle competition, which concludes with individual medals being decided on Wednesday.
Along with eventing and show jumping, the equestrian competition will run through October 29th (October 16-19: Dressage; October 20 – 23: Eventing; October 26 – 29: Show Jumping).
Here are a few scenes from the last four days of competition at the Pan Ams. Organizers have done a wonderful job on the venue, and so far the competition has gone off without a hitch.
A few parting shots from the opening ceremony over the weekend. The organizers of the 2011 Pan Ams pulled out all the stops for the competition, which is the largest sporting event of 2011.