Guadalajara, Mexico – Canada’s five member team, comprised of James Atkinson of Mountain Road, MB, Hawley Bennett-Awad of Langley, BC, Rebecca Howard of Salmon Arm, BC, Selena O’Hanlon of Elgin, ON, and Jessica Phoenix of Uxbridge, ON, sits in second place behind the team from the United States after the opening dressage phase of Eventing at the Club Hípico during the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Team standings are based on the top three individual results from each country. Canada is competing against nine other teams, as well as individuals from three countries, with a total starting field of 49 entries.
Phoenix, 28, gave a winning performance on Don J. Good’s nine-year-old Westphalian gelding Pavarotti. “I’m so fortunate to have this horse,” said Phoenix following her ride, which earned her the best score of the day, 43.90 penalties. “I started to feel really good about the dressage already on Wednesday. That was the day I could feel he was really ready to do a good test.”
Howard, 32, was slightly disappointed in her dressage test on Roquefort, the 13-year-old Dutch/Thoroughbred gelding she co-owns with The Fork Stables. “I’m also surprised, because he’s never been like that in the ring,” she said. Roquefort had several small mistakes in his test, resulting in a score of 51.30, which was nevertheless still good enough for Canada’s second best result and eighth place individually. “I’ll try to add nothing to that,” said Howard of the cross-country and show jumping phases that still lie ahead.
O’Hanlon, 30, rode John Rumble’s eight-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding Foxwood High through a fluid and obedient test to a score of 52.20 and tenth place; O’Hanlon’s is the third result to count for the Canadian Team after dressage. Her score, added to Phoenix’s and Howard’s, gives Canada a total after dressage of 147.40 penalties.
Bennett-Awad, 34, was happy with her ride on Sue Church and Kimberly Barron’s 10-year-old American Thoroughbred gelding Five O’Clock Somewhere. “He’s never been this fit before and I’m pleased with him today. His trot work was great,” she said. A score of 53.20 put Bennett-Awad into 13th place individually.
Atkinson rode Gustav, a 12-year-old Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding owned by Carolyn Hoffos, through an almost mistake-free test for which he received 53.70 penalties and 15th place. As the first team member to compete for Canada, 34 year-old Atkinson will be the pathfinder on the 5,225 metre cross-country course at the Santa Sofia Golf Club on Saturday, October 22. The course, designed by American John Williams, winds over undulating terrain and challenges the horses with 24 numbered obstacles requiring 37 jumping efforts. “It’s definitely a championship two-star track,” noted Atkinson.
Following the cross-country, the horses will complete the final phase of the Pan Am Eventing, the show jumping, on Sunday, October 23. The top 25 individuals will then return to the arena to contest the individual medal final.
The Canadian Eventing Team trains under the leadership of David O’Connor, International Technical Advisor. Team Chef d’Equipe Graeme Thom, stable manager Debbie Furnas, team veterinarian Dr. Christiana Ober, team farrier Randy Pawlak, and team manager Fleur Tipton will provide support to the team throughout the Games. The Canadian Equestrian Team is assisted at the Pan American Games by Team Leader Kerri McGregor and Assistant Team Leader Tina Collins.
The Canadian Eventing Committee is grateful to Own the Podium, Sport Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee and all of its sponsors, supporters, suppliers and friends for their continued support of the Canadian Eventing Team in its quest for excellence.
Pan Am Games Eventing Team Results following Dressage phase-
1. USA (138.60): Michael Pollard/Schoensgreen Hanni (44.50); Hannah Burnett/Harbour Pilot (45.20); Bruce Davidson Jr./Absolute Liberty (48.90); Shannon Lilley/Ballingowan Pizazz (49.30); Lynn Symansky/Donner (52.20)
2. Canada (147.40): Jessica Phoenix/Pavarotti (43.90); Rebecca Howard/Roquefort (51.30); Selena O’Hanlon/Foxwood High (52.20); Hawley Bennett-Awad/Five O’Clock Somewhere (53.20); James Atkinson/Gustav (53.70)
3. Brazil (162.70): Ruy Fonseca/Tom Bombadill Too (50.40); Marcio Jorge/Josephine MCJ (52.80); Marcelo Tosi/Eleda All Black (59.50); Serguei Fofanoff/Barbara TW (59.80); Jesper Martendal/Land Jimmy (65.20)
2011 Pan Am Games - Individual Eventing Results following Dressage
1. Jessica Phoenix/Pavarotti – Uxbridge, ON (43.90
2. Michael Pollard/Schoensgreen Hanni – USA (44.50)
3. Hannah Burnett/Harbour Pilot – USA (45.20)
4. Bruce Davidson Jr./Absolute Liberty – USA (48.90)
5. Shannon Lilley/Ballingowan Pizazz – USA (49.30)
8. Rebecca Howard/Roquefort – Salmon Arm, BC (51.30)
10. Selena O’Hanlon/Foxwood High – Elgin, ON (52.20)
13. Hawley Bennett-Awad/Five O’Clock Somewhere – Langley BC (53.20)
15. James Atkinson/Gustav – Mountain Road, MB (53.70)
Photo: Jessica Phoenix of Uxbridge, ON, and Pavarotti finished first in the Dressage Phase of Eventing at the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Photo Credit – Cealy Tetley, www.tetleyphoto.com