Monday, October 17, was the second day of Dressage at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, MX. Team USA is in an amazingly strong position going into the individual medals. Steffen Peters and Weltino’s Magic are standing first on a score of 78.079. Heather Blitz and Paragon stand second with 77.184 and Marisa Festerling is third on Big Tyme. Our fourth member, Cesar Parra and Grandioso stand sixth (72). Marisa was the most enthused of the riders because as she said, “I think it was one of the very best rides I’ve ever had on him and it happened here so that’s even better.” She’s looking forward to doing her Freestyle routine to Beatles music. For Steffen, it’s about putting the pedal to the metal as he is very aware that the riders are mere fractions apart and even just a bobble could make the difference.
As he explained it, “The pressure is on … and cruising through it (the Freestyle) won’t do it. I am going to have to take some risk and get on the gas pedal.”
When Heather Blitz rode Paragon into the arena it was obvious the horse is ready for the Grand Prix. The horse has such an elegant presence that it’s easy to be impressed by his expression and big movements. “He had great extensions again in the trot and canter and the tempi changes always kind of bring me back up if I make little errors,” noted Heather after her I1 ride. “I am thrilled with the score and thrilled with the horse.”
Cesar also expressed his enthusiasm for his first time on an American team. “I just am totally overwhelmed with being here and representing my new country. I get goose bumps just saying it,” he remarked. “I'm so happy and so blessed. I'm trying to enjoy the journey. Sometimes we are so focused on the score. I'm representing my country, I'm living the dream.”