Al and Judy Guden, proud owners of Sagacious HF, will be sending frequent reports and photos, and we have included them in our HorsesDaily On the Scene Pan American Equestrian Games coverage. Be sure to stay tuned as we plan on bringing lots of news, photos, and coverage from our all star reporting staff. Photo: Sagacious HF with his groom Mae Williams
Chris Hickey (on Regent) Lauren Sammis (Sagacious HF) and Katie Poulin-Neff (on Brilliant Too) are the USEF 2007 US Pan Am Dressage Team for Rio. The traveling alternate is Suzie Dutta (on Pik-L) who was the alternate on the 2003 Pan Am team. Her prior experience has been invaluable to the other team members. Melissa Taylor will be the 2nd alternate. She and her horse, Schumaker Solyst, will go to Wellington for training and quarantine and will only go on to Rio if one of the top four fail to make the trip. The horses left Gladstone for Wellington on Wednesday, June 20 for quarantine and training.
Team USA horses were joined by the Canadian Team and horses from Mexico, Columbia and a few other South and Central American countries. There were a total of 14 horses at Tuni & Dave Page's Stillpoint Farm. The facility is one of Wellington's premier dressage training facilities.
Dr. Rick Mitchell and his wife, Julie, and son, Rich, were with the Team USA horses. They were thoroughly checked out to assure they are ready for the trip and the competition. Don Later was at the barn almost daily to make sure the horses feet were ready for the Games. Gil Merrick, the USEF Dressage Czar, had everything organized and kept us all up to date on everything "PanAm".
Ashley Holzer, Lauren's coach, flew down from New York for two days of training. Terry Gallo came in for some final work on Lauren's freestyle. Photo: Al and Judy Guden, Ashley Holzer, Lauren Sammis
The Team enjoyed the more relaxed and quiet pace of Wellington off season. Most went to Woody's 20th Anniversary Party at Okeeheelee Park and everyone enjoyed a Team dinner at Suzie, Tim and little Timmy Dutta's home. Melissa Taylor was the chef for the last evening before heading out to the Games.
Mae Williams, our groom, along with Meredith, Chris Hickey's groom arrived in Rio on July 4th. The were met by the USEF point man in Rio, Jim Wolf. Their mission was to prepare the stalls for the team horses and to meet the horses when they arrived.
July 4th was THE DAY. All horses and all US team members were supposed to leave Wellington. Much of the day was spent packing. This was a monumental task! This isn't your ordinary horse show and you have to take everything you need and pray that it doesn't get confiscated at customs.
We had the normal tack and supplies to pack along with what seems to be a mini vet clinic. Evidently the full clinic that was to be built at the venue in Rio has the 4 corners in place and nothing else. The stalls have concrete floors so we had to bring stall mats - a 5 foot high pile of them.
Magnetic blankets, ice boots, ultrasounds - You name it and it got packed and loaded onto our trailer.
Then at 4:00 pm Dr Mitchell began to hydrate the Team USA horses. Each received 10000 mL of saline along with some vitamins. The 6:00 pm departure was rapidly approaching when Tim Dutta received a call advising there would be a 3 hour delay while they checked out a problem with the flaps on our Boeing 747 charter.
After delay, the horses were loaded and transported to MIA for loading and shipment to Rio. Unfortunately, the flap problem had not been corrected and the horses, along with Tim Dutta and Dr. Mitchell and a few of the other tireless volunteers returned the horses to Wellington for what ended up to be about a 40 hour delay. Photo: Susie Dutta, Laruen Sammis and Melissa Taylor - all pumped up!
The original 747 was grounded with some stress cracks in the wing and a replacement plane was flown in from Chicago early on Friday 7/6. We fed and hand walked the horses and loaded them at 10:00 am and they were off to Miami again.
The latest report I have is that all have arrived safely in Rio.
Cordially,Judy and Al Guden
Proud Parents of Sagacious HF
On the Scene - 2007 Pan American Equestrian Games