The best place to start about today's competiton is with the word AWESOME. That’s what Steffen Peters repeated a few times after he put in an AWESOME test on Legolas 92 as the last rider to go, helping his team clinch the initial lead ahead of Canada by just four points. But with one more day to go, it still is anyone’s game. The Americans and Canadians competitors are friends and neighbors, all sharing the Florida winter circuit, which in fact is heavily supported by the Canadian contingent. So it is somewhat bittersweet, as they battle neck and neck on Canadian soil that only one country will earn the right to compete in the Olympics in 2016 by winning the team gold after tomorrows competition.
Riders competing at the Grand Prix level get some bonus points because of the fact that Grand Prix is more difficult than Prix St Georges. By allowing horses and riders to compete at different levels in the Pan American Games gives more opportunities to the countries attempting to develop a better level of Dressage in their country. Sunday’s competition is Intermediare 1 and Grand Prix Special, which is when the Team medals will be announced as well as which riders will qualify to compete in the final Freestyle.
The new format for the Dressage Pan American Games in basic terms is that riders compete at different levels. Today was the Small Tour (Prix St Georges/Intermediaire I) with the Prix St Georges all day until the very last group, which was Grand Prix. The simplest way to explain the team results is that for each Big Tour (Grand Prix/Grand Prix Special) combination a team has, they receive a 1.5% bonus. So the total for the U.S. was 227.504, but Laura and Steffen got 1.5% added to each of their scores when creating the total for the team, equaling 230.504. This bonus only applies to the team tests, not the individual/freestyle.