With only three members, the team from the Dominican Republic finished sixth out of twelve nations at the Pan Am Games. Team members Yvonne Losos de Muñiz, riding Dondolo Las Marismas, Samira Uemura on Royal Affair, and Dr. George Fernandez aboard Bravo, were very happy with their results. “We were very pleased that our efforts resulted in a sixth position for the Dominican Republic out of twelve national teams, and without the luxury of a drop score” commented Eduardo Muñiz, Chef d’Equipe.
“Samira Uemura qualified for the Intermediaire 1 in her first Pan Am Games, while Dr. Fernandez did a wonderful job on a borrowed horse, Bravo, whom he only started riding this past summer. Our special thanks to Mrs. Elaine Sherer, Bravo´s owner, for giving George the ride and thus allowing our country to field a team.” he continued
Although Yvonne did make it to the Individual Freestyle where she finished a commendable 11th, she was “disappointed in being unable to finish higher in the Individual final, but it was not her day. Overall the competition level was outstanding, and we were all very impressed with the venue and organization. It was a wonderful experience, our congratulations to Mexico.” added Losos de Muñiz.
Yvonne’s disappointment probably came from the fact that she has been extremely successful in international competition. She was the Individual Bronze medalist at the 2003 and 2007 Pan Am Games. She won two Individual Gold medals and a Team Bronze at the 2002 Central American and Caribbean Games, and also two Individual Silver medals at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games. She qualified for the 2010 WEG, but was unable to compete since her horse died one month before the event.
Yvonne has been competing at Grand Prix and Small Tour level in the USA, Canada and Europe for the past ten years, and won quite a few classes at Grand Prix and Small Tour in the Florida circuit, the Sunshine Tour in Spain, France and Germany. She is also a USDF Gold and Silver medalist, and is currently ranked in the top 150 riders in the FEI World Rankings.
Her disappointment won’t last long because now Yvonne is focused on qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games, so she will be heading back to the Florida circuit this year to do just that. Thinking back, the Dominican riders chimed in about their Pan American Games experience.
“My fondest memory was the feeling of accomplishment I felt once I finished my Prix St. Georges ride,” commented Dr. Fernandez. “Knowing I had done a solid test on a horse I just started riding this past June was very rewarding.” Dr. Fernandez rode Bravo, a 15-year-old, 16.1 hand, bay Holsteiner gelding by Linaro, owned by Elaine Sherer. “Bravo is an honest, reliable horse with a great work attitude, and was a real pleasure to prepare for the Pan Am Games in such a brief time. He always gave his best.” explained Yvonne. Dr. Fernandez works as an equine veterinarian at the Palm Beach Equine Clinic (the Palm Beach Equine Sports Complex), where Eduardo and Yvonne also stable their horses, and offered a huge thanks to the clinic and its staff for their support.
For Samira it was all about what she gained from this Pan American Games experience. "I consider going to the Pan Am Games as a turning point in my athletic career. This is my first big championship and it´s truly an honor to be alongside world-class athletes from the Americas, representing not just my country, the Dominican Republic, but also my family, my federation and my sponsor and trainer, Yvonne." Royal Affair is a 9-year-old, 17.1 hand bay Hanoverian gelding by Royal Diamond which Eduardo and Yvonne have owned since he was a two year old. His barn name is Robbie, and like Dondolo he is a sensitive, powerful horse, but perhaps more straightforward to ride. He has great gaits and he is now about to move to Grand Prix.
Yvonne's most memorable memory was sharing the Pan Am experience with such a committed, close and fun group that included not only her teammates, but also head groom and barn manager Lisa Trappitt, their long-time team trainer and friend Diederik Wigmans, Dr. Susanne Sallent, who is George's wife, and their Chef d'Equipe Eduardo Muñiz, who happens to be her husband.
“I am extremely proud of our team,” commented Yvonne. “Being sixth as a nation, just behind countries such as Colombia, Mexico and Brazil, shows hard work and a group effort will produce great results.”
Yvonne rode her own Dondolo Las Marismas, an 11-year-old, 17 hand, Danish Warmblood chestnut gelding by Don Schufro, which she and her husband have owned since he was four. Don (as he is known around the barn) is a very sensitive horse to ride. “In the barn he is sweet and very shy, almost an introvert,” explained Eduardo.
The team from the Dominican Republic gave it their all. Even though they had one less team member they proved that with will and determination it can be done!