On the eve of the 2003 Pan American Games to be held this August in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, dressage athlete Yvonne Losos de Muñiz is looking forward to proudly representing her hometown riding Inatana Las Marismas.
Losos de Muñiz, a resident of Santo Domingo, has been preparing for the Pan American Games for a year and a half with the 13-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood mare by Latano and out of a Carneval dam. Purchased through Diederik Wigmans of the Netherlands, Inatana Las Marismas was imported to North America at the end of 2001 and made her competition debut with Losos de Muñiz on the Florida dressage circuit in January of 2002.
Before being purchased for Losos de Muñiz, the mare known as Ainsley's Inatana showed under Dutch competitor Jeannette Haazen and consistently enjoyed impressive results at International Equestrian Federation (FEI) sanctioned competitions including Mechelen, Maastricht, and Amsterdam. In the pair’s final competition together, the mare carried Haazen to the Intermediare Championship title at CDI-W Weert, NED. The ground jury, which included ‘O’ judge Eric Lette, awarded Haazen and Ainsley's Inatana a score of 73% for their Intermediare Freestyle performance.
A seasoned competitor, the mare has continued to flourish under Losos de Muñiz. Inatana Las Marismas’ big stride, elastic suspension and cool demeanour coupled with Losos de Muñiz’s quiet and elegant style has produced a harmonious partnership. Throughout the winter season, Inatana Las Marismas and Losos de Muñiz dominated the Intermediare division, winning time and time again on the prestigious Palm Beach circuit with tests highlighted by ground-covering extensions, exceptional lateral work and precise pirouettes. After topping numerous classes at the Florida Dressage Classic, held February 13-16, and at the Wellington Dressage competition, held January 30-February 2, the pair made a clean sweep of the CDI*** Zada WEF Dressage Classic held March 13-16 in Wellington, Florida. At the Kentucky Dressage Association Spring Dressage Show held May 22-25 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, they were again crowned Intermediare Champions after winning all three classes including the Intermediare Freestyle where they were awarded an incredibly high score of 76.63% by respected FEI judges Janet Brown, Hilda Gurney and Jessica Ransehousen, who also acts as the chef d’equipe of the United States Dressage Team.
Much of the pair’s success has come competing against the same horse-rider combinations they will face at the 2003 Pan American Games. Although the Dominican Republic has never before won a medal in Pan American Games equestrian competition, Losos de Muñiz won two individual gold medals and led the Dominican Republic to the team bronze at the 2002 Central American Games in El Salvador. Earlier in the year, she also helped the Dominican Republic claim the team bronze medal at the 2002 FEI Championship of the Americas in Blainville, Canada.
Having spent over a year together in the competition ring, Losos de Muñiz has noticed some impressive developments in Inatana Las Marsimas.
“One of the major changes with Inatana has been is in her self-carriage,” claims Losos de Muñiz, who operates Las Marismas with her husband, Eduardo Muñiz. “She naturally has a suspended trot but, in the beginning, she would go around the ring in a set frame. It might look okay, but she wasn't actually carrying herself through her whole body. I worked very hard on getting her to trust to take the bit and follow the contact. Fortunately, it worked. Now she is more explosive, in a positive way, and is working through her whole body making all three gaits more expressive and ground covering.”
Coached by Wigmans, who, based on his association with Losos de Muñiz also acts as coach for the entire Dominican Republic Dressage Team, Losos de Muñiz works on a consistent basis with the well-respected Dutch trainer known for his association with Olympic Champion Anky Van Grunsven and Sjef Jansen.
Losos de Muñiz will continue to train in the Dominican Republic until the Pan American Games begin paying particular attention to her redesigned Musical Freestyle set to music by Terry Ciotti-Gallo of Klassic Kur.
“I wanted to increase the level of difficulty in my freestyle in order to be more competitive for the Pan American Games,” notes Losos de Muñiz. “Heading into the Pan American Games, I am confident that my score can be even higher than the 76.63% I received at my last show in Kentucky. Also, both myself and my coach, Diederik Wigmans, think the mare can still become more fluid and that is an area we will work on improving.”
Losos de Muñiz’s country will be looking to her and Inatana Las Marismas to proudly represent the Dominican Republic at the Pam American Games held from August 1-17. Losos de Muñiz will have the honour of carrying the Pan Am torch for the final leg of its journey into Santo Domingo, cheered on by fans who are looking forward to finally seeing her compete on home soil.
Horsesdaily Coverage of the 2003 Pan American Games
Who's Who: Yvonne Losos de Muniz