In a near perfect final performance at the recent Central American Games, held November 23 - December 7 in El Salvador, Yvonne Losos de Muñiz of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, won the individual gold medal in dressage, having accumulated the highest scores overall in the Team and Individual competitions.
Riding the test of her lifetime, Losos de Muñiz, who originally hails from Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Canada, and her 12-year-old Dutch-bred mare, Inatana Las Marismas (KWPN Keur mare by Latano x Carneval) earned a 70.95%, the highest score on the final day. Adding her 68.15%, the top score overall in the Team competition, Losos de Muñiz was awarded an additional gold medal for her accumulated dressage scores.
Competition at these Games was fierce. 1999 Pan American team silver medallist and 1996 Olympic competitor Joachim Orr on Guido of Mexico had to settle for the individual silver medal while his teammate, Bernadette Pujals, 1999 Pan American team silver and individual bronze medallist, took home the bronze. Dr. Cesar Parra, Colombia's 1999 Pan American team bronze medallist was left out of the running in fourth place.
When the island nation of Dominican Republic hosts the Pan American Games in August 2003, their Dressage Team, coached by Holland's Diederik Wigmans, will be a force to be reckoned with.
Las Marismas Influence on Bronze Team Medal
For their efforts the Dominican Republic Dressage Team of Losos de Muñiz, Georgie Fernández riding Joris Las Marismas (11-year-old KWPN gelding by Uniform x Octrooi), Diana Ramos de Tejeda on Arabella (11-year-old KWPN mare by Blanc Rivage XX x Roemer), and Vanessa Doyle riding Hulster (13-year-old gelding by Ulster x Utrecht) Las Marismas, earned the bronze medal behind Mexico's gold and Colombia's silver.
"I'm thrilled with winning the individual gold and the Dominican Republic Team's performance. We accomplished what we came here for, and as a Dutch Warmblood breeder it also makes me extremely proud to have a team entirely composed of KWPN horses," said Losos de Muñiz, 35.
Setting their sights on building an all-encompassing equine business, Losos de Muñiz and her husband Eduardo Muñiz have created, in just seven short years, "Las Marismas". It includes the Dominican Republic's premier dressage and show jumping facility and one of Canada's brightest Dutch Warmblood and Andalusian breeding operations. With guidance and support from Holland's foremost equine experts, Paul and Emile Hendrix, Las Marismas has acquired exceptional show jumping mounts and Dutch broodmares. Through the Hendrix brothers they were put in contact with Diederik Wigmans and Marcel Timmermans, who operate Stal TW in Stramproy, Holland.
For his part, Wigmans' mastery of matching suitable dressage horses with riders and his official capacity as the Dominican Republic Dressage Team Coach, has had the greatest impact on Las Marismas' riders this year, all of whom competed for their country at the Central American Games.
In the last year, Las Marismas' riders have held their own with some of the world's most skilled competitors. Losos de Muñiz and Inatana Las Marismas finished a resounding 2nd place with 67% in the Intermediare I Freestyle at the WEF Dressage Classic CDI***/Y in Wellington, Florida, in March 2002. Later in the spring she and fellow teammates Fernández and Ramos de Tejeda led Dominican Republic to its first-ever win of the FEI World Dressage Challenge, an international event sponsored by Performance Sales International (PSI). Losos de Muñiz won the overall Prix St. George division and has been invited to compete at the Final at the stables of Germany's Paul Shockemohle in July 2003.
As a warm-up to the FEI Championship of the Americas, held last July in Blainville, Quebec, Canada, where she and Fernández took home the Advanced Division bronze medal behind the U.S. and Canada, Losos de Muñiz won the Intermediare 1 Freestyle with 69% in Palgrave, Ontario, Canada. She was Reserve Intermediare I Champion after placing in the top three on the previous days.
Las Marismas Knows How to Jump too
A dedicated show jumping rider as well, Losos de Muñiz has had top placing in the 1.40 m division at competitions throughout the U.S. and Canada, including Spruce Meadows.
After her euphoric gold medal win in dressage at the Central American Games, Losos de Muñiz, riding Jilou Las Marismas, (10-year-old KWPN mare by Emilion x Nimmerdor), joined Hector Florentino, riding Maretty Las Marismas, (8-year-old KWPN mare by Ferro x L. Ronald), Juan Jose Bancalari on Trovador and Maria Gabriela Ricart riding Conway on the Dominican Republic Show Jumping Team.
Coached by Mariano Bedoya of Argentina, Florentino was the Dominican Republic's highest placed finisher at the Central American Games. The pair held their own throughout the week, being one of 25 competitors out of a starting field of 36 to advance to the final. With 46 accumulated faults after five rounds of competition, Hector and Maretty Las Marismas finished 15th overall.
Losos de Muñiz experienced sheer disappointment when she was forced to withdraw after her mount did not fully recover from a small injury incurred the first day of competition.
"This is the first time that our country has had a rider in the top 25. We are extremely proud of Hector and Maretty Las Marismas' performance at the Central American Games," said Losos de Muñiz. "The Dominican Republic Equestrian Teams are on track and we're one step closer to representing our country when it hosts the Pan American Games next summer."
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