Host country Canada claimed team gold at the Pan-American Games — with the help of London 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning horse Tripple X III.
Canadian Tiffany Foster partnered Ben Maher’s former ride in the contest at Caledon Park, Toronto. Her teammates were Yann Candele and Showgirl, Eric Lamaze and Coco Bongo and Ian Millar with Dixon.
“Captain Canada” Ian Miller — who has competed at a record 10 Olympics — said: “We wanted this so badly for our team and our country.
“The last horse (from Argentina) had to have a fault of some kind. It came down to a fraction of the second in the end.”
Argentina’s Jose Larocca Jr added: “It’s huge for Argentina, it’s been many years since we have had a medal at a Championship like this so it’s very important, very encouraging to the young riders in our country.”
A total of 10 nations — Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Uruguay, USA and Venezuela — fielded teams.
Meanwhile in the individual championships (25 July) gold was won by US rider McLain Ward and Rothchild, while silver went to the Venzuelian Andres Roderiguez (Darlon van Groenhove). The USA’s Lauren Hough and Ohlala took bronze.
The individual medals were decided in a two-way jump-off for gold and silver, while there was a five-way race for the bronze.
“My game plan was to ride the first five fences fast to try to win it two ways. If I had a fence down I would still be fast enough — and I was lucky at the last (fence), I gave that a bit of a rattle. But I’ve never won a big one without a little bit of good fortune,” said McLain.
“I knew the courses would get bigger as the week went on and that would suit Rothchild. He’s a blood horse and a stamina test suits him, but I knew I couldn’t make a mistake — it was a tough day’s work.”
Olympic qualification was also hanging in the balance — with Canada and Argentina claming the two team spots for Rio 2016. Two individual qualifying spots have been earned by both Colombia and Venezuela, and one each by Uruguay and Peru.