Team USA’s Cara Raether and Ublesco Finish Eighth, Lead Americans in Individual Show Jumping at XV Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil—The last of the three equestrian disciplines contested at the XV Pan American Games – show jumping – wrapped up at Deodoro Military Complex outside of Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. The final results were cause for celebration for Canada and Brazil. Team USA’s Cara Raether and Ublesco finished in eighth place, the highest spot earned by an American combination on the last day of the XV Pan American Games.
Two rounds decided the final prizes. There were three withdrawals from the initial lineup of 33 horse-and-rider combinations, including one American pairing – New Jersey’s Laura Chapot and her Little Big Man, a 13-year-old KWPN Dutch Warmblood gelding who would have entered the competition in eighth place. The horse had experienced a rough time in Brazil, though performing well in the team competition. However, a decision was made to not campaign the horse in the Individual final considering upcoming competition in Sao Paolo. Another U.S. combination – Todd Minikus and his Pavarotti (a 10-year-old KWPN Dutch Warmblood gelding) – did not make the cut to compete in the Individual final after experiencing a fall during the team competition.
A triple combination near the end of the morning’s course asked quite a bit of the jumpers, and it saw plenty of downed rails. In addition, another four-meter open water caught many on the far side. The final jump, a vertical over a Liverpool, denied many possible clear rounds and added faults. The course saw its 23rd rider enter the ring before a clean-and-clear round was posted – Mexico’s Jose Antonio Chedraui and Don Porfirio, doing so in 74.52 seconds.
First up for Team USA was Florida’s resident Cara Raether and Ublesco (a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion), who came into the Individual final in 10th place.
The pair downed the front rail of the oxer at fence seven, but went on to clear the trying Liverpool to end on four faults in a time of 71.09, well under the allowed clearance of 77 seconds. They sat, going into the final round for an Individual medal, at eighth place.
“Today was a good day,” said Raether. “The footing was good, even though we had a lot of rain today. I was happy with my horse.”
She was followed with clean-and-clear rounds by Brazil’s Bernardo Alves and Chupa Chup 2 and Canada’s Eric Lamaze and Hickstead before the second U.S. rider entered the ring.
Lauren Hough, aboard the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Casadora (owned by Laura and Meredith Mateo), entered the final two rounds in fifth place. She downed three poles to take on 12 faults – each of them coming in the combinations. The first was the vertical in the double combination at fence nine. Then she caught the first and second rails in the triple combination – the oxer at 11a and the vertical at 11b. She sat in ninth place going into the medal-deciding round.
Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa, whose face was splashed across newspapers in Brazil on Saturday after his team’s Gold-medal victory and who requires a bodyguard in his native country, entered the ring aboard Rufus, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. To great applause he put down a clean-and-clear round to move into first place. The crowd was obviously behind the star, singing his praises after his round, Brazilian flags waving in the cold air.
Canada’s Ian Millar and In Style followed Pessoa and took the lead, clearing the course. Another Canadian – Jill Henselwood – followed Millar on Special Ed, a 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding, and stole the lead from her countryman. Going clean-and-clear, she edged ahead.
The last to ride in the morning was the host country’s Pedro Veniss. He downed the first fence in the triple to end on four faults, sitting him in fifth going into the final round.
The sun poked its head out finally for the final round, and it would prove to be smiling down on the Canadian and Brazilian riders.