• Share:

U.S. Eventing Team Holds First Place After Strong Dressage Showing with Cross-Country Phase to Come Tomorrow

by US Equestrian Communications Dept. | Oct 27, 2023, 8:44 PM

Santiago, Chile – The U.S. Eventing Team made moves in the dressage phase of competition today at Santiago 2023, sitting on a team total of 79.8 looking ahead to tomorrow’s cross-country. Canada currently sits in second on a 93.5, while Brazil is in third on a 99.9. Cross-country will begin at 11:00 a.m. GMT-3/10:00 a.m. ET and will be streamed via ClipMyHorseTV and will be available free of charge.

“I was proud of team today and the results produced, but ultimately, we’re already focused on tomorrow. We know that this course is legitimate, and we need to be looking ahead at everything we can do to be prepared as a team for the next phase across the board,” said Chef d’Equipe Bobby Costello.


Sydney Elliott (Benton, La.) and QC Diamantaire led the order for the team as the first combination to head down the centerline. Dressage and jumping at Santiago 2023 will run at the CCI4* level, while cross-country is set to CCI3* specifications. Elliott and the 2010 Oldenburg gelding owned by Carol Stephens, finished with a respectable score of 33.3 for the team to start the day.

“He really lit up in there and I thought he handled himself well. It’s so wonderful with all the spectators here,” said Elliott. “The halts were a highlight for me because Bettina [Hoy] and I have been working on them for quite some time, so to get three pretty decent halts, I felt like my day was made. The plan for tomorrow since I’m the first out is to test all the direct routes, see how it rides, and figure out how close it’s going to be to make the time. I think for all our horse and rider combinations, we all know you really can’t fall asleep out there.”

In her long-awaited championship debut, Sharon White (Summit Point, W.V.) and her own Claus 63, a 2012 Holsteiner gelding, were accurate and relaxed in their work in the arena, which was well rewarded by the judges. The pair scored a 28.2 to hold the lead through majority of the morning’s combinations and White was thrilled with the improvements and focus Claus brought into the ring and was quick to thank the support team behind her for their continued belief in her.

“I’m just so happy with him in the whole test because he was up and excited but totally still a gentleman in there. This is all just very special – my teammates are amazing and the support staff – it’s really an incredible experience,” said White. “It’s been so much work, and it’s been years and decades of commitment for me, and I’m just so thankful to all the people who have supported me and helped us get to this point. I’m just so grateful for everyone.”

For Caroline Pamukcu (Miami Beach, Fla.) and HSH Blake, a 2015 Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Pamukcu, Sherrie Martin, and Mollie Hoff, the atmosphere suited them well and the duo rose to the occasion, wowing with their fluid, mistake-free test to sit on a 26.8 going into cross-country tomorrow and boosting the team further up the leaderboard.

"I’m really happy with the test. I think there are more points in there, but when you’re in a team environment you put them first and not yourself, so I wanted to go in and do a solid test without having a blow up trying to go for some huge score,” she explained. “He’s only eight and he’s done a couple of young horse championships and Blake and I have both been through the entire U.S. pathway program, so my goal is to prove everyone proud and show that our system in America works,” said Pamukcu. “I’m just the jockey and I jokingly say I just get to sit there and look pretty while everyone around me is doing all the work and supporting me, so I’m just trying to do the best I can for them. I think the course is really going to feel a lot like Strzegom [Poland]. It’s twisty-turny and you’re really going to have to go flat out to make the time.”

As the anchor combination for the U.S., Liz Halliday (Ocala, Fla.) and Miks Master C, a 2012 Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Debbie Palmer and Ocala Horse Properties LLC, embraced the pressure and were impressive in their championship debut, earning a 24.8. The pair showed consistent and uphill work throughout the test, including in their changes and lateral work, and sealed the top standing for the United States after the first day of competition.

“This is a moment I’ve been waiting on for a long time. It’s an absolute pleasure to be here. He’s such a wonderful horse and he always offers me so much every single time,” said Halliday. “I thought he really had incredible half-passes in the trot and the extended canter.” Of the course tomorrow, Halliday added, “For tomorrow, the footing is spectacular. The course is going to be tough enough and I think the time will be influential and there’s a lot to do. It’s a quality track and it’s certainly up-to standard and it will take some respect.”

Cross-country will begin tomorrow with Elliott and QC Diamantaire set to leave the start box at 11:00 a.m. GMT-3/10:00 a.m. ET. Competition will continue through the day, with White and Claus 63 at 11:32 a.m. GMT-3/10:32 a.m. ET, Pamukcu and HSH Blake at 12:08 p.m. GMT-3/11:08 a.m. ET, and Halliday and Miks Master C rounding out the team scores at 12:44 p.m. GMT-3/11:44 a.m. ET. The competition will be streamed live on ClipMyHorseTV.

Schedule | Streaming | Results

Watch all of the equestrian competition live on ClipMyHorseTV beginning October 22. For more information on the 2023 Santiago Pan American Games, visit www.santiago2023.org/en.

Keep Up with US Equestrian
Stay up to date on US Equestrian Teams at the Pan American Games on US Equestrian on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter or our discipline-specific accounts for USA Dressage, USA Eventing, and USA Jumping on Facebook and Instagram.

The USEF International High Performance Programs and the USEF High Performance Pathway Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, the philanthropic partner to USEF. High Performance Program support is also provided by the USOPC and USEF sponsors and members.