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2009 Pan American Championship
Images by Steph Teeter

2009 Pan American Championship
Images by Steph Teeter

2009 Pan American Championship
Images by Steph Teeter

Home || Starters List || Official Website || Final Results

Stories: Got Here Just in Time - Steph || Arrival in Uruguay - Dinah Rojek || Day Before the Race - Kathy Brunjes || Hola!! Kyle Gibbon
Vet In Day - Steph || Thursday Morning - Kathy Brunjes || Thursday Afternoon - Kathy Brunjes || On Loop 3 - Steph
Friday Night - Kathy || The Day After - Kathy|| Heading Home - Dinah || Pan Am Departure - Kyle
2 Medallas de oro para la Argentina - Claudia Quentin
Steph's Story:
Part 1, The Venue
Part 2, Team Effort - Uruguay and Argentina
Part 3, Team Effort - USA
Part 4, Team Effort - Guatemala and Malaysia

Images of the Event:
Vetting In || The Road || The Beach || The Camp || The Camp - more || The Finish || Awards Celebration || Team USA

Team Effort - Part 4 - Guatemala and Malaysia

And hooray for Guatemala! They have only been doing Endurance for 4 years, but are learning fast and are highly dedicated. I met Scarlet de Rodas in Paris at the FEI World Forum for Endurance, back in ...2007? She is now a 4* Judge, and has been to Idaho twice to officiate my rides! She is a good sport, willing to help in any regard, and she is a strong motivating force behind Guatemala's success.

Guatemala actually entered 6 riders, the maximum allowed. They leased horses which made sense for them as they are still building up their own endurance horse numbers, with few rides in general, and even fewer 2* and 3* rides to qualify horses and riders. And they are all quite young. Apparently one of the Guatemalans told Vonita Bowers (USEF Endurance Director) that she was so impressed with the US riders - and they're so 'old' !! And Steve Rojek was 'so old' and still doing 75 mile rides! (after doing a 100 a few weeks ago and going home to do a 100 this coming weekend). It gave the US riders who -are- relatively old a good laugh.

Well, these young and fairly inexperienced riders finished 5 of the 6 starters, with a 7th (Laura Paiz Larrave and Princesa del Miraso), a 10th (Fernando Paiz Larrave and Balek El Tornado), 13th (Clarissa De Wit Aldana and TBO Faisan), 14th (Jaima Humberto Masilla Vargas and Julieta), and 18th (Janio Johnston and Impa) place finishes. Unfortunately Byron Lopez and Esperanza I were eliminated at the first vetgate.

These riders won the Bronze medal on horses they had never ridden before. Good horses, good riders. They were deservedly proud, and also had a few tears and smiles at the awards ceremony.

And - Malaysia!! The 'energizer bunnies' of World Endurance riding. Four riders came and leased horses, and two riders earned completions. Tuanku Misan (Malaysia's King) won the Silver 'off continent' Medal, and Dato Abdullah Taib riding Horus won the Bronze. Halim Abdul Aliham and AS Uruti were elimated at the first vet gate and Wan Mohd Kamaluddin Wan Yussof riding Pacifica del Timote was eliminated at the finish.

Dato Abdullah, who is not a young man, but is a very determined and dedicated man, was riding as the team 'anchor'. Tuanku Mizan and Yussof were in a good position as they went out on the last loop and as long as Dato Abdullah finished, they would finish a full 'off continent' team. Five miles from the finish Dato Abdullah's horse tripped and they both fell. Abdullah was hurt (he found out later he had broken his collar bone) and couldn't remount his horse. But, he had to finish for the team, so he hand walked the horse the final five miles into camp. He arrived after dark, determined to finish, and according to FEI rules the rider must be mounted to cross the finish line. His team helped him get back on and he was able to ride across the finish, and then was swept away by the ambulance.

THAT was a team effort. (of course he hadn't know that Yussof would be eliminated at the finish, and his determinate to finish the team was moot). But - as it turned out his efforts won him an individual Bronze. It was a real boost to the Endurance program, and to Uruguay to have King Mizan attend. He took the time to meet with heads of State, and drew a large press - National coverage. He is definitely my favorite King (well... perhaps the only King I know) - he is a friendly man, a great sense of humor, very 'sporting' . He brought his family with him, wide eyed children, they are seeing so much more of the world because of Tuanku Mizan's involvement in sport. (He also took time to play golf in Punte de Este). I am a tremendous fan of this man, and of what he is doing for his country and his people - who love him dearly.

Dominique Freeman, riding her own horse Roger HCF for Great Britain, won the Gold Medal for off continent (non Pan American) riders. Dominique rode a steady and smart ride all day, smiling whenever I saw her, looking focused and professional.

And that's the story of the 2009 Pan Americano.

But it is also worth mentioning that the awards party was one of the best! It was held in conjunction with an auction, at Haras Santa Maria, a most amazing ranch in the countryside not far from Costa Azul. A huge spread - hundreds of people, free flowing wine and drinks and abundant Asado (bbq'd beef, lamb, sausage) - it was an amazing thing. The auction was held in the little grassy area where the awards were given, horses ridden in, circled, the auctioneer babbling away in spanish auction-speak. Hand softly raising, prices going up... and up. Most horses sold for between 10 and 30 thousand dollars. Three horses will be going to Malaysia, one to Colombia, one to Argentina - and away they go!

It was a fun fun celebration, and the awards were overwhelming dominated by emotional and cheering Argentines... with Uruguay and Guatemala not far behind.

And huge congratulations to the Organizers!!! Job well done.

that's it!