July 18, 2007 --- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Tom Dvorak of Hillsburgh, ON, finished fourth in the Individual Dressage competition held Wednesday at the XV Pan American Games. He was edged out of bronze medal position by the smallest of margins, 0.05%, by Yvonne Losos de MuÃ±iz of the Dominican Republic riding the 11-year-old Hannoverian stallion, Bernstein Las Marismas.
Dvorak had a higher score than Losos de MuÃ±iz in the final round of competition, the FEI Intermediaire Musical Freestyle, but the combined results of Mondayâ€™s Intermediaire I test and Wednesdayâ€™s Freestyle gave the Dominican rider her second consecutive Individual Pan American Bronze medal. The Gold Medal went to Christopher Hickey of the United States who won both phases of the individual competition on the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Regent. Hickey's teammate, Lauren Sammis, claimed Silver with the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Sagacious HF.
In the Intermediaire Freestyle, riders are required to show the same technical elements as in the Intermediaire I test but arranged to choreography of the ridersâ€™ design and set to music, making it the most spectator-friendly phase of dressage competition. Dvorakâ€™s program with Beaumarchais, a 13-year-old Hannoverian gelding owned by Susan Holden, featured the theme from Peter Gunn for the trot work, and 1950's rock and roll music for the canter tour. The choreography highlighted Beaumarchaisâ€™ flying changes every second stride, a movement several of the top horses had difficulty with in the Freestyle. Dvorak received his highest score of the competition in the Freestyle test, 71.00%, for third place behind the gold and silver medalists. When combined with his 67.90% from Monday's Intermediaire I test, the resulting average score of 69.45% was not quite enough to put him on the podium.
"I was really happy with my horse," said Dvorak, 41. "My ride was mistake free, and my horse really pulled through for me."
All three members of the Canadian Dressage Team were among the top 15 athletes who qualified to compete in Wednesday's Individual Final. Andrea Bresee, 32, of Brockville, ON, had her best performance of the week on the Canadian-bred mare Raffles, owned by Gina Smith and Faith Berghuis. A score of 69.40% placed Bresee fifth in the Freestyle and moved her up from ninth position to finish seventh overall.
"She was a little bit tired today, but she stayed more relaxed in the ring," noted Bresee of the 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare. "And even though she was tired, she tried really hard, especially in the extended trots."
Diane Creech of Caistor Centre, ON, performed to a brand new musical program riding Wiona, a 10-year-old Hannoverian mare owned by Doug and Louise Leatherdale.
"The music was a little unfamiliar, but Wiona liked the music and I did too," said Creech, 44, whose score of 67.55% left her in eighth, both in the freestyle and overall.
The Canadian Dressage Team returns to Canada with newly gained international experience as well as the Team Silver Medal claimed on Sunday. The traveling reserve, Karen Pavicic of Richmond, BC, riding Lionheart, was also presented with a Team Silver Medal.
Equestrian competition continues on Friday, July 20, with eventing, held over three consecutive days. Team and Individual Medals will be awarded at the conclusion of competition on Sunday, July 22.
2007 Pan American Games - Final Individual Dressage Results
Rider Country Horse Score
1. Christopher Hickey United States Regent 70.725%
2. Lauren Sammis United States Sagacious HF 69.925%
3. Yvonne Losos de MuÃ±iz Dominican Republic Bernstein Las Marismas 69.500%
4. Tom Dvorak Canada Beaumarchais 69.450%
5. Vera Protzen Argentina Kadirmo 68.025%
6. Katherine Poulin-Neff United States Brilliant Too 67.675%
7. Andrea Bresee Canada Raffles 66.925%
8. Diane Creech Canada Wiona 66.675%
9. Jose Luis Padilla Mexico Lohengrin 65.500%
10. Annabelle Collins Bermuda Medici 64.550%
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"Andrea Bresee of Brockville, ON, finished seventh overall riding Raffles in her Canadian Dressage Team debut at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil."
Photo Credit - Cealy Tetley, www.tetleyphoto.com