For the first time in the history of eventing sport, all five American riders jumped double clear in their show jumping rounds of the team competition, as well as jumping five double clears the day prior on cross country, winning team gold on their dressage scores.
The mounts of Buck Davidson, Michael Pollard, Hannah Burnett, Shannon Lilley and Lynn Symansky all passed the morning jog and advanced to show jumping. Led by Buck, they all jumped clear and within the time to retain their stronghold on the Team Gold Medal. It is safe to say that their performance was a feat that has never been accomplished before in the sport of eventing.
The United States Equestrian Federation quoted Chef d’Equipe Mark Phillips as saying that, “Five people finishing on their dressage score – that’s never been done before in the history of our sport. I would like to give a really special congratulations to my team.”
Canada held onto their 2nd placed position to secure Team Silver medal, and Brazil captured the Team Bronze.
In the individual competition, which followed the team rounds about an hour later in the Olympic format (only the top three from each team were allowed to show jump for individual honors,) Buck Davidson led the U.S. effort with yet another clean round aboard Absolute Liberty, and winning the Individual Bronze Medal. Hannah Burnett followed with a clear round of her own with Harbor Pilot, which netted her the Individual Silver Medal.
Unfortunately, Michael Pollard and Schoengreen Hanni pulled two rails in their individual show jumping round, knocking them to fourth place in the individual standings.
Wall to wall leader Jessica Phoenix of Canada continued her domination of the weekend by jumping double clear with Pavarotti, clinching the Individual Gold Medal.
Both North American nations certainly made their journey to Mexico more than worth it throughout this spectacular weekend for the sport of eventing. The following images of the day’s events come to us via MacMillan Photography: