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Gold For USA Dressage Team

The U.S. dressage team of Lauren Sammis (Sagacious HF); Katherine Poulin-Neff (Brilliant Too) and Christopher Hickey (Regent) won the Pan American Games gold medal in Rio de Janiero, Brazil on July 15, 2007, with a score of 68.63, beating Canada (silver - 67.25) and Brazil (bronze - 64.93).

Sammis headed the leader board coming into the final day of the team competition and at the half way stage the Americans and Canadians were separated by just two-tenths of a percentage.

"I felt good about the test," said Poulin-Neff who is currently lying in sixth place individually. "There was one little mistake at the end—a flying change. I corrected it, but overall he [Brilliant Too] felt good. I thought he would be more nervous in there but overall I was really happy.

Riding for gold, Hickey and Regent scored 69.150%, which placed them second individually.

"I made a few little mistakes, and part of those were rider error…going for it a little too much," said Hickey. "But I’m very happy with our ending score and to be able to represent the U.S. team. I was a little overzealous trying to make him more expressive, and I could have ridden him a little calmer. That is one place where I rode too much and tried to make him higher in the neck and little more forward over the ground with more expression. It didn’t work today."

"Considering that all of these riders are riding in a large international event for the first time, each and every one did a fantastic job," said chef d’equipe Klaus Balkenhol. "I am thrilled that these riders were able to get the gold medal. I also want to thank to everyone—the grooms and the others who worked together…that’s really important."

Looking toward the individual final, Sammis said that she was fortunate to be competing on Hyperion Farm, Inc’s, eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Sagacious HF. "I have a wonderful horse, and I would take a bad day on that horse any day," she said.

Courtesy: The HorseTV Channel News, http://www.horsetv.com


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