Guadalajara, Mexico – Canadian Dressage Team members Tom Dvorak of Hillsburgh, ON, Tina Irwin of Stouffville, ON, and Crystal Kroetch of Calgary, AB, placed fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in the Individual Dressage Final
held Wednesday, October 19, at the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Canada’s youngest team member, 30-year-old Irwin, was the first to enter the arena at the Guadalajara Country Club. Riding Winston, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Mary Ellen Horgan, Irwin performed to a medley of popular songs from the 80’s, including ‘What a Feeling’ from Flashdance and ‘Life Is Life’ by Noah and the Whale. Winston showed his maturity and consistency with a flawless and expressive performance that earned a score of 77.225% for Irwin. “Winston was amazing, and I was totally thrilled,” said Irwin, who was making her major games debut. “It was my personal best score. We definitely peaked at the right time. It was also fantastic to ride to my music, which was produced by long-time sponsors and supporters Lewis Manné and Wendy Watson of Zap Productions.”Combined with her Intermediaire I score of 70.842% from the first half of the individual competition on Monday, Irwin’s average score of 74.034% moved her up five places, from tenth after the Intermediaire I, to fifth.
Next in for Canada was Kroetch, 54, riding her own 10-year-old
Hannoverian gelding Lymrix. Kroetch’s difficult choreography included a canter pirouette immediately following the initial halt, and a serpentine of two tempi changes. Her score of 76.325% placed her sixth in the Freestyle. Having finished ninth in the Intermediaire I two days earlier with a score of 71%, Kroetch improved on her ultimate placing, with an average score from the two tests of 73.663%, and seventh place overall.
Dvorak, 46, was the second last rider in the arena, competing
immediately after the eventual silver medalist, Heather Blitz of the United
States on Paragon, and the gold medalist Steffen Peters, also of the United
States, on Weltino’s Magic. Dvorak rode Viva’s Salieri, a 10-year-old
Canadian-bred Hannoverian stallion, to a dynamic Spanish guitar themed program
that included four canter pirouettes and tempi changes on curved lines for added
difficulty. An impressive score of 77.300% placed Dvorak fourth in the
Combined with his fourth place result of 73.079% in the Intermediaire
I, Dvorak finished fourth overall with an average score of 75.190%. Even more
impressive, Viva’s Salieri is a Canadian-bred horse, having been bred by owners
Augustin and Christine Walch of W. Charlot Farms in Stratford, ON.
For Dvorak, the results in Guadalajara were reminiscent of the 2007
Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he also placed fourth
individually, having also claimed a team silver medal.
The Canadian riders had high praise for the support they received
from Team Chef d’Equipe Gina Smith of Brockville, ON, and Team Technical Leader
Markus Gribbe of Germany.
“It’s great to be a part of our team’s wonderful results and to be able to help,” said Smith,
who was a member of Canada’s bronze medal team at the 1988 Seoul
Following the Prix St. Georges test held October 16, Canada won the
team silver medal and, in doing so, achieved their goal of qualifying a team for
the 2012 London Olympics. Unfortunately, under Pan American Games rules, only
three riders per nation may advance to the Individual Final. Although the
fourth member of the Canadian Dressage Team, 48-year-old Roberta Byng-Morris of
Godmanchester, QC, was unable to compete on the final day, she placed
16th individually in her major games debut with her 12-year-old
Hannoverian gelding Reiki Tyme.
The Canadian Dressage Team was assisted at the Pan American Games by
Team Veterinarian Dr. Alan Manning. The Canadian Equestrian Team is supported
at the Pan American Games by Team Leader Kerri McGregor of Newmarket, ON, and
Assistant Team Leader Tina Collins of Loretto, ON.
Pan American Games – Final Individual Dressage Results:
Gold: Steffen Peters United
States Weltino’s Magic
Silver Heather Blitz United
States Paragon 81.917%
Bronze Marisa Featherling United States
Big Tyme 77.545%
4. Tom Dvorak Hillsburgh,
ON Viva’s Salieri 75.190%
5. Tina Irwin Stouffville,
ON Winston 74.034%
6. Crystal Kroetch Calgary,
AB Lymrix 73.66%
For more information on the 2011 Pan American Games, held every four years, please