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Colombia gains advantage over Mexico in first round of Nations Cup in Central American and Caribbean

XALAPA, Ver., Mexico 15th November 2014

Today good weather surprised us in Xalapa despite forecast and after three days o fog and cloud cover, a good omen for the first day of competitions in Dressage.

Mexico’s team is in second place after Colombia despite the best score by Bernadette Pujals who was riding Aurora El Camino for all she’s worth, obtaining 69.447%. Berna demostrated that she’s the best around by squeezing everything out of the mexican bred mare, pleasing the all female judge panel enough to almost get 70%.

The other members of the team obtained lower scores such as was JoséLuis Padilla, a veteran of regional games, riding his long-time mount Donnersberg with whom he has participated in two previous CCG and in two PanAm’s including Gudalajara 2011. His score today was 66.632%. Mercedes Campderá commented that he has improved much since the last Pan Am’s.

Jose Luis affectionately called “José Clooney” by his wife Nina, commented that he felt very good about his ride. “The horse and I were very happy during our test, from the warm up, I felt Donnersberg full of energy and enthusiasm, and from there I felt a lot of security and I can tell you that the execution of the test is the combination’s responsibility, and the scores the judges’. What’s important is that our difference with the Colombians is very much rescuable and tomorrow we will have to make an effort to obtain the very much yearned gold medal which I think is totally possible with the experience which our team has and the results we obtained during the selection process”.

The other female rider is Mariana quintana, who’s always happy and the only participant that no matter what is going on in her head or in her test, she never loses her smile. Mariana rode Benzemá, a horse with which she did a tour in Wellington earlier this year and she obtained a score of 66.079%. For Mariana this is the first time participating in a regional sports joust.

For Omar Zayrik though, the Sun was not bright enough; in his words his horse Presuntuoso “got exited”and in the four-time changes they did not coordinate and the horse kicked out the moment Omar asked for the first change. Their score was 61.978%. Omar has participated in 3 CCG and two Pan Am’s.

So therefore the team to beat is Colombia, a very well coordinated team that have at their disposal the wisdom and experience of Ulla Salzgeber, olympic and world champion from Germany. She’s been working with the Colombians for over a year and she expects them to win gold.

The best combination from Colombia were Raúl Corchuelo,with Beckham, who is considered by Mexican FEI judge Mercedes Campderá as a very technical rider, very calm and in tune with his horse. Corchuelo obtained 69.53% not far behind Berna.

Yet the surprise from Colombia came in the form of Marco Antonio Bernal Kalb, son of Marco Bernal, whom with only 17 years is participating in a regional sports joust and rode even better than his father obtaining 68.342%. Notwithstanding his young age Marco Antonio shone on the arena with Salvador, placing in 4th place individually.

His father Marco Bernal who rode his Pan Am’s mount Farewell IV scored 67.658%.

La otra sorpresa vino por parte de Anne Marie Egerström, amazona joven de 20 años proveniente de Costa Rica, amiga de varios de nosotros en México ya que anteriormente ella y su familia radicaban en México. Ami, montó con la sangre fría heredada de su padre y obtuvo la 5a posición individual con 67.737%. Ami no es tan novata como Marco Antonio de Colombia, ella participó con Amorino, su monta actual en los Juegos Panamericanos de Guadalajara 2011.

Another surprise came from Costa Rica, 20 year old Ami Egerström outdid herself riding her longtime mount Amorino and her parents scoring 67.737% proving she’s a cool competitor reminding people of her father Christer (Cristóbal) Egerström who rode Bello Oriente to a score off 66.816% and Ami’s mother Michelle Batalla rode a feisty Westergardens VI to a score of 60.211%. Definitely the parents are proud to be outdone by their daughter.

Venezuela was left in fourth position with a total of 64.833% despite having good horses, and Guatemala in fifth with 64.693%.

Tomorrow is the Intermediare I test with which the Nations Cup winners will be decided, and the three medallist will obtain their qualification for the Pan Am Games to be held in Toronto in 2015.

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