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United States Wins Double Gold in Pan American Eventing Championship at Fair Hill International

Gladstone, NJ—October 27, 2003—The United States Equestrian Team (USET) won the team and individual Gold Medals in the Pan American Eventing Championship at the 2003 Fair Hill International Festival in the Country.

The U.S. finished the three phases of dressage, cross country and show jumping with a score of 190.0 penalties to successfully defend the team Gold it won at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg. Canada finished second for the team Silver Medal with 325.0 penalties and Brazil took the Bronze with a score of 1394.4. With its team Silver Medal, Canada earned a place in next year’s Olympic Games in Athens. The U.S. had already earned a place at Athens by winning the World Championship last year in Jerez, Spain.

“People expected us to win this week and that put a lot of pressure on us,” said U.S. team rider Robert Costello. “We still had to go out there and do the job and I’m very proud of our team’s performance.”

Individually, U.S. rider Darren Chiacchia of Springville, NY clinched the Gold with a penalty-free show jumping round to finish with a score 52.4 on Windfall 2. Karen O’Connor of The Plains, VA won the individual Silver with a score of 59.0 on Joker’s Wild and Jan Thompson of Purcellville, VA won the Bronze with a score of 62.4 on Shared Dreams.

“I have a great horse and a lot of confidence in his ability to do well,” said Chiacchia who won the USET Eventing Spring Championship at Foxhall last April. “He has continued to develop and get stronger in all three phases. I’m thrilled with what he did here.”

No eventing competition was held at the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo earlier this year and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) decided to hold the Pan American Eventing Championship in conjunction with the Fair Hill International CCI***. The U.S. win completes a sweep of the three Pan Am equestrian disciplines. The U.S. won the team Gold in dressage and show jumping at Santo Domingo in August.

Competing for the Pan Am championship were riders and horses from Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States. The U.S. team included Robert Costello of Southern Pines, NC on Dalliance; Will Faudree of Norwood, NC on Antigua; Jan Thompson of Purcellville, VA on Shared Dreams; and Stephen Bradley of Middleburg, VA on Brandenburg’s Joshua. Eight other U.S. riders competed as individuals.

David O’Connor of The Plains, VA had led the Pan Am individual competition after the completion of the dressage and cross country phases on Courting Danger. However, a fall during the cross country of the USET Championship after the Pan Am competition put him in the hospital with a broken ankle and broken wrist, denying him a chance for the Pan Am individual Gold. He had won the individual Silver at the 1999 Pan American Games at Winnipeg.

The United States Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization that selects, trains, equips and finances equestrians of the highest possible standard to represent our country in major international competition, including the Olympic Games and the World Championships. To accomplish this the USET seeks out and nurtures the development of talented athletes - riders, drivers, vaulters and horses - and provides the support and guidance they need to help them attain their fullest potential. For more information on the USET, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org.


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