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Canada wins Pan Am Games equestrian gold, qualifies eventing team for Paris Olympics

Buoyed by a strong round in show jumping, Canada climbed two medal spots to not only earn Pan Am Games gold on Sunday but book a spot in the equestrian eventing team competition at the Paris Olympics next summer.

Lindsay Traisnel (Maidstone, Ont.), Karl Slezak (Tottenham, Ont.), Toronto’s Michael Winter and Colleen Loach (Dunham, Que.) posted a narrow victory over the United States, which had previously earned an Olympic berth at the world championships last year in Italy.

“My horse is an exceptional jumper, so I knew that if I just did my job he would do his, and that is very confidence-inspiring going in,” Loach, who posted two clear rounds on the day, stated from Santiago, Chile. “The qualification was our goal today and the rest was just icing on the cake.”

Brazil collected bronze and the other available Olympic spot over Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay.

Traisnel also collected individual bronze in show jumping behind Caroline Pamukcu of the United States and Brazil’s Márcio Jorge, but was most proud of the team accomplishment.

“It was definitely the most important part of our trip, getting that qualification, so we’re very happy to have done that,” Traisnel said.

Canada’s eventing team ranked second after dressage and third after the cross-country event at the Grenadier Regiment Riding School northeast of Santiago.

It will enter full teams in both eventing and dressage in Paris after the dressage team’s bronze medal.

Equestrian Canada will name an eventing team of three riders and their horses, plus an alternate, next year.

Show jumping startsTuesday. The top three countries in the team event not yet qualified earn Olympic berths. Canada is among eight countries chasing those spots.

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