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The United States Wins Two Individual Show Jumping Medals at 2003 Pan American Games
Chris Kappler Wins Silver and Margie Engle Takes the Bronze

Santo Domingo, DR—August 16, 2003—The United States won two individual Show Jumping Medals at the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Saturday. Chris Kappler of Pittstown, NJ, riding Royal Kaliber, owned by Kappler and Kathy Kamine captured the Silver with a cumulative score of 10.40 penalties and Margie Engle of Wellington, FL, took the Bronze on Hidden Creek’s Perin, owned by Hidden Creek Farm with a final score of 12.22. The Gold Medal went to Mark Watring of Puerto Rico who led from start to finish with a score of 5.83, riding Sapphire.

The United States Equestrian Team (USET) entered the Individual Final with all four riders in contention for a medal. Kappler was the best hope for the U.S. standing in second place with a score of 2.40. Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, NY was third with 5.16 faults, riding Conquest II, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Patton. Engle held the fifth spot with 8.22 faults and Lauren Hough of Wellington, FL aboard Windy City, owned by Peppercorn Ltd, was in eighth place, but elected not to go. A combination of factors affected her decision not to ride. Hough, with 12.28 faults, felt she was a little too far out of contention for a medal. Additionally, Windy City lost a shoe in the Nations’ Cup team competition and Hough was worried about causing further damage to the hoof. Mark Watring of Puerto Rico was still at the top of the leader board, with a combined score of .83 faults, riding Sapphire.

At the conclusion of the first round, there were two surprises. The first was that Madden and Conquest II were eliminated after having two refusals at the third part of the combination (fence 11C). The other surprise was that Kappler’s horse, Royal Kaliber, tried to jump the middle standard of fence six, which had a left/right option, taking it all down with his hind legs.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Kappler. “I was going over the fence and thinking to myself, I think I just jumped the standard, and then I heard everything fall.”

That unfortunate mishap gave Kappler four faults and a combined score of 6.40, widening the gap between himself and Watring, who completed another clear round and keeping his tally at 0.83. Engle and Perin also went clear and moved up two places for the third spot for the final round. The eleventh fence with a three-part combination seemed to cause the most trouble, allowing only three clears out of thirty- four competitors.

The final round of competition was extremely exciting as only two rails separated the top three. The rules called for the riders to come back in reverse order of merit, with the best competing last. None of first twenty-six riders were able to manage faultless performance until Gerrardo Tazzer of Mexico, riding fifth from last and managed a clear round. His cumulative score of 15.32 put the pressure on the remaining riders four riders, including the two from the U.S. Federico Fernandez, also of Mexico, followed Tazzer but fared less well than his teammate. Fernandez had a rail down as well as time faults for a final score of 18.75. Engle entered the ring with only one rail in hand. Fortunately, that was all Hidden Creek’s Perin knocked down and the pair ended up with 12.22, which assured the U.S. of at least one medal.

“I think the angled it too much to the planks,” said Engle. “My horse jumped super all week though. I was really pleased with how well he finished up.”

Kappler had it down too, but he also had a rail in hand and clinched the silver with a cumulative score of 10.40 faults. Owners Kathy and Hal Kamine were thrilled.

“Chris was great,” said Kathy. “We can’t thank him enough for his wonderful work with Kaliber.”

This was the first time Kappler ever rode for the team at a major games and he was pleased with the results in both the team and individual competitions.

“From the moment I was pre-selected I felt pressure”, said Kappler. “It was an incredible relief to win the team gold medal and now the individual silver. I hope this event is just the beginning of bigger things yet to come.”

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 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


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