Like death, taxes and two scoops of raisins in every box of Raisin Bran, McLain Ward has been a constant the Americans can count upon in every team championship since the Obama administration.
He’s ridden on every Olympic team since 2004. (And has two team gold medals and a team silver to show for it.)
He’s contested every FEI World Equestrian Games since 2006, collecting a trio of team medals—gold, silver and bronze—in the process.
And he’s been a medal-winning mainstay in the Pan American Games since 2011, having won both team gold and team bronze as well as his first ever individual gold medal.
The Pan Am Games in Lima was set to see that trend continue.
Until it did not.
The defending Pan Am champion was originally named to the 2019 Lima team alongside Alex Granato (with Carlchen W), Eve Jobs (on Venue d’Fees des Hazalles) and fellow team staple Beezie Madden (aboard Breitling LS). On Wednesday, US Equestrian announced that Ward’s mount Contagious has been withdrawn after the 10-year-old Deutches Sportpferd gelding sustained an unspecified injury.
And thus ended his perfect attendance record of the past decade.
(Disclaimer: we’ll probably just start counting his international championship record, which dates back to Bush’s second term, from here out. Stats are nothing if not easily spun.)
Twenty-year-old Lucy Deslauriers and 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Hester, originally named as the traveling reserve, will step up to fill Ward’s considerable shoes. Richard Spooner and Quirado RC are now the traveling reserve combination.
*Update from Ward*