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Julio Mendoza Loor & Jewel’s Goldstrike Are Bejeweled in Santiago

©FEI/Shannon Brinkman

When Julio Mendoza Loor and Jewel’s Goldstrike walk in a ring they make the whole place shimmer.

How else to explain the series of personal bests that lead them to the 2023 Pan American Games and then landed them atop the podium in Santiago on Wednesday?

It’s been that way since the start of their FEI career. Based in North Carolina-based, Mendoza Loor and the 12-year-old chestnut Dutch Warmblood have won 15 of their 20 FEI appearances since 2022, including a clean sweep at the Bolivarian Games in Bogota, Colombia last year.

And it’s only gotten better.

In February, they earned in a series of personal bests in the CDIO3* Grand Prix Special and Freestyle Week 7 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. “It was the feeling of a lifetime, the ride was unbelievable,” said the Ecuadorian rider of their Freestyle performance at the time.

In April, the pair cracked the 80% mark for the first time in the CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 81.210% at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala.

On Wednesday, they achieved yet another personal best to strike the individual gold in Santiago, Chile. It’s the first time Ecuador has won a gold medal in dressage at a Pan Am Games.

©FEI/Shannon Brinkman
©FEI/Shannon Brinkman

Twenty pairs advanced to the dressage individual final in Santiago, with no more than three pairs from any one country on the start list. Four Small Tour pairs and 16 Big Tour pairs were represented with an extra 3% bonus going to the latter for performing a Grand Prix Freestyle versus an Intermediate I Freestyle. 

USA’s Sarah Tubman and First Apple were the first combination to break 80, scoring 81.155%. Alas, it wouldn’t be enough to put her on the podium.

Performing a contemporary program to upbeat dance music, Mendoza Loor and Jewel’s Goldstrike earned an 87.230% from the judges for their extended canter, tempi changes and high artistic marks—the score is a full 5% higher than their previous personal best.

Brazil’s João Victor Marcari came closest to catching them with his vintage jazz program aboard Westphalian stallion, Feel Good, dancing to a 86.160% for the silver medal.

Last to return, Anna Marek (USA) and Fire Fly closed out the afternoon with a 81.305% to take the individual bronze medal in their championship debut.

Ecuador has now earned an individual spot at the Paris 2024 Olympics, thanks to Mendoza Loor’s medal, as has Chile for Svenja Grimm eighth place finish.

Equestrian continues at the 2023 Pan American Games with eventing, Friday October 27 through 29.

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