Daughter vs dad, US vs Canada at Pan Am Games equestrian

Mario Deslauriers competes for Canada on his horse Amsterdam 27 in the first classification round of individual and team equestrian jumping at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. His daughter Lucy Deslauriers, who he helps coach, was competing against him in the same event for the United States. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

It's student-daughter versus father-coach, U.S. versus Canada. It may not be the greatest rivalry in equestrian but it's the biggest competition in the Deslauriers household.

LIMA, Peru — It's student-daughter versus father-coach. It's the U.S. versus Canada. It may not be the greatest rivalry in equestrian, but it's the biggest competition in the Deslauriers household.

Lucy Deslauriers has many titles for the U.S. jumping team, sometimes even against her Canada-born father, International Grand Prix rider Mario Deslauriers.

Lucy edged her father again at Tuesday's first qualifier of the individual and team jumping competitions at the Pan Am Games in Lima.

Galloping with tight turns, she kept control of her horse, Hester, to jump a strong round and finish eighth with a time of 71.45 in a field of 50 riders. Mario was on course for one of the fastest times but after failing to recover quickly after he dropped a rail and ended in 10th.

"We have a lot of fun with it. In the competition ring we're on different teams, but I think at the end of the day we're on the same team all the time," Lucy said, chuckling. "So you know, we get two chances here."

The 20-year-old Deslauriers is considered one of the most successful young riders in the event. She has won FEI NAYV medals, a UDEF Junior Jumper National Championship and a USEF U25 National Championship. Her father — and sometimes rival — has been one of her main coaches along the ride.

"I'm really lucky to have him experiencing all of this with me, and he'll get to ride and tell me what he feels and in response to what he's seen me do," said the younger Deslauriers. Her mother, Lisa, is also a Grand Prix rider.

"It's fun that we can sort of bounce ideas off of each other."

Do they ever stop talking about their shared passion for the sport? "No, it pretty much goes on all the time," Lucy Deslauriers said. "On the good days, we celebrate together, and on the bad days, we talk about everything we can do better to prepare for the next round."

Elizabeth 'Beezie' Madden led Tuesday's qualifying in the individual event, with the U.S. team ranked No. 1 going into the next round. The U.S. team also includes Eve Jobs, the youngest daughter of the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Canada is in third place behind Brazil.

"We're right in the hunt ... we're right there and you know hopefully we left something in the tank for tomorrow," Mario Deslauriers said.

Hockey and horses: Growing up in Canada those were Mario Deslauriers' passions. He began riding professionally in his teenage years and competed for Canada at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where he placed fourth in the individual and team competitions. He continued to ride for Canada when he moved to the United States. But in 2008, he began representing the U.S. and he won the Grand Prix. After nearly a decade of competing for the Americans, he jumped back at the opportunity of riding for Canada. Now, he faces against his U.S. daughter.

"Oh, it's interesting," he said. "We compete, you know, every show against each other. But this is a bit different. This is a championship. It's her first championship. And there's a lot more pressure."

Sometimes, they joke around, he said. At other times, they give each other advice. He remains one of her main coaches. But these days, he's doing his best "not to interfere."

"We're doing great so far," he said. "I'm just very proud of her."


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