Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti Look to Complete Medal Collection with Team Gold in Lima

Jessica Phoenix of Cannington, ON, and Pavarotti (“Rotti”) have been nominated to the Canadian Eventing Team for the Lima 2019 Pan American Games, taking place July 26-Aug. 11 in Peru – their third Pan Am Games and fifth major games together.
Photo Credit: ©EC

Jessica has partnered with Pavarotti, whom she affectionately calls “Rotti”, for four of seven total major games. (Jessica also competed with Exploring at the 2007 Rio Pan Am Games, Exponential at the 2012 London Olympics, and A Little Romance at the 2016 Rio Olympics.) The pair’s nomination to the 2019 Canadian Eventing Team caused justifiable excitement, as Jessica and Rotti are the most decorated eventing combination in Canadian history. They began their celebrated major games career with a statement debut at the 2011 Games in Guadalajara, MEX.

“In 2011, he did not have a very strong base of fitness,” said Jessica of Rotti. “We’d only been together for nine months at the time, so we had a lot to pull together in a short time period. When Rotti and I arrived in Guadalajara, I could tell that he was as ready as I was to ride for Canada. I knew that if we just stayed relaxed and enjoyed each other, we’d be able to pull off something awesome.”

And that’s just what Jessica and Rotti did, calmly cruising through the cross-country and show jumping phases to finish on their dressage score of 43.9 penalties and capture the individual gold and team silver medals.

Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti Look to Complete Medal Collection with Team Gold in Lima

Jessica planted a kiss on Rotti after winning the individual gold and team silver medals at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, MEX.
Photo Credit: The Canadian Press

“It was the purest of wins,” described Jessica. “Leading from start to finish and enjoying it every step of the way is the best circumstance you can hope for in a competition. The feeling was indescribable.”

Jessica and Rotti continued to chase that feeling at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), helping the Canadian Eventing Team earn sixth in Normandy, FRA, which secured Canada’s berth to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. 

Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti Look to Complete Medal Collection with Team Gold in Lima

Jessica and Rotti next represented the red and white at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, FRA.
Photo Credit: Cealy Tetley

During the 2015 spring competition season, Jessica’s podium pursuit suffered a setback: she fell off Exultation on the cross-country course at the Jersey Fresh International Three Day Event in Allentown, NJ, incurring serious damage to her liver and five broken bones. Remarkably, Jessica was back on her trusted Rotti just a short two months later for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, ON. Despite Jessica’s recent injuries, she and Rotti once again found themselves on the podium, winning individual silver and team bronze medals in front of an ecstatic hometown crowd.

Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti Look to Complete Medal Collection with Team Gold in Lima

Jessica bounced back from injury to ride Rotti and earn the individual silver and team bronze medals at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, ON.
Photo Credit: Cealy Tetley

“The ability to trust 100% in the horse underneath you makes all the difference,” explained Jessica. “The lead up to those Games was tough physically for me, as I was recovering from two surgeries and many injuries sustained in the fall. But sitting on Rotti, I didn’t have a worry in the world. I trusted him completely and knew we could make it to the podium.”

Jessica and Rotti once again rode for Canada at WEG 2018 in Tryon, NC, but were unfortunately eliminated in the cross-country phase. But their nomination to the Canadian Eventing Team for Lima 2019 offers the indefatigable combination yet another shot at making the podium.

“At this point, we know each other inside and out, and have an incredibly strong bond which will hopefully give us the winning edge in Lima,” said Phoenix of Rotti. “Each year, we’ve built a stronger and stronger relationship and, in doing so, have fine-tuned our training and preparation. He now has a very strong base of fitness and understanding of all three disciplines, and gets straight to business on competition days. He’s an incredibly competitive horse, both mentally and physically. I’ve had such an outstanding career with Rotti that it’s an absolute honour to be named to a third Pan Am team with him.”

Having already secured team silver and bronze, there’s only one spot on the Pan Am podium that has evaded Jessica and Rotti’s grasp. “I would love to contribute to winning a team gold medal first and foremost,” she commented. “An individual gold medal would be the cherry on top.”

To support Jessie and Rotti on their #RidetoLima in pursuit of the team gold medal, visit https://www.equestrian.ca/donate.

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