Devon Maitozo, a resident of Woodside and a competitive equestrian, led a U.S. team of seven mostly Bay Area riders to a team gold medal Sunday in the vaulting category at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky.
Vaulting is gymnastics and dance on the back of a moving horse.
The FACE team -- Free Artists Creative Equestrian -- performed "Romeo and Juliet," a freestyle program choreographed by and with additional music from Mr. Maitozo, according to Brian Sosby of the U.S. Equestrian Federation.
"This is a culmination of a lot of years of very hard work, and I have to say the most amazing thing for me is to be here with this team," Mr. Maitozo said.
It was not a perfect visit. The team had to recover psychologically from an earlier performance in which their horse, a 12-year-old gelding named Palatine, spooked and two team members had been accidentally dismounted. But they recovered.
"We really connected today. We looked each other in the eye," Mr. Maitozo said. "Our horse was just beautiful and we had the love of the audience with us which helped. We were just in our bodies today. To us, it's about the connection to the music and to each other, bringing in the audience."
The silver and bronze medals went to the German and Austrian teams, respectively.