Two steps closer to WEG for Brazilian quartet

Two steps closer to WEG for Brazilian quartet

A spectacular Freestyle test had the audience on its feet for Luiza Tavares de Almeida and Pastor in Rio de Janeiro last weekend as she retained her number one Brazilian dressage ranking. Following her Freestyle performance to an inspiring medley of memorable Frank Sinatra hits, Luiza admitted, “I was a little bit concerned with Pastor because the weather in Rio de Janeiro is hotter than in São Paulo, and he definitely enjoys better the cooler temperatures. But I had great confidence in him and he made very good tests which enabled us to win two Grand Prix and two GP Freestyles.”

Only one rider prevented the Rocas do Vouga quartet – including their professional stable jockey Edneu Senhorini – from a clean sweep in all three classes over the two weekends, other than the Freestyle tests which saw Pedro as runner-up to his sister riding her former mount, Samba. His choice of music, perfect for Samba’s elegant movements, is a poignant recording of the choral classic Ave Maria. “Samba is an experienced horse in terms of reacting to a new place.

Even during the first one or two days he likes to show everyone the big-hearted stallion that he is.” Pedro concluded by saying, “This in fact helps us because he remains so easy, as always, but looks younger and more brilliant. He is such a nice boy.”

This great result came during the second of two weekends of dressage qualifiers hosted by the Complexo Esportive de Deodoro in Rio de Janeiro – the site that will host equestrian competitions during the 2016 Olympic Games. It brought Luiza and her brothers, Pedro and Manu, two steps closer to their dream of team selection for the 2014 World Equestrian Games that will take place in Normandy, France at the end of August.

While highs and lows are predictable in the dressage arena, it is usually the latter that provides the best learning experience and sends a positive message to redirect training in such a way that will generate improvement. Such was the case during the first weekend in Rio when pushing the boundaries impacted scores but provided the key to progressive remodeling for the remainder of this season. Soft, heavy ground conditions also affected the training and performances for all the horses during the first few days – problems that were quickly addressed and corrected by the organizing committee.

Nonetheless, the first weekend of competition saw victories for Luiza and the 18-year-old Pastor – who is now ranked #121 in the WBFSH dressage horse classification – plus excellent performances from her brothers and Senhorini, but no record scores.

However, the following week saw great improvements, with Pedro also scoring a double – third and fourth place in the same Grand Prix class – with Samba ahead of his up-and-coming stallion Toleirão da Broa.

Results were also affirmative for Manuel and the young Viheste, who is still a novice at the big tour level. According to Manu, “I tried to straighten my concentration and look for real and total connection with him. Even with some problems in piaffe, we could get a good score and advance on the way to Normandy.” He continued by saying, “Now it’s time to improve the small details and focus on avoiding losing points with minor mistakes. I’ll be working on precision, improving the transitions, and working on Viheste’s passage and piaffe, which are really strong movements for him”. In conclusion, “I want to be on the Brazilian team so I can show the world the quality of my horse.”

While Luiza is virtually assured of her team place, she will put her studies on hold and head to Germany at the end of May for intensive training with Pastor, and also with Cerne – her talented prospect for the 2015 Pan-American Games in Toronto,

Canada. “I can’t wait to experience the WEG atmosphere again, and meet lots of the friends I made in Kentucky in 2010.”

Pedro, too, is now a strong candidate for team selection with Samba, who competed on the World Championship stage under Luiza’s saddle in Lexington 2010. “Samba is a horse that knows everything, and does all the exercises in a nice confident way. From now until the end of the qualifiers I will concentrate on finding his farthest point that enables him to have the highest activity and best quality movements, and I’m pretty sure we’ll find it.”

While the final qualifying competition takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from May 22-25, the three siblings, plus Edneu Senhorini, the fourth member of the team and the Rocas do Vouga ‘dark horse’, will be spending time in Germany intensifying their training under the guidance of coach Dolf Keller. According to Senhorini, “I’ll be working with Xaparro [do Vouga] and Dolf every day to ensure that our best moment in the Brazilian team qualifiers will come at the end.”

With the dressage qualification period running until July 21, all four riders will continue their campaign for WEG team selection in competitions in Germany and France in the coming weeks.

Categories: Dressage, News