Julio Mendoza Loor & Chardonnay Become 1st Dressage Duo from Ecuador to Qualify for World Equestrian Games
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TRYON, North Carolina, April 20, 2018–Julio Mendoza Loor and Chardonnay qualified Friday for the World Equestrian Games by earning their second score required to become the first combination from Ecuador to get a start at a world championships that will be staged here in September.
Julio and the 13-year-old Oldenburg, gelding scored 67.630 per cent to place fourth in the Grand Prix. Two scores above 66 per cent are required to qualify for the World Games, and he achieved his first of 66.087 per cent in Wellington, Florida in February.
The success of Julio, 39 years old and based in Columbus, North Carolina just 10 miles (16km) from the Tryon International Equestrian Center, was greeted by cheering and shouts of encouragement from spectators that brought him to tears.
Julio and Chardonnay competed for Ecuador at the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015 and at the Bolivarian Games in Bogotá last November, both at small tour.
The championships are expected to bring about 1,000 horses and riders from around the world to compete in dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining, vaulting and para-dressage. An estimated half million spectators are projected to visit the show grounds during the two weeks of the championships, held once every four years and only the second time in the United States.
“Happy, happy, happy,” he said after hugging his wife following the ride.
“I’m very honored that my country gave me the opportunity to ride in such a special event.”.
Julio was born and raised in a coastal town of 2,000 people in Ecuador and took up dressage when he was 11 years old.
He moved to the United States in 2007 to make a career in the sport and develop a home for his family that now includes three children.
“It’s been a long road, a lot of education, a lot of hard work,” he said. “It has been an unbelievable experience, learning something new every day.”