Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz Back Aiming for Championships, Undaunted by Injury that Kept Her Out of Tryon World Games

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Yvonne Losos de Muñiz and Aquamarijn celebrating victory at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. File photo. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 2, 2019–Yvonne Losos de Muñiz, undaunted by injury that kept her out of the 2018 World Equestrian Games, has set championships and Olympics for years to come as new goals for herself.

Although she has not yet had an operation that doctors tell her is necessary to fix an injury to her right shoulder, Yvonne is preparing for the Adequan Global Dressage Festival over the next three months to qualify for the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April and the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru at the end of July on a journey she intends to take her to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and beyond.

She became the first Dominican to compete at a World Cup Final and the first dressage rider from her nation to go to the Olympics.

After a career in which she and her husband, Eduardo, sponsored Dominican Republic teams leading to Yvonne earning individual medals at Pan American and Central American and Caribbean Games over almost two decades as well as competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2018 World Cup Final in Paris, Yvonne is now focusing on personal accomplishments.

She has her two Grand Prix horses, Aquamarijn, a 14-year-old KWPN mare, and Foco Loco W, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, both of which she has competed at top sport in Europe and the Americas.

And last fall she added Felicia, a KWPN mare that Australia’s Simone Pearce competed for Andreas Helgstrand as a five-year-old at the 2015 World Young Horse Championships, that is ready for small tour. Both Big and Small Tour horses can compete at the Pan Ams.

“I’m not getting any younger,” said the 51-year-old Yvonne as she prepared her horses at the stables across the street from the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex where the Global circuit is staged over the next three months.

Yvonne Losos de Muñiz as the first World Cup competitor from the Dominican Republic riding Foco Loco in the Paris Final. File photo. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“I think I’m exactly where I want to be and where I want to go. When you’re doing the equestrian journey you have to have an open door if you want to have horses in your life and be honest and realistic as to what you’re good at and what you like. There are so many different aspects of the industry that you can do—I’ve done the clinics, the teams, the half-owned barns, breeding, jumping, Spanish horses—I’ve done it all, tried it all… was successful in some, not in others.

“Now I’m where you are when you go to school and you focus on your major. Now my major, through all my experiences, I think I’m competitive enough to go into the international Grand Prix ring which is not cheap, is not easy to deal with the logistics of it to travel all over the world. My kids are out of the house, my husband can travel with me.

“Now I just want to show, I want to be really competitive.

“I’m prioritizng my competiton career.

“Becuse I’ve done that people have come forward and want to invest, because now they’re seeing that I am totally dedicated. That’s really nice for me. I’ve always loved to compete, I love the training.

“I love that edge of being nervous, throwing up every time I go into the ring and wonder why I’m doing that. But I go back every time. I love that.

“As a result, I’m getting better quality horses and the horss are getting better because of the attention I’m able to give them.”

She has worked out her Florida competition schedule with coach Ton de Ridder who will fly in from Germany as he has in the past and for physiotherapy sessions with Lorenzo Benito that she brings in from Spain.

Daily eyes on the ground are provided by Kathy Priest of Versailles, Kentucky who kept Yvonne’s horses competition-ready while she dealt with a recurrence of the shoulder injury when nerves were damaged while jogging Aquamrijn at Munich, Germany in May. She had already qualified both horses for the Tryon WEG, putting off surgery to fix the injury caused a year ago and the three months required of no riding.

“I was very disappointed, not just for all the hard work and everything I had done to get there,” she said, “but the competition was the best championship I have ever seen and to have been a part of and amongst that type of riding and quality of everything was sad for me not to have been able to participate.

“I was lucky to have gotten as far as I did as a Dominican. It was very important to get through the Central American Games and what I had to do to get through it. So when I came off that and the shape I was in, my shoulder froze up and then I was done. It was pretty devastating. It took me quite a while to get over that I wasn’t going. I tried everything to convince everybody that I could do it but I couldn’t.”

Yvonne Losos de Muniz on Zig Zag in the Central American and Caribbean Games. © 2018 Kevin Flett

It wasn’t the first major career competition setback for Yvonne.

In 2012, she campaigned for a start at the London Olympics. The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) awarded the place to Brazil although competitions there were with three national judges and not a maximum of two. The Court of Arbitration for Sport agreed that the FEI erred but ruled that competitors in Brazil performed under rules approved by the FEI thus the starting place should go to that nation with the higher qualifying results.

Yvonne jokes that the Paris 2024 Olympics are in her sights as her daughter wants to be there to cheer her on.

Although she admits to not liking the effort required to stay fit, “through exercise I really do feel a lot better physically than I did 20 years ago. Now I’m back. I’m exhausted but I feel really good again.

“I have no end in sight as long as I can physically keep going.”