Juan Matute Guimon to Compete at Spanish Championships This Week in First Show Since Life Saving Brain Surgery
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Oct. 12, 2020
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Juan Matute Guimon returns to competition with Quantico in the Spanish championships in Madrid this week, five months since undergoing a life-saving operation to repair a genetic brain disorder.
The 22-year-old Juan declared himself “nearly at 100%” recovered but “slightly nervous” to be back in competition.
He will ride Quantico, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding on which he is the second highest ranked Spanish rider, in the Grand Prix at the Las Cadenas show grounds in Madrid. The last time he competed Quantico was at Doha, Quatar in February, two months after posting a personal best mark of 80.510% in the World Cup Freestyle at Mechelen, Belgium.
“I’m so excited,” Juan told dressage-news.com in a text message Monday. “Can’t wait!
“I’m nearly at 100%, but not quite there yet; it will come with time. The way I see it is I’m competing to pick up the rhythm and start getting ready for the Tokyo Olympics.
“I don’t want to be away for too long in case they forget about me. Ha, ha,” he joked.
“I’m slightly nervous because it’s been the longest time EVER since my last show.
“However, I’m ultra excited because it will be the perfect opportunity to prove to myself and thousands of others that if you have FAITH and BELIEVE in your dreams you can move mountains.”
Juan collapsed after riding May 5. A neurosurgical team performed a lengthy and successful operation at the Jiménez Díaz Foundation hospital four days later to repair what was found to be a genetic disorder in the brain.
Juan, who grew up in Spain and Wellington, Florida and is a citizen of both Spain and America, lives in Madrid. He moved there two years ago to develop his dressage and go to university.
He was successful on both sides of the Atlantic and rode on Spain’s team at the World Equestrian Games at Tryon in 2018 that earned his nation a start at the Tokyo Olympics, delayed a year by the coronavirus pandemic to next summer .
Juan’s father, Juan Matute Azpitarte, a three-time Olympian for Spain, and his wife, Maria, were in Madrid throughout Juan’s ordeal.
Before his collapse, Juan had ridden his two Grand Prix horses, Quantico and Don Diego, to qualify for his first World Cup Final that was to be staged in Las Vegas in mid-April but then canceled because of coronavirus.
He was ranked second on Quantico and third on Don Diego among Spanish combinations on the world standings that likely would have earned him a place on Spain’s team for Tokyo.