Paula Matute & Firmamento Ymas Beat Brother to Win Wellington Junior Team Test
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WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 27, 2014–Paula Matute waited until the last international competition to beat her younger brother in the 12-week long Adequan Global Dressage Festival that made the victory aboard Firmamento Ymas in the Junior Team event Thursday all the sweeter for the Spanish rider, the other half of a sibling rivalry that has elevated the pair to star status.
“I beat my brother!” exulted the 18-year-old in tears after riding the seven year-old Hanoverian to a score of 70.946 per cent. The pair was the last of 12 combinations and finished 0.90 per cent ahead of Juan Matute, Jr. aboard Dhannie Ymas on 70.856 per cent. Barbara “Bebe” Davis of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey on Fievel Mousekewitz was third on 69.550 per cent.
“Can you believe he has been unbeatable all season and the last one it happened,” Paula said of the win over her 16-year-old brother.
Making it even more of a family affair was that both horses have the same sire, Don Crusader.
With the crowd screaming, Paula left the arena in tears and soon her mother and father were also crying, joined by Debbie McDonald who has been helping her as her father has been working with Adrienne Lyle.
The whole atmosphere, she said, “was contagious, very special.”
Paula and Juan, Jr., the children of Spanish Olympian Juan Matute, have wowed the Florida dressage world with talent that has seen them successful on top notch horses at the junior levels through small tour to the Under-25 division. The pair each ride about a half dozen horses a day before knuckling down to their online school work.
Just as exciting for Paula is that she has trained the horse her family bought at the Hanoverian auction in Verden, Germany three years ago. The horse won the four-year-old Spanish chamionships.
“I saw him on a video, just standing,” Paula said, “and fell in love with him from the first time.
“I don’t know why, but there was something magical about him.”
Her father laughed at her pleas to bring the horse to Florida, but finally agresd.
“It’s hard to teach a four-year-old when you don’t really know what a shoulder-in is,” she said. “We built a bond together, and learned together.
“It’s a completely different feeling when its a horse you’re competing you’ve been training from the start.”
Throughout most of the the season, Juan was the most successful of the two.
“I knew one day my time will come,” Paula said, “maybe not soon but it would and today it did.
“I was saying to myself, ‘Paula, we’re going to do it.’ Maybe it’s not every day, but today was the best feeling.
“Everything seems perfect. All those dreams I had in my head came true.”
Before now, Paula said she felt Firmamento was not ready to compete
“I didn’t feel ready,” she said. “I decided at the beginning of the season not to force him out there until he was ready, it was risky. My father helps make the decisions but this time it was in my hands. This was the first time I made the decision.
“But if I wanted to go to the Europeans (championships in Arezzo, Italy) I knew we’d have to start now.
“I proved to myself I could do it.”
Now, the dream extends to Young Riders next year and after that the Grand Prix.
“To be able to train your own horse from foal to Grand Prix is one of my goals.
“He has all three gaits and that special something that made me fall in love with him… the judges, too, and that’s an important factor.”
She will take it easy with Firmamento until the family flies to France for their tour of international competitions, beginning with Compiègne in early June and then Hagen, Germany two weeks later seeking to be on the Spanish team of up to four combinations at the Europeans in Arezzo in July.