Florida-Based Juan Matute, 16, of Spain Becomes Youngest Ever Rider at World Young Horse Championships
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
VERDEN, Germany, Aug. 7, 2014–Juan Matute of Spain became the youngest ever rider at 16 years of age at the World Young Horse Championships when the Florida-based rider competed Jamaicano de Ymas III in the five-year-old first qualifying event Thursday.
“I’m happy with the ride, happy with the presentation,” said Juan who lives in Wellington, Florida with his multi-Olympian father, mother and sister, Paula.
“The scores were not what we were looking for or expecting,” he told dressage-news.com after the ride in which the pair were awarded 6.76.
“It’s a Spanish horse. It’s one of the things you can expect when you bring it to this type of event where the the top of the world are competing.”
The top 18 places were filled by horses representing the warmblood powerhouses of Germany, Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.
Juan, however, who is still eligible to compete for another year as a junior although he has ridden Under-25 Grand Prix, had no complaints of the show where he has been a spectator with his family for years.
“It was a fantastic experience,” he said, “a very complete show, all sorts of levels, and jumping as well–“the fun doesn’t stop–it doesn’t ever get boring.”
The family returns to the United States later this month and Juan becomes a high school junior with his online schooling.
Although he can still compete at junior level into 2015, he plans to show as a Young Rider and the small tour and Under-25 Grand Prix that he did during this year’s winter circuit in Florida.
The big” goal, however, is to get Don Diego Ymas to open senior Grand Prix for Wellington’s Global Dressage Festival circuit next winter.
Juan rode the 11-year-old gelding through juniors, small tour and Under-25 in both Wellington and Europe over the past two years.
“The big goal is 2016,” he said of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“Dreaming is free.”
At the same time, he plans to compete in as many divisions as possible with various horses in what he said will be “an action-packed season.”