Aiken, SC - “It would be a dream to make a podium with this team,” said Juan Matute, Jr., 16, who likewise entranced Stillpoint Farms CDIO3* Nations Cup audiences as his anchoring performances on Don Diego Ymas made dreams reality with a rowsing Bronze medal finish for Team Spain, and singular recognition by Cary Wallace and Custom Saddlery as Most Valuable Rider for week seven, February 19-23, as the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, FL, again hosted the dressage world's only CDIO competition in the Western Hemisphere.
Competing under an all-new Pan American Games format, Team Spain achieved an Bronze medal podium finish with a squad composed primarily of Small Tour horses, scoring 412.632 points behind Gold medalists, Team USA-1, and Team Canada-1, who claimed Silver. Joining Matute Jr. on Team Spain and the podium were his sister, Paula Matute who rode Tarpan Ymas, Carlos Munoz who rode Klouseau, and Marta Renilla with Presumido.
Matute, Jr. and the 17-hand black gelding owned by his father, three-time Spanish Olympic team rider, Juan Matute, Sr., delivered some of top scores of the series, including a 71.658% in the FEI Prix St Georges, 72.026% in the FEI Intermediare I, and a brilliant 75.325% in the final FEI Freestyle. He has been riding the 11 year-old Hanoverian for three years.
“I've known this horse for awhile. Our family has owned him since he was a four year-old. For the first two years, I was riding him on Junior Teams, then in January we made the step up to Small Tour.
“We're trying not to look too far ahead,” said the pragmatic young horseman. “This has been a valuable experience. I've worked hard, the team worked hard, my barn and family and sister, have all worked hard toward this.”
Matute Jr.'s appreciation for his team, before his own horsemanship, earned his selection by Cary Wallace and Custom Saddlery as their Most Valuable Rider.
“Thank you, Custom Saddlery!” said the MVR Award winner, who received an embroidered Custom Saddlery saddle pad and at the conclusion of AGDF will join other 2014 Custom Saddlery MVR’s automatically entered for the MVR Grand Prize: a new saddle from one of the most innovative saddle makers in the dressage world.
This is the second year that the MVR Award, created by Cary Wallace, Master Saddlefitter for Aiken, SC-based Custom Saddlery, has been presented at AGDF to recognize those riders who go the extra mile or add something special to a show through exceptional performance, horsemanship or teamwork.
“We are proud to be here at this very special Nations Cup opportunity,” said Wallace. “Tomorrow's medalists start here and we want them to know they have the support of their community. We know how valuable each and every horse and rider really are.”
Custom Saddlery is a proud sponsor of Most Valuable Riders throughout the dressage community. For more information on Custom Saddlery visit their website at http://mysaddle.com/en.