Wellington, FL - Juan Matute Jr. is not your typical 18-year-old. Between school and homework, he is planning his annual tour of top horse show circuits around the world. From passing math tests to performing dressage tests, this high school student’s talent, work ethic, and family values make him unique among his peers. The young Spanish Grand Prix dressage rider artfully juggles competing on an international level, finishing his last few high school credits, spending quality time with his close-knit family, and fun with friends into a unique combination of devotion and determination blended with European manners and passion for his sport.
Matute capped off his successful winter show season at the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, Florida, with first place finishes at the final competition of the twelve-week season, the CDIO3*, to capture the Nations Cup Individual Gold medal in the Intermediaire I Freestyle with a 74.550 percent aboard Dhannie Ymas, a nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Don Crusador x Welina) owned by Yeguada de Ymas. In addition, Matute and Dhannie’s first place score of 74.526 percent in the Intermediaire I helped propel Team Spain to claim the Team Bronze medal. In recognition of his stellar achievements, Custom Saddlery presented Matute with the final Most Valuable Rider (MVR) Award of the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival season. Custom Saddlery recognized outstanding riders by naming an MVR Award winner each week of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, and giving each recipient several prizes.
“This has been one of my best seasons, not only results-wise but also concept-wise and feeling-wise,” Matute said, adding that his third place amongst fierce competition in the mid-March CDI4* with another Yeguada de Ymas horse, 13-year-old Don Diego Ymas (Don Fresdrico x Wie Platine, Wolkenstein II), was one of the highlights of his successful season. He also placed third in the Grand Prix Special at the CDI5* in February aboard his father’s Quantico Ymas (Fighting Fit x Hauptstutbuch), against some of the top dressage riders in the world.
For Matute, balancing life as a high school student and life as one of the world’s leading young dressage competitors is no stressful thing. “I like the challenge. I like to be active mentally and physically. I’m happy. I get to work, work, work, work,” he said.
As many teenagers are preparing for summer break, Matute is preparing to take on the world. He and his family will soon be leaving their winter home in Wellington, Florida to travel to this summer’s home base in Germany to compete in the European dressage circuit. Matute will take Dhannie out in the small tour in a 5* competition in mid-May in France. Matute and Dhannie then hope to ramp it up to compete in the Under 25 division. When they pack up their ribbons and horses to head to Europe, they’ll be certain to include their Custom Saddlery saddles.
“I love the Custom Saddlery saddles,” Matute said. “They are top-quality saddles. Nice leather, great seat, and comfortable for the rider and the horse. They have a huge variety of trees so they really make the saddle customized. Many brands only have one tree that only fits one type of horse. Custom Saddlery adjusts to you and your horse. Many riders, especially my age, ask me what saddle I ride in and I say, ‘Of course Custom!’” Matute rides his horses in the Custom Advantage R saddles, each with slight variations to achieve the optimum fit for every horse.
Custom Saddlery’s much-loved saddles are known for exceptional fit and comfort for both horse and rider, with a myriad of ways to customize each saddle. Custom Saddlery is the maker of the Official Saddle of the U.S. Dressage Team through the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this summer. Custom Saddlery provides professional fitting services and also manufactures accessories to compliment the extensive line of saddles, including stirrup leathers, girths, and saddle pads.
For more information about Custom Saddlery, visit www.mysaddle.com or call 1-800-235-3865.