Lexington, VA – Lusitano gelding Zerbino Interagro proved his breed’s athleticism, talent, and versatility in a variety of classes at the recent International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA) National Championship Show in Lexington, Virginia. The 12-year-old gelding, owned by Johnny Robb and bred by top Brazilian breeder Interagro Lusitanos, excelled in dressage, dressage hack, show hack, halter, and leadline classes.
“It shows a lot about the disposition of the Interagro-bred horses,” Robb said. “They’re bred to be talented sport horses but, most excitedly, they’re bred with a disposition that is second to none. This horse proves it over and over and over again.”
Zerbino and North Carolina-based dressage rider John Zopatti won the National Championship title in the Andalusian/Lusitano Dressage Hack Open. The horse also won the Best Movement medal and placed in the Top Five in the Andalusian/Lusitano Senior Geldings 4 Years and Over class with Gary Yeager handling. In the USDF Dressage Sport Horse Prospects in-hand class, Yeager and Zerbino earned a 70.6000 percent.
As a tribute to the horse’s winning disposition, Zerbino and Yeager’s six-year-old son Ethan won in the Exhibition Leadline Class Riders 8 Years Old and Under class. It was the young Yeager’s first time competing, and Robb said the youngster was ecstatic with his win.
When Robb took the reins, she ran the horse in a halter class and placed in the Top Five in the National Championship Andalusian/Lusitano Geldings All Ages - Amateur to Handle class. The pair also placed in the Top Five in the Andalusian/Lusitano Show Hack Amateur class, and won the Reserve National Dressage Championship in both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle.
“Interagro specifically breeds for performance and disposition, and he shows that,” Robb proudly said of Zerbino. “He is a different horse in the Grand Prix with me than he is with a leadline class with six-year-old Ethan. He really does the full gamut, from being a very up horse and doing his job at the highest levels, and then becoming a kind schoolmaster for the very youngest rider.”
As a former die-hard Warmblood fan, Robb said she never expected to fall in love with her gray Lusitano— but he quickly won her over. “If anybody told me five years ago I would be riding Lusitanos, owning several Lusitanos, and going to the IALHA Nationals, I would have said, ‘You need to get a new crystal ball!’ But, indeed, they would have been right, and it’s such a joy,” she stated.
Robb not only thanks Peter van Borst of Interagro Lusitanos for introducing her to Zerbino, she also lists a team of trainers, vets and other professionals for helping her along the way. “It really takes a village,” she said. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with three excellent trainers in Kerensa Muller, John Zopatti, and Jaime Amian. I also have to give credit to Zerbino Interagro’s farrier Jim Crew. I’m also thankful to Laura King, the eminent hypnotherapist, who really helped me overcome some of the issues that were in my subconscious. In addition, the Knopp family invited me to train for the summer at IDA Farm in Wellington. Having the covered riding arenas and all the world class amenities including a TheraPlate and Horse Gym treadmill –really helped our fitness and socially it was so much fun there”.
Robb said that her bond with Zerbino, whom she calls ‘Zill’ (short for ‘Zillionaire’), is strong. “Having a horse like this, with a heart like this, and with the ability and training he has, makes me feel like I’m a zillionaire, too,” she said.
Robb has a word of caution for anyone interested in Lusitano horses, and especially those bred by Interagro. “My advice to anyone who starts with these horses is to beware,” she said. “They’re kind of like potato chips. You can’t just have one.”
Interagro is the largest breeder of Lusitano horses in the world, with 40 years of experience breeding Lusitanos. Interagro Lusitanos is committed to preserving the pure bloodlines of the Lusitano breed, and producing star horses like Zerbino Interagro. Interagros own bloodlines include some of the most respected of the breed: Faraó (JHC), Nirvana Interagro, Ofensor (MV), Xique-Xique (CI), and Yacht (SA). Lusitanos from the Brazilian farm have excelled in top world show rings and have graced the covers of international magazines over twenty times. Interagro is one of the most accessible and respected breeders in the world. To learn more, visit www.interagro.com.br.