Juan Matute Jr. Victorious Aachen Grand Prix U25
Written by Betsy LaBelle - In Dressage - Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Ambitious Juan Matute Jr. remains steadfast in his goal of being a top rider in the sport of dressage. Growing up, Juan traveled with his father to various European shows. “I’ve lived these European shows, especially Aachen, since I was very little and for me to be riding here as part of the show is very exciting. I learned a lot by coming to support my father. I was also his groom and worked in the barn because I already loved the sport and I knew I wanted to be supportive. That’s why I suggest to other riders, particularly the under 25 riders in the States to come and watch the top sport at Aachen so they can see the crème de le crème, some of the best.” Successfully competing in this year’s Aachen Under 25 Grand Prix, the 18-year-old Matute triumphed on 10 year-old Quantico Ymas (Fighting Fit x Darbeen/Constant(Cor de la Bryere) against top European under 25 year-old competitors placing first in the Grand Prix test and placing second in the U25 Grand Prix Freestyle.
Exhilarated by the win, Juan, Jr. noted, “This is Quantico Ymas’ first time at Aachen and second year in Europe. I was a little worried because it’s a very impressive intimidating ring and he’s a very sensitive horse. That’s the reason we decided to bring Dhannie Ymas to the awards ceremony because he’d likely behave better.” He continued, “Quanico’s test was good. We had no big mistakes. And, yes, we can improve the piaffe and passage to be a bit more expressive, but I think it was pretty good overall. I’m very happy with how Quantico handled the pressure. He was listening to my aids every step of the way.”
Growing up immersed in horses, Juan said, “Starting when I was very little, I’d watch my Dad ride and prepare horses for the European shows. Over the years, I’ve watched how my father works with horses so that they’re willing to perform their best for him whether at home or a competition.”
When his father, Juan Sr. competed internationally in 2008 for their home country Spain, the goal was to make Spain’s Olympic team, but unfortunately it was not to be. The family decided to relocate to Florida to prepare their horses for top competition in Wellington. Before Juan Jr was born, his father had a career in the international competition arena that included winning the 1982 Young Rider World Championships and competing in three Olympics for Spain, including the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
For more than 20 years, the Matute family has had the unwavering support of Javier Bacariza and Cristina Danguillecourt, the owners of Yeguada de Ymas, a state-of-the-art breeding facility in Spain and their top training facility Elemis Ranch in Wellington. Juan Jr graciously appreciates the ongoing support and assistance, “I am so grateful to my sponsors Yeguada de Ymas for supporting me every step of the way, and for coming to watch all of us ride here in Europe. They’ve championed my family for many, many years and supported my father in his preparation for the Olympics and throughout his international career. And, for the past four years, they began supporting me. A huge part of my success is definitely due to their support. Anyone can see we get along really well. We’re a family.”
He continued, “Javier always has a super positive attitude and has been so helpful in taking videos of our training sessions and competition tests. He’ll have a video downloaded and ready to see on my phone right away. It’s so great because my ride doesn’t always look the way it feels. So to have that video to watch and to compare my feel, it’s great to have him! He’s always super positive in helping with the team attitude.”
Starting four years ago after Juan grew out of riding ponies and wanting to be an event rider, he began the hard work of preparing horses for the international dressage ring. Always curious and asking question after question of his father, his ambition has grown step-by-step in small increments. As he’s learned the thousands of details required to make good points and percentages in the competition ring, the 18-year-old Matute continuously builds on that foundation with continuing training by Juan Matute Sr.
For the last two years, he’s been developing into a strong contender for a successful future in the Grand Prix. With the goal of wanting to ride in the Olympics for Spain, this year Juan Jr came incredibly close to making the team. Knowing he tried his best, he went on to compete successfully at the Inaugural U25 European Championships held at the Hof Kasselmann equestrian facility in Hagen, Germany where he won the Bronze Individual Medal in the Grand Prix test on Don Diego Ymas.
At Aachen, Juan Jr. also rode Don Diego Ymas placing fourth on the Nations Cup Team for Spain against nine strong Nations Cup teams and he paired with Dhannie Ymas in the Aachen Small Tour.
It’s been a very successful European Tour in 2016 for Juan Jr and the whole team for Yeguada de Ymas.
To see Juan’s results winning the Grand Prix – CLICK HERE
And, to see the results of him placing second behind Laurence Roos in the Freestyle – CLICK HERE
The FEI U25 Division
The new FEI U25 division is growing quickly and its FEI’s hope to encourage up-and-coming young international riders a stepping stone an Olympic Grand Prix future. Competitions across the world use this division and the first test to give their riders a chance to build the necessary confidence throughout the year by offering the test they think best will prepare them for the Championships. They are permitted to offer as the first day’s test four different tests (one of the three Intermediare II tests or the FEI U25 Grand prix test) and then, the U25 Grand Prix Freestyle.