NORMANDY CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF FOR BRAZILIAN FAMILY TRIO…\
São Paulo – April 10, 2014
From April 24 to 27, Luiza, Pedro and Manuel Tavares de Almeida, will continue their campaign to earn selection to their country’s national dressage team for the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, during an FEI three-star CDI in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Their Grand Prix journey began last May when all three riders recorded 64%+ scores riding their WEG-destined horses. The winning combination in this official FEI competition was Luiza with Pastor, followed by the 15-year-old, Samba (second) and Viheste (12 years old, fifth), ridden by her younger brothers Pedro and Manuel, respectively. Since then Luiza has recorded no fewer than four victories in five outings at FEI Grand Prix level – all with the 18-year-old Pastor – and seen a rise in marks of several percentage points, “thanks to improvements in his canter pirouettes and piaffes”.
During the one occasion when Luiza – a sergeant in the Brazilian army – was relegated from the winner’s podium, it was at the hands of her brother, Pedro, and Samba during a three-star FEI Grand Prix last October. No stranger to World Championship competition, Samba competed under Luiza’s saddle as a member of the Brazilian team during the 2010 WEG in Lexington, KY. If they qualify for this year’s WEG, the stallion’s improved scores with Pedro since then would be sufficient to finish close to the top 20. Samba was born in 1999 and is a stallion son of the world-renowned Lusitano sire, Inca.
The Portuguese-bred Viheste, ridden by ‘Manu’ Tavares de Almeida also carries excellent credentials, and although the stallion has only just turned 12, he established himself as a world-class dressage prospect in 2010 by winning national championship titles at Intermediate II level, progressing to Grand Prix level with Manu only during last season. According to his rider, “Before every test I divide my preparation into two parts. I ride Viheste four hours before a test, only riding smooth movements, then 30 minutes before I go into the ring I check all the movements I’m about to do during the test.”
Adding a fourth dimension to the Rocas do Vouga tripartite equation, the stud farm’s senior professional rider, Edneu Senhorini, has also now entered the WEG stakes by exceeding the 64% qualifying standard. Riding the Rocas do Vouga-bred Xaparro do Vouga, Senhorini has heightened the interest substantially in the forthcoming series of selection trials.
Although he may be a family outsider, Edneu Senhorini is a driving force who constantly re-evaluates training methodology to optimize all the Rocas do Vouga team horses’ special qualities. To date, Xaparro do Vouga has only contested five FEI Grand Prix classes, but the handsome 14-year-old stallion has already demonstrated his exceptional dressage talent at a young age by winning the five-year-old national championship title.
According to Senhorini, “His extended trot is really special, and his piaffe has great rhythm and regularity. His canter and expression in passage are what I’m really working hard to improve in order to get a good score for WEG selection.” Senhorini concluded by saying, “Placing second in one Grand Prix, and winning a GP Special made me believe everything’s possible, but the results for the team are more important than mine individually.”
With the exception of Viheste, part owned by the Alter Real State Stud in Portugal, the team of Lusitano horses are all owned by Rocas do Vouga proprietor, Manuel Tavares de Almeida Filho, who founded his stud farm in 1996 with the precise goal of breeding world-class equine athletes for international competition.
Will the Rocas do Vouga family trio write themselves into the FEI history books in Normandy, and could they set a virtually unassailable precedent by fielding a stud farm quartet?