Stephen Clarke, Christoff Hess, Lilo Fore, and Thomas Long stand alongside Cesar Torrente. (PHOTO: JRPR)
Wellington, FL (June 17, 2019) – To be successful in the world of dressage, kindness, positivity, and the welfare of the horse are of the utmost importance according to beloved International FEI Judge Cesar Torrente. These characteristics are what continue to drive Torrente in achieving his dreams and goals of working with horses – dreams he has had since he was a boy growing up in Colombia. Now, these dreams are becoming a reality, and after a recent approval by the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) to become an “S” Judge, a permanent move to the USA is in Torrente’s near future.
Torrente is from Bogotá, Colombia and has become well known around the world through his blog and Facebook page where he continuously posts helpful advice, information, and guidance for all levels of dressage riders. “I come from South America where we do not always have all the trainers or the judges to give good advice,” Torrente explains “Sometimes the federations don’t have good ways to communicate what is changing in the FEI rules and what is changing regarding training methods. So, I started using my blog so that my community around my country would learn things like what rules have changed, or to be aware that if you do this in the ring, the judges will do that. But interestingly, what has happened is when I go to every single show in America and even in Europe, some people run into me and say, ‘You know what, you probably don’t even know me, but I’m your Facebook friend and I read a lot of your blogs – please keep on doing them!’” His followers know that Torrente always includes “Feeling blessed” in every one of his Facebook posts, and he has been teased because of it that he must be the most blessed person in The Americas. “I truly feel that I am,” he smiles. “I get to do what I like while being surrounded by wonderful people and wonderful horses in different places each week.” He goes on to explain that he feels it’s very important to treat everyone, horses, and humans alike, with kindness. “I think it’s very important that we care about the welfare of the horse,” Torrente continues. “I think the welfare of the horse must always be present in our minds when we are training, when we’re helping, when we’re giving recommendations, and you cannot forget that.”
Known in the dressage world as being a “rider’s judge,” Torrente approaches everything in a positive way. He knows firsthand what it’s like to work, ride, train, and show. “I started riding at the age of 12,” he describes. “International competitions were always my dream. I’ve had good days and bad days,” he continues. “I know the feeling when you go out there and sometimes the horse doesn’t have a good day. I know how frustrated you can feel no matter the amount of work you’ve done, and I think it’s important that the judges understand that and are a little sympathetic to the effort the riders are giving.” Torrente goes on, “That does not mean we’re giving away marks, because that’s not correct either, but give the high marks when they come, and also give the low marks when they come, but in the end, I always try to give a little comment and a tip if I can as to how to improve the performance of horse and rider.” As a judge, Torrente has unquestionable integrity. “You have to judge mark by mark,” he says, “regardless of the horse or the person who is riding. It may be a fantastic horse who is always winning, or a horse that nobody knows, and it doesn’t matter the breed. You just have to judge what you see and that’s very important.”
Torrente feels that education and lifetime learning are vitally important aspects of his success. “I believe continuing education is very important in every profession and that is why I have created, my own personal education program,” he describes. “Fortunately, the FEI organizes amazing courses, and every year I attend at least one of these seminars. I combine this with the fantastic seminars organized here by USEF, which I attend regularly, to the surprise of some of my American national colleagues, because it´s rather unusual that foreign FEI judges attend the national seminar. However, I believe that these seminars are a fantastic opportunity to grow as a judge, to discuss trending in judging, explore concepts and opinions, and obviously to interact with many other judges.” He continues, “These Seminars can improve one’s skills and are very important because it ensures you continue to be competent in your profession. I see judging as a very important profession and education must continue throughout any professional’s career.”
Torrente was the first judge to be promoted through the new FEI educational system to 4*. As a rider, he has had the honor of standing on the medal podium to receive the team gold medal two times in the Central American Games.
He also won many gold, bronze, and silver medals in Bolivarian and Central American and Caribbean Games. Torrente is also a corporate and arbitration lawyer by profession and despite traveling the globe to judge worldwide, he has maintained the precarious balance between his career and his passion for horses with apparent ease. He has recently accepted a position in the FEI Tribunal, which decides cases on doping, horse abuse, and all disputes at the FEI level including all disciplines.
Most recently, Torrente has been approved by the USEF as an “S” judge, which is the highest rank for judges in the USA. “I feel very honored that the USEF granted me this status and that now I am allowed to judge all national shows within the US,” he comments. In addition to that, the US government has granted Torrente an O1 Visa which only goes to persons of extraordinary ability. He also explains that he has acquired all permits to work in the US and Canada, and is downsizing his legal practice in Colombia and is now officially planning his move to the US.
Torrente feels fortunate about all the recent developments in his career as a dressage judge, and says he could not be in a better place. Many foreigners who have immigrated to this country have had a tremendous impact on the development of dressage. This including riders, trainers, and of course judges who are a key element for this sport. The country will certainly benefit from Torrente’s experience, fresh ideas, and dedication to the sport.