Juan Matute Guimón (ESP) riding Quantico. ©susanjstickle.com.
Wellington, FL – March 4, 2022 – Spain’s Juan Matute Guimón marked a momentous day with a plus-80% victory in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI4*, presented by IDA Development, on Friday, March 4. His win came in the atmospheric evening session in the Global International Arena under lights in week eight of the 2022 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF).
It was clear from Matute Guimón’s reaction at the final halt how much this performance meant to him. Aside from the pandemic hobbling competition and training opportunities for more than two years, the 24-year-old suffered a brain bleed in May 2020 followed by pneumonia and a long road to recovery.
Winner of the qualifying grand prix, Jan Ebeling (USA), had to settle for second with his talented 12-year-old mare Bellena. He posted 75.52% with some green mistakes. Germany’s Christoph Koschel slotted into third with Dünensee, chalking up 75.355%.
“It’s been quite an emotional comeback,” said Matute Guimón, “because the last time I was here was in 2020 with Don Diego trying to qualify for the Las Vegas World Cup Final. And then we all know what happened after that. Now I’m back, and I’m going all out. I want to do it all. I want to go to all of the shows, the European Championships, World Championships, World Cup Final, everything. I want to be in the top sport, and I must take every opportunity I can.”
“A freakish talent” is how Jan Ebeling describes Bellena, the 12-year-old daughter of Bellissimo M who he rode into second place. Originally bought for her owner Ann Romney to ride, Ebeling picked up the ride when they realized how talented she was.
Third-placed Koschel was riding Dünensee, Diamante Farms’ 13-year-old gelding by Dancier, at his first CDI, performing their first freestyle and making their debut under lights.
“It’s all so new so he was a bit shy and a little nervous, but I think we handled it very well,” he said. “And I used [former top horse] Dom Perignon’s freestyle, which is really difficult, so I think we have to practice it a little bit more. I’m very happy that he behaved so well, because I didn’t know how we would do under the lights.”
For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.