Rancho Santa Fe equestrian rode in Rio Olympics
Eduardo Menezes, world class equestrian and owner of Rancho Santa Fe’s E2 Stables, had the experience of a lifetime this summer competing for his native Brazil in the Rio Olympics. Team Brazil finished in fourth place in the team jumping competition.
“It was amazing, all of the other riders agreed that we had never seen anything like that. The crowd was unbelievably supportive,” Menezes said, noting even as the riders put on their Brazil jackets in warm-ups people would start screaming — he compared it to scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl. “To be there, representing Brazil in my own country, it was unbelievable.”
Menezes, who has placed highly in Grand Prix jumping events around the world, juggles his busy competition schedule and co-managing E2, focusing on the sales and development of talented show jumping prospects.
On Oct. 12-30, Menezes will compete alongside an elite field in the Del Mar International Horse Show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Many in the competition will be Olympic veterans, including Team USA’s Beezie Madden and Kent Farrington, who took silver in the team competition in Rio. All will be aiming to qualify for the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup — Del Mar is only one of seven World Cup qualifiers on the West Coast.
Menezes, 36, has been riding horses since he was 5 years old on his family’s cattle ranch in Brazil.
“I always took it very seriously, I always loved it and I always knew that’s what I wanted to do professionally,” Menezes said. “When I was 14 years old I told my dad that this is what I’m going to do.”
Menezes said his dad told him this was not news to him — he already knew what his son’s path would be.
Menezes moved to Rancho Santa Fe from Brazil in 2010. It was a decision that he made with one of his sponsors who wanted to come live in the U.S. and raise their children here.
“I really wanted to come,” Menezes said. “We used to come here every year in the summer to compete and we loved it. We knew this is the place we wanted to be.”
Menezes came to the states with his wife Leticia — their son Luca was born in 2013.
In 2014, he established E2 with his partner Enrique Gonzales. Their training philosophy views show jumping not only as a demanding sport requiring hard work and discipline but also as a “form of art, created between horse and rider.” Their method involves creating a strong bond between horse and rider.
Menezes keeps very busy competing nearly every weekend, all over the world.
For the last four years, he has been riding and competing with Quintol, a 2005 Oldenburg Gelding. Just like he trains all levels of riders at E2, he has developed a kinship and partnership with the horse.
“I have rode him an average of an hour every day for the last four years so we know each other well,” Menezes said.
In preparation for Rio, he left Rancho Santa Fe on Dec. 28, 2015 and just returned after the Olympic Games on Aug. 22. From December through August he was competing all over Europe with a temporary home base in Belgium.
Since returning from Rio, Menezes hasn’t had much time off — Sept. 7-11 he was in Canada competing with Team Brazil in the Spruce Meadows Masters, the biggest Grand Prix in the world. The team won the silver medal and Menezes finished in 12th place in the Grand Prix. Menezes and Brazil had won the Spruce Meadows Masters in 2015.
Quintol was due back from Canada on Sept. 13 and Menezes said the horse will rest up until the Del Mar International Horse Show, to refresh both his mind and his body. Menezes said as long as Quintol is feeling happy they will compete in Del Mar, with the goal of qualifying for the Grand Prix where $100,000 in prize money will be up for grabs.
“Our goal is to win,” Menezes said.
To purchase tickets for the Del Mar International Horse Show, visit jumpdelmar.com. To learn more about E2 Stables, visit e2stables.com
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