Rodrigo Pessoa
Rodrigo Pessoa

Past Champions

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Past Champions

Read below a short description by Nelson Pessoa about the great Horses that made and still make history

Gran Geste

Born in Brazil, the first horse I had the best international results with. Gran Geste was a regular horse in Brazil, but after one year of competitions in Europe, he turned out an extraordinary horse. And he's considered nowadays, after forty something years, one of the best horses of all times. He won over 40 International GPs.
Gran Geste came from Brazil with me 1961 and competed until 1969, when he retired.
He was a dapple-grey horse, whose sire was a Brazilian clean-bred named Monte Negro. Gran Geste was born in Paraná, breed of a farmer that specifically bred jumping horses; he was a son of a clean-bred with an ordinary Brazilian creole mare.

A horse of strong personality, lots of attitude, very nervous and charismatic, because before starting a circuit, when I stopped to introduce to the jury, he started digging. So the audience thought he did it on purpose, to greet them, but in fact it was out of sheer nervousness.

Time went by, and from dapple-grey he became white, really beautiful. He's a horse people still ask me about when I go to competitions, so they say it ' How's Gran Geste doing?". Nobody has ever forgotten about that horse. Mind you, he passed away years ago, he would have been 60 were he alive today. He remained in the memory of those who saw the competitions in the 60s. He was the horse of that decade. I wouldn't say he was better than the today horses, but he was indeed a winner. He knew, he could feel the day of the Grand Prix. His best performances were at GPs and that made me more and more confident.

Gran Geste won 3 times in Hamburg, 2 in Aix-la-Chapelle and so on. His best results were absolutely amazing. I became champion of Europe with him, when the European championship was open to riders of all parts of the world; by the way, I got the title, the second was an American and the third, an Argentinean. The first European conquered the 4th place and then the International Federation limited the championship in Europe to European riders only.

Gran Geste retired at the age of 16, in 1969 and died at 32, 16 years later, under a fantastic shape, in race horse farm where he was- at the owner's stud. One morning, he was lying on the pasture, I thought he was taking a rest, but his heart had stopped beating. He did not get ill, had no accident, he was a horse of formidable health.

Huipil

Gran Geste's contemporary, he was also very famous, winning many important competitions, being that with Huipil I got the best results I ever had in world championships and the Olympics. I was 4th at the World Championship in 1966 in Argentina and 5th at the Olympics in 64, and then he won many championships, in Aix-la-Chapelle..., many victories in important tournaments. He was Argentinean, gelding, bay. His belonged to Arline de Vodan, owner of the first horses I mounted when I came to Europe. She was French, but based in Brazil, and when I lived in Switzerland I mounted her horses and helped in competitions, for she participated too.

Espartaco

Also contemporary of Gran Geste and Huilpil, a small horse, Argentinean nationality , and also winner of many competitions, especially Derbies. With him I won Hamburg Derby twice and had other victories, fewer than the ones with Gran Geste and Huipil. But Espartaco was also a remarkable horse those days.

Passop

When the previous horses retired, came Passopo, a Russian clean-bred I had for little time, but with whom I participated in the Olympic Games, Mexico, 1968 and got 14th place. He won Europe GP in Aix-la-Chapelle twice, won the International Championship in Germany. And he was a horse whose health was fragile and ended his career early.

He was very beautiful, light bay, shiny . He looked as gold, there are not many Russian clean-bred horses with that kind of coat.

Nagir

A clean-bred I bought from a French rider, a famous horse that became very dificult. He had participated in the Olympics, 68. His brother Nelcius got the second biggest race in France, the Jockey Club GP.

When Nagir did the Olympics in 68 with Dorilar, he did not jump well. After that, he became a very stressful horse and I had little time to adjust him. But with him I won many competitions, being that in Aix-la-Chapelle in 1972, he won the GP as the only animal to finish the competition fault-free.

Nagir won around 25 international GPs, retired and went back to his owner, who had saved him from the butchers years before (for Nagir started his career as a racer, due to his lineage, but he did not do well, and was sent to slaughter, being then chosen by the owner of a club in Bordeaux who saw in him qualities like size, beauty and temper, and bought him before he got sacrificed).

He was a famous horse still remembered by many people.

He really needed competitions, and the reason he jumped badly in the Olympics in 68 with Dorilar, and in e 72 with me, is that he needed to jump many times in a circuit to get adapted to it. As the Olympics then had only one competition, that was a terrible experience for a nervous horse like Nagir.

Miss Möet

She was the mare I got in 1974. Very difficult, she was mounted by the Brazilian Alegria Simões, and I specialised her in power competitions. She, an Irish, big, nervous mare, of dark bay coat, was the animal that won the most endurance competitions lately.

She won 72 Puissances with me, and with her I kept for many years the world record I obtained in Paris, when we jumped 2,33 m. Miss Moët got there an impressive achievement.

She had as characteristics power, an excellent heart and unbelievable energy. She would come towards the wall in high speed. Later I tried to overcome the record with her, but unfortunately we didn't make it to 2,50 m.

She jumped from 1974, when I bought her, until 1986. Still at the age of 20, she won the Puissance competition in Bordeaux. Indeed, an extraordinary mare.

Special Envoy

Irish, chestnut, he gave me many victories and later came to be Rodrigo's first mount, who was then very young. I got several GPs with Special Envoy, being the main one in Dublin, where he came from.

A very generous horse and I think he contributed a lot to Rodrigo's career, to whom I passed him on because those days I mounted another horse, Vivaldi. And Rodrigo participated in his first Olympics at only 19.

Special Envoy was a well conformed horse, determined but generous. He had no problem at all and with him Rodrigo won, Aix-la-Chapelle GP, the first important GP of his career. That was a memorable day for us because I achieved  the third place for a hundredth of a second behind, Markus Fuchs, second place; Rodrigo and I were 1st and 3rd- a wonderful day.

Proprietária de Special Envoy - Heidi Hauri

Special Envoy was a remarkable horse, the first horse I mounted in the main GPs, he launched me in the great international circuit. I did my first World Championship with him, my first Olympics. I was lucky to have had many quality horses, but should I have to choose one, it would have to be him, for launching me in the great competitions.

Rodrigo Pessoa

Chouman

A horse I had for little period of time. He belonged to a Swedish owner who sold him for a Philippine rider, and I only had it for 6 months, especially to participate in some competitions, one of them the World Championship when I got 5th place. I missed the finals by 1 score. I won some GPs with him and got 3rd in Aix-la-Chapelle, when Rodrigo won with Special Envoy.

Schumann was a calm, small horse, of many qualities, but he was a bit stressful as well and did not deliver great results to his owner, a Swedish rider, who had some problems with him in great competitions. So they decided to sell him: I mounted him and when he achieved good results, he was sold to this lady from the Philippines, and had good results with her. Soon after that, he had some problems and did not jump anymore.

Vivaldi

A great and big horse. He was Irish, nearly 1,80m tall, and his specialty were Derbies, although I also won some GPs with him, like Europe GP in Aix-la-Chapelle. He won Hamburg Derby three times in a row and other Derbies, too.
Vivaldi had a little problem on his paws, his hoof was too large and open, he would lose his horseshoes, but he was a wonderful horse for this type of competition, Derby.

Heidi Hauri, Special Envoy's owner, was my partner with Vivaldi. Heidi was a very famous rider, she had bronze medal at Los Angeles Olympics, in 1984, with her extremely famous mare named Jessica.

Baloubet du Rouet

Considered the best horse of all times, even mentioning Milton, which was one of the only horses to win as many competitions as Baloubet.

What Baloubet conquered during three consecutive years in the World Cup, I guess will never be equalised by any other, and now we have, besides all his victories with Rodrigo, the great achievement in the Olympics.

Baloubet started with me. His from French origin, son of Galoubet (very famous as well) and came to us at the age of 5. I mounted him from 5 to 9 years old and then Rodrigo started participating.

I won some GPs with him, and when Rodrigo started mounting him, he had amazing victories. There was a counter performance at Sidney Olympics, when the victory was nearly in our hands, there were only 3 obstacles missing, and "Something came to his head" and he wouldn't jump.

He is a perfect horse, a reproducer, and had many foals who are reaching international level nowadays. I think he will also build a reputation as a reproducer; he's absolutely extraordinary, a wonderful blood line, a fantastic genealogy.

Baloubet belongs to a Portuguese friend of ours, Diogo Pereira Coutinho, who had bought him when he was 2 and a half years old in Normandy. As I'd say, Diogo was inspired, he bought him still a colt, hadn't even been mounted yet, and when he was 5, he brought it to us.

At first he was a bit difficult, as many horses which have no discipline from the start. He hadn't been well prepared so he gave us some troubles. But at 7 he was French champion with me. We won some GPs when he was 8, and at 9 we did the World Championship in Rome, when Rodrigo won with Lianos, and Baloubet and I got 11th. After that, he was passed to Rodrigo and is a horse that has won competitions in all countries.

Rodrigo had Special Envoy, and I was leaving the competitions. This passage was programmed: it was in our plans to pass him to Rodrigo when the horse was ready to start competing. In the meanwhile, I ended my competition career with him.

I won the GP in Sweden, among other competitions, and then he was passed to Rodrigo. From then on his career has been absolutely extraordinary.

He is a chestnut horse, 1,72m tall, with impressive power, respect and potency. These are his qualities. His strength and respect are very peculiar indeed, but lots of temper, reason why it took him some time to do well. Now, at the age of 16, he's in his best moment. Ageing has helped him get calmer a little, and at the moment Rodrigo has used him more easily.

Tom Boy

Also Irish, a horse that Rodrigo had for some time and which gave him good victories. At Atlanta Olympics he was in the team and got bronze medal, and by ¼ of score Rodrigo, at the barrier, did not get the medal with him. He had a somewhat short career, a horse we recovered from many health problems, and which also belonged to Heidi Hauri.

Bianca d'Amaury

Foal of Quidam de Revel, a light chestnut mare, very beautiful, who has just retired at the age of 16, but she might have been one of the best speed horses of all times. With her, Rodrigo won many competitions. She didn't jump GPs but gave him many victories: every tournament she would win one or two speed competitions. She won a very famous hunting competition in Rome, and was a mare who made us really glad. Now she's going to breeding and we will have a colt of her with Baloubet. From February 2006 she will be getting ready for breeding.

Lianos

A horse that Rodrigo had for 4 years, with who the main victory was the World Championship in Rome. Lianos is German, his sire is Landlord, excellent origin. He had a remarkable career and nowdays he's retired, at home.

He belongs to the italian rider Vittorio Orlandi who bought him and gave him to be mounted by some Italian riders who did not get adapted to him. Then Olrlandi sent us Lianos who got along really well with Rodrigo and together they had wonderful results.

A large, bay horse, 1,70m tall, very calm, even a little lazy, today he is retired. When he finished his career he was still in good shape, but when he had no more conditions to act at GPs, we decided to retire him.

Our great horses, not registered for secondary competitions, of inferior level, get retired and live their well deserved retirement.

Lianos was for me an unexpected surprise, in Rome, at the World Championship. I could hardly believe my horse had won! It was such a thrill. But it all happened due to Rodrigo's ability. He is an exceptional rider because he joins technical qualities, feeling and manages to give his horse's owners the greatest satisfaction, the victory. He can be at the same time great and very human. Very few champions are like that!

Vittorio Orlandi
(Lianos owner's)

All these horses of superior level have varied characteristics, some are mor difficult, other, easier, but all have several characteristics.

They are also from different origins. Gran Geste was Brazilian; Huipil, Argentinean; Passopo, Russian; Nagir, French, Miss Moët was Irish; Special Envoy, Irish, Vivaldi Irish; Baloubet is French; Tom Boy is Irish; Bianca is French and Lianos, German.

Each horse finds a rider and each rider also has his own characteristics. So the rider must get adapted to the horse.

You can't transform a horse's talent, but you can make him a champion.

Nelson Pessoa

Oasis

The partnership of Double H Farm all started with little Oasis. It was out on the golf cart on the hillside of Double H Farm that a relationship was forged. Mr. Harrison needed a new rider and Rodrigo, a new horse.

This was a horse that may have been small in size, but what he lacked in height he more than made up for in heart. Oasis came to us through Double H Farm and Hunter Harrison. Though he was bought for Mr. Harrison's former rider McLain Ward, Oasis was a fantastic match for Rodrigo's riding. We had always admired the horse and were thrilled to have him in our stables. We worked with him for a little bit less than a year but his impact on the stable was very powerful. A sweet horse by nature, he quickly became a favorite around the barn. It was not long before he and Rodrigo were winning Grand Prix classes in Europe and not too long after that he died of Flu-Rhino. He is sadly missed.

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