Nelson Pessoa has won numerous titles in Brazil and in Europe, where he became known as 'The Wizard', and it was from him that Rodrigo inherited the passion for horses, for equestrian sports, and learned to ride.
At the age of 9, Rodrigo took part in his first competition with ponies in England, and at 12 he conquered the title of Champion of Pony Class in Belgium, his first title of the many that would come ahead.
At 16, he started competing in the most important Grand Prixs in Europe, and in 1988 he won the first he won the junior European Championship competition, but could not take the title home because of his Brazilian citizenship.
In fact, Rodrigo's first great year was 1992, when he joined the Brazilian team for the Olympic games in Barcelona, with Carlos Vinicius da Motta, Nelson Pessoa, Vitor Teixeira and Lucia Santa Cruz da Motta (as standby). He was only 19 and was the youngest rider disputing the Olympic Games, reaching the 9th place individual count, riding Special Envoy.
In 1993 Rodrigo conquered the Wiesbaden - Paris and Aachen Grand Prix and in the same year he won his first Derby, in Eindhoven, his father's trade mark.
In order to participate in the Pan American Games in Mar del Plata in 1994, he won the Grand Prix of Aachen and of Aarhus riding Special Envoy, thus earning a place on the team with Nelson Pessoa, André Johannpeter and Vitor Alves Teixeira. The Brazilians were the gold medal winning team in the Pan-American Games
In 1997, Rodrigo started getting prepared for a major objective, along the way he won the Grand Prix events of Geesteren, Mannheim and Aachen. When he arrived in the World Cup Final in Helsinki, Finland, he was considered a favorite. By winning the final that year, the first of many huge dreams began to come true. In that same year, Rodrigo and Lianos came out on top in the horse swap of the World Championship in Rome. After a most astonishing performance, Rodrigo won the Gold medal ahead of Thierry Pomel and Franke Sloothaak. At the close of that year Rodrigo received the "Show Jumper of the Year" trophy as the world's best rider. That was indeed a very remarkable year in Rodrigo's career.
Riding Baloubet in 1999, Rodrigo conquered his second World Cup title. Then, in that same year, he won the Grand Prix events of Paris-Bercy, Berlin and Amsterdam, and Derby of La Baule. These major victories along with others earned him the top spot of the World Ranking list.
2000 was a year full of celebrations, Rodrigo won his third-in-a-row World Cup Final with Baloubet, and brought Brazil the bronze team medal at the Olympics in Sydney riding Baloubet, after an exciting jump-off against the French team.
All was going on well, but on the second round of individual final, Rodrigo and Baloubet ended up losing the chance of bringing an individual medal to Brazil. Despite the great disappointment, Rodrigo overcame and continued to dominate the European scene with Baloubet.
At the end of 2000, Rodrigo had already won 23 competitions, 10 second places, 1 World Cup, 1 Olympic Medal and also ended the year as the number of the World Ranking FEI/BCM.
2001 was a fantastic year, although Rodrigo and Baloubet were not able to catch their forth in a row World Cup title, the year still proved to be very fortunate. Rodrigo and his horses had major wins at the following events; Spruce Meadows and Aarhus (Lianos), La Coruña (Taylor Made), Fontainebleau (Bianca d'Amaury) and Milan (Baloubet).
2004 was one of the best years of Rodrigo's life. He rode to victory in 6 major Grand Prix events. The summer of that year culminated in a Silver medal in Athens with Baloubet du Rouet.
2005 was the year in which Olympic Silver turned into Gold, on 29th of August in Rio de Janeiro, Rodrigo was awarded the long awaited Olympic Gold Medal. In the same year, Rodrigo won with Baloubet du Rouet the two main competitions at Lãs Vegas Invitational, both competitions of his circuit in Brussels and the TOP10 final in Geneva.
2006 was very special. Rodrigo began his partnership with CN's Hunter Harrison by riding the wonderful "Oasis". Rodrigo and Oasis won in Falsterbo (Sweden), Lanaken and Brussels (Belgium). Sadly, in the beginning of 2007 Oasis past away, it was a tremendous loss to Rodrigo and his team.
2007 was a building year for Team Pessoa. The new partnership with Hunter Harrison and Double H Farm began to thrive with the purchases of Rufus and Cantate Z. At the same moment, the great Baloubet de Rouet was no longer competing and with Oasis gone, Rodrigo was concentrating his efforts on developing his young mount Rufus.
Rufus did just that and went on to win the Pan-American Team Gold Medal and Individual Silver after just seven months in Rodrigo's program. The games were a big step in Rufus's career and helped him mature into the dependable horse he is today. In the year 2009 he went on to place 5th individually in the Rolex World Cup Final and win several Grand Prix titles.
Double H Farm has become the primary horse owner for Rodrigo and continued to invest in champions. In 2008 a horse named Let's Fly was purchased from Edouard de Rothschild and Peter Wylde. Fly already had some experience with Peter at the beginning Grand Prix level but really matured and excelled during the 2009 season. Together Let's Fly and Rodrigo have won Grand Prix events at CSI Jacksonville, CSI 5* Charlotte and CSOI 5* Rome along with top placings in Global Champions Tour Grand Prix events.