Juan Antonio Jiménez Cobo and Euclides MOR have just returned from a quick summer competition tour through northern Europe. They have been on the road since the beginning of August, participating in the CDI4* in Cappeln and the CHI Donaueschingen and, earlier in July, in the CDI4* in Leudelange, Luxembourg. These were the first appearances at international top competitions for the young Lusitano stallion from stud farm Las Morerias.
Escape the Heat, Gain Mileage
Juan Antonio Jiménez Cobo and Carlos Trillo, colleague and director of their facilities in Madrid, weighed the pros and cons of competing abroad on a talented young Iberian horse and reflected back on their summer euro tour.
“We exceeded our goals by far," said Juan Antonio. "Euclides MOR is gaining confidence and this resulted in higher scores and placements. We participated in 3, 4* events and we are very pleased. Before, we used to go to Ibiza in the summer or to our family villages. We celebrated our little “escapes”, as you can never go far too many days when you have horses. But for a couple of years now we have taken advantage of the summer to head north. The mild climate in the north is much better for the horses. So we leave Madrid when it is getting really hot and mix leisure and work for a couple of days, for horses, for us and our clients.”
Juan Antonio liked this year's trek north particularly because here was less pressure. "We were not pursuing a certain score to classify for a major event," said Jimenez. "Usually you are chasing a spot on a team. This time the idea was “just” to work the horses and to do it calmly, to do it at the pace they need. We have come a long way already.
When it comes to presenting a horse with such quality and talent as Euclides MOR at high profile shows, one has to go into the smallest details and plan absolutely everything. "You cannot leave anything to chance. You have to stay flexible and always keep your plan B in mind. We are dealing with equine athletes; they are sensitive animals both physically and mentally," said Jimenez.
Carlos Trillo takes care of logistics from A to Z, before, during and after the competition. He manages the paperwork, organisation and coaching schedule.
In August the autumn schedule was already drafted with the Spanish Young Horse Championships, the Young Rider, Junior, Children National Championships and SICAB, the major event for Spanish horses, on the calendar. Furthermore Juan travels once or twice to America every month. "When you are leading a stable with 60 horses and a lot of pupils and clients you always have issues coming up and a trip is ideal to update your agenda," Trillo explained. "Juan can’t go everywhere and we go through everything calmly.”
Juan Antonio added that, "this summer we did over 5,000 km. For an elite competition horse, you have to look for proper barns in time. Of course we want to be close to the event location. You need to accustom the horses to the climate for a couple of days, etc. In my lifetime, I have travelled more than a million kilometers and I have been to approximately 25 to 50 competitions per year, depending on the season. Now I also have an intensive teaching program, and so you reach these numbers easily.
Reaching New Highs on Euclides MOR
For his Euro summer tour with Euclides MOR (by Riopele out of Ruca), Jimenez based himself at Stable Kampmann in Lingen, Germany, and trained with Rudolf Zeilinger. The Spanish team trainer also assisted him at the CDI Donaueschingen.
Euclides MOR, owned by Las Morerias, made his Grand Prix debut at the CDI4* in Segovia in spring. Beforehand, they had already competed in Inter A and Inter B, nationally and internationally. The tour in northern Europe was meant for the young GP horse to gain experience and mileage.
“We focused on routine at the show ground," said Jimenez. "Euclides is a stallion, he is hot and has the spark and still basically we do have to boost his self confidence. That´s what we did this time in Leudelange, Cappeln and Donaueschingen, though this last show was a bit hard on us. We decided to go because there were a lot of advantages like really good competitors next to us, in the stables, and in the training rings as well. Euclides learns very fast in these surroundings, in a solid way. I believe he grows in this setting. It’s something I feel every day when we are out there.”
In Leudelange,, they competed in their first CDI4* outside Spain. They achieved 66.848% for the Grand Prix and 72.405% in the Freestyle, and finished 9th and 10th in the overall ranking. At Cappeln they scored 67.478% in the Grand Prix and 71.650% in the Kur. And finally in Donaueschingen Juan and Euclides MOR reached almost 70% (69.478%) in the Grand Prix and finished 8th out of 20.
“Euclides MOR is very expressive. The piaffe–passage transitions are magnificent and last time we got several “8”s for piaffe, passage and the pirouettes. He really surpassed my expectations. This summer, we have improved the flying changes a great deal," said Juan Antonio.
Coaching All Over the Globe
Jimenez has been appointed the national dressage coach of Peru. Overseas flights every month are part of his daily life.
“It means many hours on the plane but at least once you arrive you are home immediately, which I appreciate very much," said Juan Antonio. "I really enjoy teaching and I love to learn new things myself; I enjoy watching other top riders. In Madrid, we have our private facilities 10 minutes away from the biggest airport, which is one of the advantages for my clients as well as for me when one has to travel overseas so much.”
"After Donaueschingen, for example, Juan had to fly back to Madrid and then travel again to Mexico," said Trillo. "A training and check up session in Las Morerias had already been scheduled for a long time. Lorena Morales is preparing for the Pan American Games, as is everybody in America now. From Monterey, Juan has to go to Lima and afterwards for a couple of days to Florida with another client, then he comes back to Madrid.”
His next show with Euclides MOR is planned for the CDI 4* in Lyon, France, in November.
Text by Katharina Braren - Photos © Astrid Appels - Top Iberian