Juan Matute Guimon has announced that he'll be retiring his top horse Quantico from sport. The pair will compete in their last show at the 2023 CDI-W Madrid on 24 - 25 November 2023.
Quantico is a 17-year old Hanoverian by Fighting Fit out of Holsteiner mare Dasrheen (by Constant x Mephisto). He is bred by Belgian Marijke Goethals.
Don Diego's Successor
The bay was purchased by the Matute family in the auction of at the 2008 Hanoverian Stallion Licensing in Verden. He was gelded to be focused on sport.
The horse was trained from young horse level to Grand Prix by Juan, who at the time was spending winters in Florida and later on summers in Europe.
Quantico became Don Diego's successor, the horse that took Matute first into the Grand Prix ring.
From Young Riders to Senior Team Horse
The pair made its international show debut at young riders level in March 2014, while Juan was competing Dhannie Ymas in the junior classes. He showed the gelding with much success in the U.S.A. at that level through 2015.
In 2016 they stepped up to Under 25 Grand Prix level, first in Florida at the Global Dressage Festival, where he also campaigned Quantico in the senior World Cup qualifier classes, but at that time Don Diego was still the number one. At the 2016 Spanish Under 25 Championships Quantico won the first two rounds, but was pulled from the freestyle. At the 2016 CDIO-U25 in Aachen, he won the short Grand Prix and placed second in the Kur.
In 2017 Quantico took over that baton from Don Diego and was shown both in the senior division and U25 classes. That season in Wellington, he competed in no less than 15 CDI tests in ten weeks time. They qualified for the Spanish team and represented Spain at the 2017 European Under 25 Championships, where they won individual bronze.
In 2018 he stepped up to the senior division and achieved a milestone in Matute's career, his first time on the Spanish team as a senior Grand Prix rider. At the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, they placed 41st with 68.494%. They won bronze at the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix Championship.
Hurdles in Their Olympic Race
In the winter of 2018, right before the CDI-W London, Quantico suffered from a colic attack, which resulted in one year break from international competition sport. Nationally they landed fourth place at the 2019 Spanish Dressage Championships in June 2019. It was Quantico's come-back to sport after the colic.
They returned to the international stage at the 2019 CDI-W Lyon, went to Mechelen and Doha, but then Matute suffered a life threatening brain bleed in May 2020, which he survived through the intervention of doctors and two operations. By the end of July 2020 he was back in the saddle. In October that year they finished sixth at the 2020 Spanish Dressage Championships.
Matute and Quantico returned to the arena in April 2021, going full throttle in the Olympic race for a Spanish team spot in Tokyo. At the final team qualifier in Grote Brogel, they placed fifth in the Grand Prix with 71.696%, but team trainer Rudolf Zeilinger decided on a ride-off for the reserve team spot (between him and Mena's second horse Divina Royal, Jimenez was also called up last minute) during quarantine in Aachen, which Matute (as well as Jimenez) declined to participate in. Matute also did not get selected for the 2021 European Dressage Championships six weeks later. Zeilinger resigned as Spanish team trainer in November 2021.
Instead the rider focused on the 2021-2022 World Cup circuit and competed in Lyon, Madrid, and Wellington to secure his spot at the 2022 World Cup Finals in Leipzig, where he was 15th in the Kur. At the team selection trial for the 2022 World Championships at the Spanish nationals the pair was 6th with competition growing in Spain for those four team spots. At the second trial in Aachen they posted 67.913% and did not make the cut.
In 2023 Juan and Quantico showed at three CDI's in spring: Doha, Segovia and Alter do Chao. The latter event in April was their last international so far. They did not show at the 2023 Spanish Championships, which was the first team selection trial for the European Championships in Riesenbeck.
Next week at the CDI-W Madrid, the pair will ride its final competition. Quantico will be retired from sport after that.
Retirement and the Future
Matute first spoke about the retirement to Ocio Caballo.
"He is 17 years old, I could perfectly compete him for one more season, but I prefer to give him rest and make way for to the new horses that are coming strong behind him I have great hope for them," Matute stated.
In an interview with Marca, Juan stated, "my great ambition is to be the best rider in history or at least the best I can be, and of course I see myself with an Olympic medal in Paris. I want to inherit the Olympic team patch (on the tailcoat) like my father, to be part of the elite, and shine in all the championships."
At the moment, Juan has been competing one new Grand Prix horse, the American owned 11-year old PRE stallion Navaltocon (by Jupiter XXVI x Naranjero XX). The pair did one CDI at Grand Prix level so far, the CDI Madrid in October, where they twice posted 66%. Coming up the ranks is the 8-year old Westfalian Formentor (by Finest x Pavarotti van de Helle) who gained experienced at small tour level in three CDI's this year in Jerez, Las Cadenas, and Madrid. Standing in the wings is 7-year old KWPN gelding Lexus (by Vivaldi x Ferro).
Photos © Astrid Appels - Lily Forado
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