It’s been nearly 12 months since Juan Manuel Luzardo accepted honors as the breakout winner of Mexico’s first-ever show jumping World Cup™ qualifier, but for him, the joy from that day hasn’t faded one bit.
In 2016, the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping was held at Valle De Bravo, Mexico, and this year, when the event shifts 500 kilometers to the northwest, in Guadalajara from January 25-28, it will mark big show jumping sport coming right to Luzardo’s front door, a rare scenario for this Mexican-born rider.
While the 36-year-old rides under the flag of Uruguay, he also holds a Mexican passport, and has lived in Guadalajara since 2002. So for Luzardo, this area of Mexico is home, and the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Guadalajara CSI4*-W will unquestionably be one of the central competitions of his year.
Q: What is your plan for competing in Mexico’s only FEI North American League World Cup™ Jumping qualifier?
A: I’m going to compete with the same horse in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Guadalajara that I won with in Valle de Bravo last year, Stan. And I have two other horses to compete in the other classes. I bought Stan when he was seven, and this year he will be 11-years-old. In Colorado last year, I also won two grands prix with him.
Q: Your 2016 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Guadalajara win was a bit of a surprise. How is your confidence level going into this week’s competition?
A: Last year it was unexpected. I was nervous because it was the first show in the year, so I think I felt like we were not ready to do something like that, but he’s an amazing horse. He surprised me every class, every day, and when I won last year I was crazy happy.
Stan is now one more year educated and grown up. When he was young, he was really wild, really wild. I used to ride him with a hackamore and a snaffle combination so that I could control him a little bit more. At the end of last year, I did a few changes, including changing the bit to a Pelham, because now that he’s older, he’s easier to control, and I feel very confident with him. We had a national show here in Mexico last week, and he won the grand prix qualifier. So I think we are in good shape, and I hope to have good results with him in Guadalajara.
Q: Is Stan still a hot horse to ride in the ring?
A: Yes! He has a lot of blood, and he is so brave and great. When you see him in the jumpoff, in a speed class, you might think that he’s not really going that fast, but he can win and beat any other horse.
Q: There have been some very famous horses over the years who have had short and simple names. What can you tell us about Stan’s name?
A: Well, he is a Hanoverian, and he has very good breeding. His father is Stakkato. His mother is by Sacramento Son, and when they put the name of the first letters of the father together with the dam sire, they came up with Stan!
Q: What can you tell us about the venue that was chosen for this year’s Mexican leg of the North American League?
A: The Guadalajara Country Club is a really beautiful place. It is where the 2011 Pan American Games were held. I live and ride here in Guadalajara, and while I ride at another club–Club Hipica–I love riding at Guadalajara Country Club. It is one of the best clubs in Mexico, it is in the middle of the city and it’s a beautiful place. After Mexico City, the Guadalajara region is one of the best cities in Mexico for the sport of show jumping, and I expect a lot of people to come and watch!