The Rio Olympics started Paulo on the Olympic journey. He had every reason to be proud. In the Brazilian dressage team there was two Lusitano horses who have been partly trained by Paulo and Maria – Vendaval and Zingaro.
A bay Lusitano by Guizo was ridden by his young student Giovana Pass. At only 18 years old Giovana was the youngest competitor. Guizo was the first ever Lusitano to be on the podium in the Olympics – winning a silver in the Spanish team event in Athens.
It was while Giovana was in Portugal training that Paulo decided she should try Zingaro. He had a feeling they would fit well together. He was right, Paulo told me that in his view they make a perfect match.
I asked Paulo how he managed to train Giovana so far apart, he told me he traveled to Brazil once a month and the rest of the sessions were carried out live on Skype.
Vendaval was the other Lusitano horse in the Brazilian team and was trained for just over one year with Paulo and Maria I asked him how did he come to be with him?
Vendaval came from dressage rider and trainer Johan Zaggers but he was originally started and competed in Portugal. Zaggers challenged Maria to take Vendaval to GP level. Maria loved Vendaval so the challenge was accepted. A year on Maria was competing him in GP. Soon after this Olympic rider Luiza Tavares de Almeida came to see him. Paulo told me “ I could see in her eyes that she had just found her horse for Rio”.
“Maria and I were really proud and happy to see these two fantastic Lusitanos with two such talented Olympic riders in their saddles. I am particularly proud of Giovana and wish her every success”.