Riding under the Mexican flag, Atena Santos is one of the most promising riders of her generation. Join us as we follow her journey as the youngest riders on the LCGT, Mexico Leg and her debut at this presitge competition.
In her words...
“The road to the Global was uncertain because up to the day before the horses loaded for the Event, Zorro had still not been cleared by the vet.
It was such a relief for me when I was told he was going to be my number one horse at the Show.
Riding about 7 different horses (in case Zorro was not medically ok for the Global) was, to say the least, a rocket ride. Looking back at it now that it is all over, however, I think it was a big part of my results.
When I got to the Venue I was blown away by the beauty of the place.
I could not believe I was there in the presence of the greatest riders and horses of the World. The place was buzzing with expectations and packed with people.
I know I should have felt intimidated but I felt right at home.
The next 3 days I watched the greatest in the world contend the most prestigious award there is in show jumping and perform at the highest level.
It was mesmerizing.
When it was time for me to show on Sunday I was ready!
Suddenly the 1.15 course I had to tackle seemed smaller to me for the unbelievable height those amazing riders jumped, made mine look small.
I also knew it was my debut at that height in an International Show but it just looked so manageable after seeing the greatest tackle mountains.
When I approached the Longines arch leading into the arena aboard my Zorro, I took a deep breath and thought how amazing it was to have such an opportunity and that I was going to do what I love."
Excerpted from Atena's FB Journal | To Read More and Follow Atena on Facebook Please Click here | Connect with her Instagram @atena_santos_schneider | To View Official Footage of her two Clear Rounds Click here. | Pictured Right: Atena walking the initial course before competition to plan her ride
With graceful gallops and breathtaking jumps, horse-jumping is often only seen as a beautiful revelry. However, the grit, hours of practice and the development of the partnership of rider and horse is often overlooked as the underlying core of this challenging sport.
It is with this at the young age of 11 years old, that Atena Santos undertakes horse jumping as she continues to grow to hone her craft and perfect efforts in the sport. Training often exceeds hours on end, like most riders, Atena lives and breathes horse jumping--and it shows. Despite her size, Atena has begun to ride in a style reminiscent of one her idols, Beezie Madden, gracefully gliding with speed and accuracy.
Naturally, a humbling sport, being able to compete requires practice in different situations to prepare for the pressure of the high-level competition. Atena practices daily with her horses, watches her teammates and coverage of other champion riders to develop and hone her skills. Her day at the LGCT is a long time coming, from her first ride on a pony at age 8 and continuing with her training horse and longtime partner, Zorro.
Over the three days of the event, the crowd at the Mexican Leg of LGCT exceeded thousands. All of who watched intently as Atena made her debut. Riding a two phase course against the clock at 1.15 meters, Atena rode two clear rounds with no faults with two separate horses; her beloved, Zorro and new friend, Caretina.
Riders begin with walking the course, counting their steps to determine the horse's strides between obstacles, they study the course to evaluate strategy based on each horse’s strengths and weakness. Discussions with her trainer on how to approach each curve and turn, like a driver at the grid at F-1, jumpers like Atena approach the course with decisive preparation to ensure accurate jumps, to avoid faults and deliver the best experience possible for their horses.
Silence spreads and with the indicator set, she and Zorro are off at their first hurdle, jumping swiftly with each mark. As they clear the last hurdle with no faults and enter the pin for return, she is all smiles with an amazing run.
With a future wide open, Atena, now has a new horse in her life. A six-year-old Dutch Warmblood that she looks to develop and raise as a champion jumper. As of late, she has brought him up to the 1 meter level in competition and won the 90cm CSI 2*in Otomi. With Zorro still by her side, Atena continues the competition circuit having established herself in the Infantil Medium Class. Her eyes forward toward greatness and the FEI Children Silver Classics this June.
I took a deep breath and thought how amazing it was to have such an opportunity and that I was going to do what I love.