FEI CENTRAL AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN GAMES 2010 (PUERTO RICO)
THE ROAD TO A SILVER MEDAL
Diego Muyshondt first came to the US to train at the Long Island Equestrian Institute with Mr. Raul A. de Leon. Diego was sent to Raul to participate in his nine months Course for Instructors in Equitation, Dressage and Jumping, sponsored jointly by the International Olympic Committee and the FEI.
After the completion of this program and having been certified by the ARIA in Dressage and Show jumping, Diego returned to his country of El Salvador to establish himself as an instructor and trainer for 5 years before returning to the US to pursue a career as an equestrian professional.
It was somewhat difficult for Diego at first having to start at the bottom working as a groom and exercise rider.
Little by little Diego started getting opportunities to ride some talented horses and to prove himself through his hard work and the good results he obtained with these horses. People started asking for his help from the ground as well, gradually beginning to enjoy considerable improvement in their riding. They especially appreciated how their horses’ performance advanced benefiting from the system of training in which Diego believes so profoundly.
At present Diego is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he runs a successful operation at Saturnia Stables training horses and giving instruction in equitation, dressage and jumping to riders of all ages and levels.
Last year Diego had the opportunity to qualify representing his country of El Salvador at the FEI Regional Games (the Central American Games). But due to several changes in the dates and complications with the organization of these games, Diego was not able to participate although he had already qualified with the results obtained at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida riding the Belgian Warmblood “Sorry Van Het Lindenhoff” generously made available to him by the family of his young student Allison Margol.
After deciding not to compete in the Games, Diego thought it was time for his student, Allison to start riding and competing on her fabulous horse . Leaving him now on the search for a horse to qualify for the Central American and Caribbean Games that were to be held in Puerto Rico in July of 2010.
Diego thought of” Ikarus”, a Hannoverian gelding that was purchased a few years ago for his student Justin Dye before he left for college. The horse had been out of a training program for almost a year but Diego knew this horse very well and trusted his extraordinary jumping ability. Diego planned spending a few months of slow work to gradually get the horse back in the best possible condition. He was certain it would be worth the time and effort. “Ikarus” owner (Lucille Scott) had decided to sell him, so she agreed to have Diego compete him.
Together with his long time friend and coach Mr. Luis Guasch of Mexico, Diego got to work and in due time he began successfully competing Ikarus, obtaining good results in 1.30 and 1.40 meter classes at the shows in Wellington, Florida.
One day, after having a very good round at one of the qualifying competitions in Wellington, Mrs. Lily Stransky from Stransky’s Mission Farms at Wellington offered to buy the horse. This result would fulfill the objective of the owner but at the same time, crush Diego’s dreams of participating in the Games. Fortunately, Mrs. Stransky, heard of Diego’s initial plans for “Ikarus” and expressed her interest in allowing Diego to continue riding and competing Ikarus all the way to the Games.
Finally after all those ups and downs, having the enthusiastic support of his fellow teammates and of the president of the National Equestrian Federation of El Salvador, Miss Carmen Barrera, along with the generosity and trust of Ikarus’ owner, Lily Stransky, Diego was on his way to compete in Puerto Rico.
As if not having met enough challenges already, Ikarus arrived in Puerto Rico with a very swollen right knee, a scraped hip, and a few bruises from his airplane ride. With the invaluable aid of the Salvadorian’s Team veterinarian, Dr Alfonso Pimentel, Diego and his team took good care of Ikarus- looking after him 24/7 until in a matter of a few days, they had him back up to par and ready to compete.
The first couple of days of competition, the weather was everyone’s concern due to severe rain and thunderstorms. But finally on the last day of the Games, the sun was shining especially for Diego and Ikarus. Coming out of the first round of the Individual Finals, Diego was ranked in fifth place- being one of only five riders with a clear round on the course but carrying two time faults. On the second round with bigger obstacles (1.45m- 1.50m) and extremely demanding track set by the famous international course designer Mr. Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela, out of 25 riders, there were only two with clear rounds. Diego managed to be one of those double clears, but having now a total of three time faults he earned the Silver Medal just behind the Venezuelan rider, Noel Vanososte- who had managed to do double clear rounds with only two time faults. The Bronze Medal went to the Mexican rider Alberto Michan who scored four faults.
Diego won a historical first Silver Medal for El Salvador in the Equestrian Sport at the Central American and Caribbean Games. This victory was very emotional for his supporters and represented a great sense of fulfillment for Diego.
Diego is a certified instructor by the ARIA and the FEI and we wish him the best of luck with his next goal of competing in 2011 at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Diego’s account is a good example of how having enthusiastic determination, discipline and a confident structure for your training can help to realize one’s goals and fulfill a dream.
Article from the "Riding Instructor" Magazine.
Written by Raul De Leon
Achieved the Grand Champion Award with student Gabriela Iribar for the 14- 17 Children's Jumper Division in the overall results accumulative during the 12 weeks of WEF 2013
Participated in the FEI Seminar for Level 3 Coaches
Represented El Salvador in the Central American Games, Costa Rica 2013
Silver Medal in the Individual Jumping Finals at the XXI Central American and Caribbean Games 2010 in Puerto Rico.
Participated in the "Pilot" Level III Seminar of the FEI Coaching System in Quito, Ecuador. December 2009.
Ranked in the TOP 50 Riding Instructors in the USA for 2009 by the American Riding Instructors Association
Completed the Seminar for the F.E.I. Coaching System Level 2, October 2008
Led the team representing the USA to a Second Place in the Team Results for the International Horseshow "Cune Guatemala 2008" held in Guatemala City.
Won the Medium Amateur/ Owners Class with a Student at the Winter Equestrian Festival 2008 in Wellington, Florida.
Participated in the FEI course for Coaches. Guatemala City, September 2007.
Honoured with the Flynn Memorial Award at Littlewood Horseshow in Wellington, Florida. Awarded to the most professional trainer.
Winner of different Classics in the Children's and Amateur Owner Divisions in the Open Jumpers with some of his students at the Winter Equestrian Festival 2006- 2007
Certified Instructor by the American Riding Instructors Association since 2001 for Dressage and Open Jumping.
Graduate of the Instructors Course at the Long Island International Equestrian Institute directed by Mr. Raul DeLeon.
Awarded a scholarship by the International Olympic Commitee and the F.E.I. to participate in Mr. Raul DeLeon's Instructors Course.
More than 20 years of riding experience.
Team member of the Salvadorian Dressage Team for the VI Central American Games (F.E.I. Regionals) obtaining the bronze medal.
El Salvador National Champion in Dressage and Show Jumping at different levels throughout the riding career.
Director of prestigious equestrian center, Las Espuelas, in El Salvador (1998-2000).
Course designer for various horseshows in El Salvador and Miami. Participated in Course Design Clinics with Leopoldo Palacios (Designer for the 2000 Sidney Olympic Games).
Participated in F.E.I. courses for judges and course designers.
General Manager of the Salvadoran National Equestrian Federation.
Chef d'equipe for the Salvadoran Team at International shows.
3rd Place in the Johnny Walker Grand Prix in Panama City 1996
Judge for the V Central American F.E.I. Games held in El Salvador 1994.
Winner of the F.E.I. / Samsung Cup in El Salvador 1993.
Reserve Champion for the F.E.I. Dressage Challenge in El Salvador 1991