A couple weeks ago I was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hosting a physician training course. It was one of the better work trips I have had. The course went off without a hitch and I got to do some really rad extracurriculars. Some even involving horses!!!
This place is so enchanting. I would totally take it for granted if I lived there, but visiting places like this is always an unforgettable experience.
After we finished our day at the hospital, my coworker and I took all of the visiting doctors up the Corcovado mountain to see the Cristo Redentor statue that watches over Rio. The sunset was gorgeous and the view of the city can’t be beat.
I got a bird’s-eye preview of the equestrian club I would later get to see up close and personal. Right by the lake and nestled under the mountains?! Yep, definitely dreaming…
We spent two days in two different hospitals observing cases. Here I am getting some serious side-eye for being a paparazzi during the course.
I chatted up one of our hosting physicians during a break since I know he owns a few horses and rides. I mentioned that I had read that the Rio Equestrian Festival was taking place this weekend. Little did I know, It was being hosted at his home riding club, his son was competing in the young rider category, and he and his family were going to watch on Saturday. Once he found out that my flight home on Saturday wasn’t until 10pm, he invited me to come watch the competition with him and his family!
The SHB is the oldest riding club in Rio de Janeiro and one of the largest with over 350 stalls. It is a beautiful facility and immaculately kept.
I took a taxi there and met up with my surgeon friend who showed me to the club seats where his family had a spot waiting for me. I arrived just in time to watch the 1.30m Amateur, Top Young Rider, Pre-Junior, and Top Masters compete.
His son took second on the day after pulling one rail in the jump off. He went on to win his division on Sunday on his lovely Belgian Warmblood mare.
No, really though, is this real life?
After all of that excitement the big show started and I was fortunate enough to watch 62 year old ex-olympic medalist and local equestrian icon, Luiz Felipe de Azevedo, try to beat his personal jumping record of 2.32m and even try for the world record currently at 2.40m
He didn’t beat his record but holy cow was it fun to watch him try. 62 years old and jumping a 7 foot wall… no big deal. Incredible.
We capped off the day with my wonderful host taking me to the stables to meet his five gorgeous imports, the friendliest of which, was his Oldenburg stallion Robert. It’s the mares in his herd who can really jump though!
What a trip, and I can’t think of a better way to get my horse fix while on the road!