How well do you know the Pan Am riders? – Ruy Fonseca (BRA)

Ruy & Tom Bombadill Too at the Barroca d'Alva CCI2* .

Every four years the Pan Am Games are held in a host nation in the Americas. Like the Summer Olympics, it is a major sporting competition between 41 countries. Over 6000 of the best athletes on this side of the globe come to compete in a variety of sports including Eventing. Eventers compete at the CCI2* level on teams of four, and one score is dropped at the end of the event. Riders can also go as individuals if their country does not have three qualified riders. This year the Pan Ams are in Toronto, Ontario Canada and eventers will compete on July 17-19th. 

Here is your chance to find out more about the select riders who are representing their countries… Find out more about one of Brazil’s team riders, Ruy Fonseca. 

Ruy will be representing Brazil on Tom Bombadill Too, a 15-year-old, Holsteiner, gelding at the 2015 Toronto Pan Ams. This duo lacks no experience at all, finishing 38th individually at the 2014 Normandy World Equestrian Games (WEG), 42nd individually at the 2012 London Olympics, 32nd at the 2010 Kentucky WEG, and they have had a total of 39 event starts together. This year they have had some very competitive results together; winning the Barroca d’Alva CCI2* finishing on a score of 38.0, and placing 19th at the Houghton Hall CIC3* on a 59.4. They have finished on the lowest score (38.0) at a CCI2*, within the Pan Am qualifying period (January 1st 2014 – June 8th 2015) out of all the nominated entries for the Pan Ams. Ruy and Tom Bombadill Too are serious contenders to win the individual gold medal and help their team onto the top of the podium.

Ruy’s FEI record (Please note the FEI database only keeps record from 2002 onwards. Ruy has multiple FEI results from before 2002 that we are unable to track)
FEI World ranking: 376th
FEI Event starts: 133
FEI wins: 2
CCI3* completions: 9
CCI4* completions: 5

Ruy and his fellow teammates (he on the far right).

Ruy and his fellow teammates (he on the far right).

1. Where did you first start riding and how old were you?
First time I sat on horse was when I was 4-years-old with my parents in São Paulo at famous Show Jumping club, Hipica Paulista.

2. What sparked your interest in Eventing? 
When my family moved to the countryside, four hours north of the city, São Paulo to a farm, I started to do some ‘Rural Events’. This riding competition format is a mix of Barrel Racing with jumps in the middle, plus cross-country against the clock, and Steeplechasing, so it was similar to Eventing, minus Dressage. Rural Events is a national sport, which 80% of Eventing riders in Brazil started out doing, all four riders on Brazils’s 2015 Pan Am team came from that sport.

3. When did you realize you wanted to represent your country at major games?
My first team apparence was as Junior in Uruguay 1989. My horse and I won the individual competition and I was a reserve from the team! ️But reserves could compete too at this competition, it gave the team selectors a headache.

Ruy riding in his earlier days.

Ruy riding in his earlier days.

4. How did you react when you realized you were on the Pan Am team?
Receiving a call from the team trainer saying you are on the team is always great. I treat it personally like it is always my first time on the team; I try to organize my goals in detail. I always have a plan ‘A’ but when horses are involved you can end up with plan B,C or Z. However, you need to target specific goals with your horses and with yourself too, in order to motivate yourself and everyone around you.

5. Who do you train with?
Anna Ross for Dressage, Mark Todd is our team trainer and Gabriel Marques and Luis Álvares Cervera for Show Jumping.

6. Which horse has been your favourite and why? 
Well it is hard to pick just one, but some horses stand out because they were most influential in my career were. Ondeado, he was really important when I was young and gave me a lot of confidence. Together we won a lot when I was a Junior and Young Rider and I even did some Senior events on him. But Manfriday was special too, he gave me experience and I won my first gold medal at Pan Ams in Argentina on the team with him in 1995. Currently I have my best horse ever, Tom Bombadill Too. Together we’ve competed at two WEG, two Pan Ams, one Olympics, plus a few four-stars, and we still have more to do together.

7. Are you aiming for the 2016 Olympics?
I am aiming for Rio hopefully with Tom Bombadill and Korsica, a new ride with lots of potential to go all way. Plus I have Land Bravus, a homebred who has already done few two-stars and is ready to go next level I hope.

8. When you are not on a horse or in the barn, what are you doing? 
I like to spend time with my family and at the gym. I love other sports like Tennis, Soccer , and I am a bit of a car racing fanatic, specifically Formula One racing.

9. What piece of advice would you give young riders who aspire to ride on a team one day? 
Keep fighting because with time and hard work things one day will happen. Sometimes for it happens quick and for others it takes more time. There will be a lot of joyous moments ️but also a lot of sad and bad times. But keep working with horses and competing, its a privilege. There are much more worse things in the world so do not complain when you have a fence down or a refusal just keep pushing.

Ruy & Mark Todd at the 1990 Stockholm WEG.

Ruy & Mark Todd at the 1990 Stockholm WEG.

10. Who has helped you the most in your riding career? 
Certainly my father and mother, as they rode top level in the past and they helped me a lot. But when I moved to UK to Lars and Diana Sederholm, former US Team trainer, it was a turning point in my career. Yogi Breisner was there as a teacher at the time so was a big change in my life, it was hard work ️but worth it. I did groom Wilton Fair for David O’Connor at one time, I worked as groom for Andrew Nicholson for good amount of time, so I learned a lot from my time grooming. Working with another kiwi, Andrew Scott, was great as well, at that time I was young rider. Now it’s a real privilege to have Sir Mark Todd as our Team Trainer, he is very down to earth to work with in team situations, but very competitive. He makes everyone to push hard and focus, to achieve success. His personal achievements say it all, plus he is a great guy and a friend .


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