Countdown to Paris 2018: the incomparable Rodrigo Pessoa and Baloubet du Rouet

Rodrigo Pessoa and Baloubet du Rouet, fifth in Las Vegas in 2005
Credit : Scoopdyga

Tuesday 20 February - 16h25 | Lucas Tracol

Countdown to Paris 2018: the incomparable Rodrigo Pessoa and Baloubet du Rouet

From April 11-15, the AccorHotels Arena in Paris will host several days of world-class equestrian sport during the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final and FEI World Cup Dressage Final. Dozens of the best Show Jumpers in the world will be in the French capital with the goal of lifting the World Cup trophy, as the United States’ McLain Ward did last spring after winning in Omaha, Nebraska with HH Azur. In recent weeks, has been looking back at some of the horses and riders who have marked the history of the World Cup Final. Today, 3-time winners (and Olympic Champions) Rodrigo Pessoa and Baloubet du Rouet. 

 - Countdown to Paris 2018: the incomparable Rodrigo Pessoa and Baloubet du Rouet

Pessoa and Baloubet at the 2005 World Cup Final in Las Vegas
Credit : Scoopdyga

Although Nelson Pessoa, the father of Rodrigo, had regularly been in the thick of the action between Europe and the Americas over the years, it is incontestably his son Rodrigo who led Brazil to the loftiest heights at the World Cup Final. Indeed, Rodrigo Pessoa made it onto the podium at the Final six times between 1998 and 2003, including three times on the highest step. And it was thanks to Baloubet du Rouet, the first horse to prevail three times at this prestigious global rendezvous, (1998, 1999 and 2000) that the young Brazilian repeatedly captured the coveted trophy. In all, the Selle Français, who passed away last year, participated in eight World Cup Finals – a record.  

At the 1998 Final in Helsinki, a 26-year-old Pessoa competed with his nine-year-old chestnut, and the success was immediate, with the pair overcoming Lars Nieberg and Esprit FRH, John Whitaker and Grannusch, and Ludger Beerbaum and Priamos. The following year, the combination pulled off its second World Cup Final victory, beating Trevor Coyle and Cruising, as well as René Tebbel and Radiator. And at the competition's inagural appearance in Las Vegas, the two partners came out on top of two Swiss rivals, Markus Fuchs on Tinka’s Boy and Beat Mändli on Pozitano. In doing so, the rider who is now Chef d’Équipe of Ireland wrote his name in the history books, alongside that of his golden stallion. The first pair to win three Finals.


The World Cup history of Rodrigo Pessoa and Baloubet du Rouet did not end there, however, as the pair subsequently finished second in 2001, behind Markus Fuchs and Tinka’s Boy. And the following year, the two finished the competition in Leipzig in third place behind Otto Becker on Cento and Ludger Beerbaum on Graddys S. Several other top results would follow.

After Baloubet, Rodrigo Pessoa took part in three Longines FEI World Cup Finals. In 2007, the rider returned to Las Vegas with Oasis, before finishing fifth two years later thanks to Rufus, in Geneva. 2010 was the year of Rodrigo Pessoa’s last World Cup Final, riding HH Let’s Fly. While he still competes, the incredibly talented Brazilian now leads the Irish national Show Jumping team, with whom he won the 2017 Longines FEI European Championships in Sweden. For his part, Baloubet du Rouet passed away last year at the age of 28, after a long retirement. The stallion by Galoubet A left behind him an incredible record of sporting achievements and an illustrious line, which has already proven itself. 

Tickets for the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final are available here. Video below. 

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