Quality FZ, the new Olympic hope of Rodrigo Pessoa?

Quality FZ with Spencer Smith
Credit : Sportfot

Tuesday 02 April - 15h00 | Amelie Ulmer (with Lucas Tracol)

Quality FZ, the new Olympic hope of Rodrigo Pessoa?

Philippe Guerdat, who recently took over as chef d'equipe of Brazil’s show jumping team, has reason to rejoice: Rodrigo Pessoa seems very motivated to get back on an Olympic podium. And this week, the company Artemis Equestrian bought Quality FZ, formerly owned by fellow Olympic champion Eric Lamaze, as a potential mount for the Brazilian rider at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Quality FZ,  a 10-year-old Italian sport horse, was born at the facilities of Franca Zanetti, an Italian breeder in Preganziol, between Venice and Treviso. When the young horse turned six, he was entrusted to high-level Dutchman Jur Vrieling. Top horse scout Uri Burstein followed Vrieling and Quality FZ for a while, and discussed the horse and his potential with the rider. The right opportunity presented itself in April last year, when Burstein promoted Quality FZ to Eric Lamaze with the help of Lexi Carter. Lamaze's Torrey Pines Stable Inc. and the company Gut Einhaus each purchased half of the mount in the spring of 2018.

Up to that point, the horse had participated in (at maximum) intermediate classes at CSI5* competitions. But with the star Canadian rider and his pupil Spencer Smith, the gelding progressed and competed in Grand Prix classes, with only four penalty points in the Grand Prix CSI4* in Valencia and CSI5* in Brussels last summer. And in mid-February, the son of Quintender with a mother by Berlin finished second in a CSI3* Grand Prix in Wellington, Florida. A few months later the horse was spotted by Rodrigo Pessoa.

While Lamaze had viewed the horse as a possible champion, he still agreed to sell it to Artemis Equestrian, which would like to see the 2004 Athens Olympic champion Pessoa return to major championships.

“To see the horse I bred with these three great Olympic medallists in the space of 12 months is an accomplishment breeders dream of,” said Franca Zanetti, wishing the new pair all the best. 

Indeed, for the Brazilian, this new addition to his string of mounts is a real boost to getting back to the elite level in the sport, which seems to be a goal for him. It nevertheless remains to be seen what Rodrigo Pessoa, whose contract as Ireland's chef d’equipe runs until the end of 2019, does next.

In any case, Pessoa's coaching counterpart in Brazil, Guerdat, has a vision in mind for the three-time World Cup Final winner when it comes to the Olympics, as Guerdat told GRANDPRIX after being named to his new role: "I have a dream in the back of my mind: to offer Rodrigo Pessoa a last selection for the Brazilian team at the Olympics, an opportunity which was a little bit taken away from him in Rio. It's still far away, but it would be great."

In the same vein, Pedro Veniss also told GRANDPRIX he hopes to see his friend and teammate ride for the green, yellow and blue flag in Japan: "I had the chance to compete several times in championships with Rodrigo, whether at the Olympic Games or at the World Equestrian Games. It's obvious that with him Brazil is much stronger and we need his experience!"

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