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Interagro Lusitanos of Brazil, the largest Lusitano export and breeding operation in the world, is pleased to announce that their head trainer, Pia Aragão, will be competing at the Florida winter dressage shows.
Aragão will compete horses from Interagro Lusitanos, including several horses that will be taking part in the 2011 Lusitano CollectionTM International Horse Auction in Wellington on February 23 – 26. Aragão and her horses will be arriving in Florida in late January.
“I will compete Vade Mecum Interagro in the FEI Small Tour, Zepelim in fourth level and some of the horses that will be featured in the Lusitano auction will compete at training level,” Aragão said.
Aragão is a highly decorated international competitor who has been the Brazilian Dressage Champion eight years in a row, beginning in 2002. Aragão trains with Swedish trainer Stefan Jansson, who will also be in Wellington during the winter circuit. “I also work with Heather Bender, Interagro’s US dressage trainer, and together we are looking at which shows I will compete in,” Aragão said.
Aragão brings a lifetime of learning and competing to her position as head trainer at Interagro in Brazil. Born in Sweden, Aragão spanned the globe to hone her skills as a top trainer, competitor and horsewoman. Aragão was born with a love of horses and began riding at an early age, becoming a pony club regular in her hometown of Gavle, working in exchange for riding lessons and helping out on volunteer projects from age seven.
As a young adult, Aragão moved to Koln, Germany, where she worked for rider Axel Wockener, who was ranked among Germany’s best riders. “During my time with Axel, I worked with many of the family’s horses, and had the opportunity to attend some of the best jumping competitions in Europe,” she said.
In 1985, Aragão began working for Norman Dello Joio in the United States. When she returned to Europe she became an apprentice for François Mathy, one of Europe's most respected horsemen. During her tenure with Mathy, Aragão was asked to accompany several horses that were competing in Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and São Paulo. In Rio, rider Paulo Stewart recognized Aragão’s skill and hired her to work with him as he prepared to qualify for the 1987 Pan-American Games in Indianapolis and the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
Aragão spent nearly two decades with the Stewart family, at their Boa Fé Ranch, before joining Interagro. Along with training horses, Aragão has also trained many successful riders such as Martina Muller, who was the 2001 South American Champion Young Rider, and veteran rider Maria Lucia de Andrade, who has achieved both individual and team championships.
As Interagro’s head trainer in Brazil, Aragão is responsible for bringing along the young horses in their dressage education, and competing them at select events throughout the year. “I’ve learned from the technical expertise and assistance of other professional riders in my career, and have been fortunate to ride some top internationally-experienced horses,” Aragão said. “Having the support of Interagro, combined with riding and training the talented and willing Lusitanos on the farm, has helped me to achieve many of the goals I set forth when I joined them in 2004. I’m looking forward to many more years with Interagro, and successes with the horses, in the future.”
Aragão’s competition schedule will begin with the Wellington Classic Spring Challenge in February. “All of the Wellington Classic Dressage shows take place at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center, the same facility where the Lusitano auction will take place,” Aragão said. “I thoroughly enjoy being in Florida during the winter show circuit. The competition is world class and of course being part of the Lusitano Auction is something I would never want to miss out on.”
In addition to competing at the Wellington Classic Dressage Shows, Aragão also plans to ride in the Palm Beach Dressage Derby in Loxahatchee in March. “I am also excited to see the other Lusitanos that will be competing at the Florida winter dressage shows. The Lusitano CollectionTM, which hosts The Lusitano CollectionTM International Horse Auction, is sponsoring the High Point Lusitano Award that will be awarded to the highest scoring Lusitano at select dressage shows and I look forward to meeting the winner’s of this prestigious award,” Aragão said.
Aragão added that the highlight of her year is the Lusitano auction and the chance to talk to prospective buyers. “I love speaking to the buyers at the auction and telling them, in detail, about each horse being offered for sale,” Aragão said. “The horses in the auction are well suited for modern FEI-level equestrian sports, especially dressage, jumping and driving. The auction is truly a memorable experience and I look forward to it each year.”
The Lusitano CollectionTM International Horse Auction will take place in the United States, for the fourth consecutive year, at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida on February 23-26, 2011. The auction, which features horses from the world’s top Lusitano breeders, gives interested buyers the unique opportunity to purchase Brazilian horses without the hassle of import fees or quarantine periods.
For more information about Lusitano Horses or The Lusitano CollectionTM International Horse Auction scheduled for February 23-26, 2011 in Wellington, FL, visit www.lusitanocollection.com.