Show jumping with Gonzalo Bedoya

Matisse: Good morning Gonzalo. I’ve observed that you are someone who is truly dedicated and invested in sports, specifically horse jumping. Would you mind if I asked some questions about this?

Gonzalo: Sure.

Matisse: Let’s start with horse jumping. When and how did you start practicing this unique and wonderful sport?

Gonzalo: I have practiced show jumping my entire life. I’ve been on top of a horse since I was two years old and I started training when I was five years old. My family has always been known for practicing horseback riding and they are the ones responsible for inspiring my love for horses.

Matisse: When did you realize you truly loved horse jumping?

Gonzalo: I realized I truly loved horse jumping during my first competition. It was a special moment for me, I was gathered around my family and they were all proud of my bravery for competing at such a young age.

Matisse: What feelings does horse jumping inspire in you?

Gonzalo: Dedication, love for my family and freedom when jumping. This sport really clears my mind and also organizes my ideas.

Matisse: When was a time you felt fear when jumping?

Gonzalo: I never felt fear. I have mostly felt nervous about failing because I am a perfectionist when it comes to this sport.

Matisse: Horse jumping involves high  risks. Have you ever experienced any painful or dreadful accidents when jumping?

Gonzalo: When I was in 6th grade, only 11 years old, I committed a huge error when jumping, so my horse tripped and I flew over the head of my horse. I hurt my knee terribly and I could not move my leg. Although this was a horrible accident, that day I realized that every good jumper has to learn how to fail and mainly to fall. This injury only inspired me to keep on going.

Matisse: Tell me about some of your accomplishments regarding this sport.

Gonzalo: My main accomplishments are winning the FEI World Jumping Championship in 2017, classifying in the final for the World Cup in Uzbekistan for the 1.30 meter class, being the first Bolivian to classify in the Youth Olympic Games, classifying for the Odesur being the youngest rider of South America in the competition to every qualify being 17 years old. But these are only titles, because my biggest and most real accomplishment is being able to connect with my horse Armagnac, few people can make a strong and true connection with their horses.

Matisse: Damn….the Youth Olympic Games! That must have been an amazing experience. Tell me all about it.

Gonzalo: If I could describe the Youth Olympic Games in one word, I would say craziness. The organization, the medical team, the infrastructure, the top level horses and show jumpers…everything was beautiful and fitted in a perfect little puzzle piece. It was life changing to be around and get a chance to share with people who in the future will be seen on the Olympic Games. Seeing how the stadium got filled, the crowd went crazy cheering, it really inspired me and provoked a sense of happiness that is irreplaceable. During the games, I was mainly in shock, because I used to watch these games on TV when I was a little kid, and I could not believe that I was actually there. I also felt extremely frustrated, because I was not able to win anything in these games, but the frustration and anger only keep me going and inspires me to do better.

Matisse: How did you feel when you realized you classified for such an important event?

Gonzalo: I was surprised and proud because classifying to this is extremely difficult. Any person who classifies to the Youth Olympics is actually the best of the best, and to say that I am one of them was truly an honor. Just the thought of being the first Bolivian show jumper in these games kept me going, I was inspired and had hungry to continue being one of the best Bolivian show jumpers.

Matisse: How do you compare yourself to the other competitors who attended these games?

Gonzalo: I never felt inferior or worse than any of the competitors, I felt that I had the same chance as any one of them. In this sport, details change everything. Even small milliseconds can separate you from the winner. I feel like it was not that I lacked experience or talent, but I lacked luck.

Matisse: Now tell me about your future plans. What does this year hold for you? What are your goals regarding show jumping this 2019?

Gonzalo: This year is my last year show jumping in Bolivia because I am now a senior. This year I will be staying in Bolivia as well as traveling around South America, specifically visiting Argentina and killing myself to be the best version of myself. One of my main goals this year is to win the Juvenile South American in Paraguay.

Matisse: What an amazing interview. The Cougar Press and I wish you the best of luck this 2019 and the years to come. Thank you, have a nice day.  

Matisse Lebl

My name is Matisse. I am a senior who loves horseback riding. I am from Bolivia. My favorite food is pizza. A word that would describe me would be CRAZYYY.

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