Riding in Rio with Luiza Almeida
For those of you who may think that equestrianism is for middle-aged men in tweeds, let us introduce you to Luiza. A 24 year old Brazillian woman with looks and talent in spades.
Part of a frankly obscenely good-looking family from Brazil, Luiza along with her sister and 2 brothers are taking the Dressage world by storm and have their eyes set on Rio.
Hi Luiza, How did it feel riding into the arena in 2008 as the youngest competitor?
It was very special for me, but both intimidating and exciting! We were very proud of Brazil managing to qualify an entire team for the first time ever, so just being part of that was a huge victory in itself.
Of course, when I arrived there it got intimidating. There were so many of my idols and so many amazing horses. I felt so young, but I remember feeling lucky to be able to gain that experience. I tried to watch every rider there.
That first Olympic games is very close to my heart. It was very special for me, my family, and for dressage in Brazil.
Who has had the biggest influence on your riding?
Definitely my parents. My mum was a jumper but now does dressage, and my dad breeds Lusitanos which is the breed I always ride. My whole family really. As you know, my younger brothers are trying to go to the Olympics too, so the whole family influences me. Mostly my parents though.
How did your older sister Thaisa take it when you managed to qualify for the Olympics and she didn’t in 2008?
It was a sad time for her, and for everyone in the family really. It can be hard to be happy for everyone, and she tried her best. But we know that that is how it goes. In this sport, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. We always support each other, and she was cheering for me when I rode at the Olympics. We always share our victories, even though it’s not always inside the arena.