For many 21 year-olds, the mere thought of representing your country at the World Equestrian Games is a dream...
...but for Paula Cardozo, this dream became a reality when she represented her home country of Columbia with the vaulting team at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. Not only is Cardozo a successful vaulter, she also spends time on the jump course and qualified for the FEI Jumping Challenge Final.
We had the chance to speak with Paula for a few moments about her future plans, her favorite horses, and the harmonic relationship that she's discovered between the different disciplines.
How old were you when you started riding?
I started riding when I was 5 years old, but my parents say that I was attracted to horses before I started speaking! They say they couldn’t get me off of carousels when they took me to theme parks, and that I asked my grandparents to take me to the stables of the country club instead of the playground.
I’m the first in my family to get into horses, so it was something new for my parents and I. They have always supported my love for horses, and they have learned to love them as much as I do.
You compete in both Jumping and Vaulting. Very different sports!
Although they are quite different, harmony with the horse is obviously one great part of both disciplines. You have to know the horse’s movements by heart.
You have to create a strong bond based on mutual respect that allows you to work as a team, where there is complete confidence between the horse and the rider.
What's your favorite?
When I vault I get to interact with other people, since I am very often practicing the squat (team) modality. It requires an artistic commitment where you need to connect with the music and the story you are communicating.
I like teamwork very much, specially because my teammates are also my best friends, and I know they will always back me up. They are my family, and when we get on a horse together we forget about the world around us and get to enjoy the moment. Although training can be physically demanding and may require more time, it is totally worth it!
On the other hand, jumping only depends on yourself and the horse, and no words are needed to make the horse know what you want. In addition, every course means a new experience where you get to know more about yourself and your horse.