Show Jumping

A Tale of Four Underdogs

@Kathy Russell Photography

Once upon a time, four young men from Mexico dreamed of riding horses for their country.

With stars in their eyes and visions of grandeur in their head, each worked tirelessly at the barn, training their horses and polishing their boots and studying the great horsemen who came before them.

“One day, I will ride like the legendary Eddie Macken,” said Fernando Martinez Sommer.

“One day, I will ride with Eddie Macken,” said Eugenio Garza Perez.

“And together we will win a Nations Cup!” replied Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado.

“No,” smiled Manuel Gonzalez Dufrane, “together we will win a five-star Nations Cup in America!”

And, like a single seed from a lowly dandelion, an idea was set free on the winds of fate, taking root in the minds of the young men. With each day that passed, that idea grew a little bigger. And soon it spread to others.

When Mexican chef d’equipe Stanny van Paesschen heard of the our young heroes and their big dreams, he watched with interest as they trained their horses and polished their boots and studied the great horsemen who came before them.

“These young men will be the future for this country,” he prophesied.

And so when the day arrived to choose the brave riders who would carry the Mexican flag to victory in the $290,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America, van Paesschen turned to the young men and asked them:

“Will you ride for your horses for your country and polish your boots and perform like the great horsemen who came before you?”

The four young men leapt at the chance.

“I would be honored,” said Martinez Sommer.

“I too,” said Garza Perez.

“Together we will win the Nations Cup in America!” said Zendejas Salgado.

“No,” corrected Gonzalez Dufrane, “together we will win the five star Nations Cup of America.”

So it was that four young men under the age of 30 were sent into battle against the Americans, the Canadians, the Israelis, the Colombians and the Irish on the great grass field of Deeridge Farm in Wellington, Florida.

Facing foes far beyond them in experience and years, our heros tackled each test set by course designer Alan Wade and one by one they posted more clear rounds than all of the other nations.

With each trip around the ring that day, their big dream grew closer within reach.

“Have fun!” counselled their chef. “Enjoy yourself!”

After two rounds of gruelling competition under the blazing Florida sun, just a single rail was counted on their team total and the big dream of four young men from Mexico became a reality when they won the Nations Cup of America.

“The five star Nations Cup!” smiled Gonzalez Dufrane.

The celebrations and singing that night were heard all the way back to Mexico, including the moment four young riders jumped into the pond at Deeridge Farms—still wearing their polished boots.

The end.