Features of the staid staged photo op include a minimum of one unidentifiable human (often dressed circus garb), a wide shot of the branded sponsor jump (complete with all logos), and a horse that is either looking away from the camera, positioned awkwardly in front of said fence, and/or threatening to assault the notable in their immediate vicinity.
Enter Marcelo Ciavaglia’s Conto.
The 14-year-old Holsteiner stallion, Ciavaglia’s mount of ten years and counting, made his Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) debut in Florida this week and promptly won the first WEF Challenge Cup of the 2020 season.
Then stood like a model Breyer horse for the presentation photo: Stock still. Perfectly square. Ears alert. Tail gently blowing in the breeze.
He’s the Audrey Hepburn of horses. The model for all presentation photos to come. A work of equine art.
The Brazilian rider is hoping it’s the first of many golden moments in 2020. On American soil for the first time at the behest of Brazilian show jumping chef d’equipe Philippe Guerdat, Ciavaglia has his sights set on making the Olympic team for Tokyo.
“Philippe Guerdat asked me to come to Wellington for the Nations Cup in February,” said Ciavaglia. “I have one month and a half to put Conto in order for the Nations Cup. I think he’s fine!”
The camera agrees.
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