Rodrigo Pessoa requires little introduction. He’s an Olympic show jumper, the son of Nelson Pessoa (a legendary trainer and rider in his own right), the husband to top amateur rider Alexa Pessoa, and father to three young girls.

The 2004 Olympic individual gold medalist and three-time World Cup Final champion—all won aboard Baloubet du Rouet—is based in Europe for the majority of the year but spends the winters training and competing in Florida.

We caught up with one of Brazil’s finest to ask him 20 questions:

At what exact moment did you fall in love with horses?

I was probably 10 years old.

For riding, do you prefer black boots or brown boots?

Black for the show and brown at home.

If you could do any other equestrian discipline what would it be and why?

I would not do another equestrian discipline.

What is the most embarrassing thing to have ever happened to you while riding?

Probably getting eliminated in the Olympic Final in Sydney 2000.

What is the most inspiring thing to have ever happened to you while riding?

Watching John Whitaker and Ian Millar ride.

What is your favorite #TwoHearts Moment of recent seasons?

Nick Skelton and Big Star [winning gold] in Rio.

What was the hardest lesson you have had to learn in your riding?

You never stop learning.

Who is your mentor and why?

Nelson Pessoa and Ludger Beerbaum.

If you could ride a horse from the past, who would it be?


If you could ride a horse right now, that is not your own, who would it be?

Fit for Fun.

How do horses keep you grounded in the industry?

Horses are very humbling.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?


When were you most happy on a horse?

Every time I ride.

If your top horse were a famous person, who would that be?

Baloubet would have been Muhammad Ali.

What is one piece of riding clothing or equipment you could never do without?

My Samshield helmet.

What is your helmet of choice and why?


Which mainstream clothing brand do you wish would come out with an equestrian line?

Nike or Lululemon.

What is your biggest splurge to date when it comes to your riding and your horses?

I once bought a 7-year-old horse for 2m Euros called Hermes… Needless to say, it didn’t work the way I planned.

What is the best piece of riding advice you have ever received and from whom?

If you are going to do it, do it right the first time.

What is your life motto?

“Never give up.”