Eugenio Garza Perez has moved quickly up the ranks since he came to the United States to train six years ago. One reason for that is the 20-year-old rider’s longtime horse, Bariano, with whom he won gold at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in 2013. Since that time, Eugenio and Bariano have become solid contenders on the grand prix field as well, winning the $130,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI3* at Kentucky Spring 2016 in May and the $216,000 Upperville Jumper Classic CSI4* in June.

Currently, Eugenio is based at his new barn in Wellington, where he works with trainer Eddie Macken. And while Bariano, now 16, will likely be stepping back from the big classes this year, Eugenio is excited about his six-horse string, which includes two up-and-coming nine-year-olds, Armani SL Z and Victer Finn, who are ready to step up and fill Bariano’s shoes.

Here, Eugenio takes our 20-Questions quiz, sharing Eddie Macken’s words of wisdom and one particular horse show moment he isn’t likely to forget.

img_0841At what exact moment did you fall in love with horses?

I’ve been around horses my whole life—horses have been in our family for the past couple of generations, so I grew up around them. However, I’d have to say that I fell in love with horses and the sport when I moved to the States about six years ago.

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

Always black.

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

I’d find it hard to choose one, but I have always found reining to be very interesting. It looks like a lot of fun.

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

A few years ago, back in Mexico, I was trying a horse and the owners were kind enough to let me show it in the ring once. All was going well until the first double on course when the horse suddenly stopped, which made me flip over the neck and somehow land with the front rail of the oxer between my legs.

I was really hoping there would’ve been safety cups on the front rail… Anyway, the oxer was tall enough to where my feet couldn’t touch the ground, so I balanced there for a few seconds until I fell over in pain.

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

Being able to produce good results for all of the people who make up our team has been the most inspiring and rewarding part of the sport.

What is your favorite #TwoHearts Moment of your season? 

Definitely seeing Nick Skelton and Big Star win the gold in Rio.

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

To learn from my mistakes and not dwell on the bad days in this sport. It is much easier said than done, but we are slowly getting better at it.

Who is your mentor and why?

It would have to be Eddie Macken. Not only is he an amazing trainer, but a great friend outside the show. It’s a privilege to be able to train with him. Carlos Myrrha and my parents are also great mentors to me.

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

I would have loved to ride Presley Boy.

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

Either Casall ASK or All In

How do horses keep you grounded in the industry?

Everyday. This sport is a very humbling sport. They keep you in check all the time.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure? 

Vanilla ice cream.

 When were you most happy on a horse?

After the 2016 Upperville Grand Prix. It was a very unexpected win for us. Everything seemed to go our way that day.

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

Bariano would be Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

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

Equiline riding pants.

What is your helmet of choice and why?

GPA Speed Air. I haven’t worn anything different for years.

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

Under Armour.

What is your biggest splurge to date when it comes to your riding and/or horse(s)?

It probably was not too long ago when we purchased a bunch of supplements and pastes for the horses.

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

Eddie Macken told me to make sure to really appreciate the good days in this sport as they are few and far between.

What is your life motto?

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca

Twenty Questions With American Show Jumper Schuyler Riley [NF Style]

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