|Argentinian Eventer Jose Ortelli | Road To WEG 2010|
Inspired by Monty’s blogs about foreign riders and trainers, and the cross-fertilisation between countries, and then of course, as it so often is, I happened to be in the right place at the right time, chatting oddly enough with my son’s teacher, although, personally that’s a rare occurence (being in the right time…) Nonetheless, yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Jose Ortelli Jr.
At just 26 years old, Jose already has a wealth of 3* and some 4* experience under his belt; he has completed Rolex these last two years on his WEG horse, JOS Aladar, and has been quietly earning respect in his own right as an accomplished, hard-working and well-liked rider on the US circuit.
Due to visa issues he essentially commutes between the States and Argentina; this trip he has been staying here in Lexington for the last 3 months in the guest house of the galloping vet, Dr Chris Newton (see 2010 radioshow episode 83), working on nutrition and fitness with the official WEG vet, improving his dressage with local Grand Prix rider Reese Koeffler-Stanfield, acclimatising his horse to the weather, footing and surroundings, and basically keeping his head down and working hard.
Manuel, his groom, only arrived a couple of days ago. Until then, Jose looked after his three horses solo. They include of course, JOS Aladar, the WEG horse, JOS Aquiles, a lovely black 10 year old aimed at the Pan Am Games next year, and JOS Fermin, an equally nice stamp of a grey horse, (Monty!), just 5 years old. All three of the grey horse’s brothers were sold in the US a couple of years ago as young horses and are now going advanced. Jose breeds, breaks and sells all the JOS horses from Argentina, you can find out more at www.josahorses.com.
Although he seems pretty settled on his own, this will all change soon as his family fly in to rally around him for the World Equestrian Games. Jose’s Dad was also an experienced eventer, although Jose started off in show-jumping, which he said gave him a good eye for a stride, and he’s grateful it taught him how to be careful, for as he pointed out, as this level, you don’t really want to be hitting the cross country fences too hard or often!
After a good run at Richland Advanced last weekend, putting in a respectable dressage, jumping a double clear cross country and just having the last fence down in the show-jumping, Jose will now keep JOS Aladar fresh and hungry for WEG. Although Argentina is sending a vaulting, endurance and show-jumping team, Jose will be the sole eventer.
If you noticed the support on his left wrist (see video below), he’s cut the tendons on both of them, and should really have surgery to avoid arthritis, but doesn’t know when he can take 3 months off. Underneath the laid back, South American bonhomie is a dedicated and ambitious young man with a plan. So having sorted out the horse and rider fitness and preparations, it’s down to the really important, biting questions.
It was a gorgeous day in Kentucky yesterday, and as we sat on the fence and chatted it didn’t occur to me that the wind might play havoc with the video/audio quality – duh, and I wish I could bring you more Jose on tape, but you can take my word for it, he was completely charming. He’ll be determind to put a silly technical 20 penalties on the cross country at Rolex this spring well behind him, and show the world how good the JOS horses are, and how competitive he can be, but he’ll also be sure to appreciate the enormity of the occasion and make sure to thoroughly enjoy it as well. Thank you, Jose, and Monty, and Thank you for reading.
(I promise that if I am allowed to the dress rehearsal dressage test, I will not sit precariously on the fence in the wind, and I will make sure and do a professional job of the videoing, and try and do the same with the interviewing!)