Rodrigo (born 29 November 1972 in Paris, France) is a Brazilian equestrian show jumper. An Olympic gold-medalist in individual jumping, he is an accomplished rider backed by over 70 Grand Prix wins. He has represented Brazil at six Olympic Games, six World Equestrian Games, four Pan American Games and fourteen World Cup Finals.
Rodrigo first competed in 1981 at Hickstead. In 1984 he claimed his first title as champion of the Hickstead pony large pony championship and again in 1985. Quickly working his way through the ranks of the junior division and on to the seniors in 1988.
In 1990 he won his first Grand Prix in Nice, France and represented Brazil in the Nation’s Cup of Rome. Later that season he earned a spot on the WEG team for Brazil after placing third in the Grand Prix of Aachen at the age of 17.
He continued his triumphant career by competing and winning many Grands Prix. In 1992 he rode Special Envoy in the Olympic Games in Barcelona for Brazil, making him one of the youngest riders to compete in the Olympics at the age of 19. In 1996 he again rode in the Olympics in Atlanta and helped Brazil win the bronze medal with Loro Piana Tom Boy.
In October of 1998 aboard Gandini Lianos, Rodrigo became the youngest ever World Champion at FEI World Equestrian Games in Rome.
Pessoa took his career further by winning the World Cup Final on Baloubet du Rouet three consecutive years in 1998, 1999, and 2000. He finished as the reserve champion the fourth year. In his fifth and final World Cup, Rodrigo and Baloubet du Rouet finished in third place. In 2000 at the Olympic Games in Sydney, he again won the bronze team medal. In the 2004 Olympics in Athens he won the individual gold medal.
In 2007, Pessoa won the individual silver and team gold medals at the Pan American Games, held in his home town of Rio De Janeiro aboard HH Rufus.
In 2010 he finished fourth individually and fourth with his team of Brazil at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington KY. In 2011 he once again took to the podium at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara Mexico with Team Brazil to collect a Team Silver Medal on HH Ashley
He was also chosen to be Brazil's flag bearer at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. For over 20 years, Rodrigo has proudly held a central leadership role in the Brazil international showjumping efforts. In 2017 he decided to take on a new challenge of officially coaching the Irish championship team. This new endeavor has produced a team gold medal from the European Championships in Gothenburg and several 5* Nation’s Cup victories.
In that same year, Rodrigo and Alexa decided to relocate their family to the United States. They are currently operating a training stable out of Connecticut where they live with their daughters.
Alexa Weeks Pessoa grew up in Southport, Connecticut. She attended Greens Farms Academy, Foxcroft School and then Rollins College. Growing up playing a variety of sports riding was always a top priority. Ponies were at the forefront of her childhood, riding with her sisters at the Fairfield County Hunt Club under the supervision of the great Emerson Burr. Later moving up into the junior ranks with the help of Timmy Kees, Leslie Burr Howard and then Kent Farrington.
A crucial turning point for the Weeks Family and for Alexa was the relationship with a mare named Madison. Madison originally came into the barn as a horse for Whitney and was quickly passed to Alexa and then on to Kent. Madison went on to be a wonderful competitor in the ring winning the AGA Horse of the Year title with Kent and effectively launching his senior career. After her tremendous success with Kent, Alexa took back the ride on Madison and tipped her toe in the Grand Prix classes for the first time. Madison went on to win at a Grand Prix level with Alexa and proved to be a pivotal horse for her as she had been for Kent.
Through her travels on the circuit, Alexa met her now husband Rodrigo. Together they have continued to compete internationally while raising their daughters. Alexa has written for Equestrian publications such as Horse & Style and Noelle Floyd and is now taking a more active role in their business Amethyst Equestrian.
Lisa is from County Cork in Ireland and grew up surrounded by horses as they were always in the family. She began competing ponies at a young age and later combined competing up to Grand Prix level whilst studying Law at University College Cork. After graduating in 2014 she decided to pursue her passion for horses full time and has worked for some of Ireland’s top rider including Rio Olympian Greg Broderick and the US based Andrew Bourns.
Kristen grew up in New York and began riding at the local Pony Club barn at age 7. She continued to ride and show through her school years, eventually graduating college with a degree in Art History. While in University, she took a full time position with a Grand Prix dressage rider while competing her own horse in the jumper ring. After five successful years as a dressage groom, she moved onto grooming show jumpers and never looked back since.
Since that point, Kristen has gone on to work for international riders such as Kevin Babington, Andrew Bourns, Aidan Killeen, Daniel Bluman, and most recently as a part of the team at Maarten Huygens Sales.
Michel Feitosa began his riding career when he was 13 years old in Santos, São Paulo, Brazil due to his love of horses. Though his family didn’t have the means to support his passion financially, he earned his opportunities in the saddle by grooming and caring for the horses, doing work around the barn, etc. After five years at MCA Horse Club, he received an offer to work as a rider for Hípica Terras de São José II in Itu, São Paulo; a program renowned for producing star athletes and horses.
With a particular affinity for young horses, Michel competed at top shows in Brazil including the Brazilian Young Horse Championships and the Copa São Paulo with great results. Eager to continue his advancement, Michel left Brazil to begin working at Amethyst Equestrian. Michel’s first season in Wellington with the team was highlighted by the marked improvement of six year old Normandy (Vancouver d’Auvrey x Piola).
After a successful summer season abroad in Europe, Michel returned home with the team and most recently had terrific clear rounds with Hillside Farm’s Farrero at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. He is looking forward to the 2020 season in Wellington.
Francisco grew up in Guatemala City where he was given the opportunity to ride horses from a young age due to his father’s work at a nearby farm. Though a capable rider, Francisco realized his love for horses was better channeled into their care. He began working in the stables in the mornings, attending school in the afternoon. When he graduated high school, Francisco was determined to pursue his passion as a full time career.
He left Guatemala for the United States where he began working for Cristina Heurtematte. Through his effort and dedication, Francisco has had the opportunity to work for Guatemalan Olympian Juan Andres Rodriguez, Chilean Olympian Samuel Parot, Irish Olympian Cian O’Connor, as well as young American talent Lillie Keenan. Always inquisitive, Francisco has garnered a wealth of experience in both the United States and Abroad in Europe. Now, Francisco brings his knowledge and scrupulousness to the team at Amethyst Equestrian.