Rubén Machado, A life riding
Unicorns, seahorses in Chilote mythology, Pegasus with feathered wings like birds or leather resembling those of bats, among others, have been the fantastic shapes of the horse.
The actual shapes are associated to their services and also to the art in which the practice of riding has become. Throughout history we have known or not about invented reputation by any concept: famous horses for their demonstrations, others mythical, renowned in literature or fi lm, winners in races or equestrian sports, all in all it has been useful for bringing details on different aspects of the life of societies to light.
The relationship established between the horse and the jockey has been recreated in literary works, but there is a sentimental part and commitment in the background. We are not far from the quixotic vision: Rocinante appeared before Don Quixote as a better mount than famous Babieca horse of Cid and Bucephalus of Alexander the Great.
Ruben Machado has been one of those riders that has mixed the fantasy of mythological animal with the strength of the beast accepting to be domesticated and live in ranches. He was born in Uruguay and raised in the countryside surrounded by animals, he learned to ride a horse before he even walk that’s why horse riding has been the cornerstone of his life.
¿Did your passion for horses start this way?
I don’t know if passion began this way or the passion was already inside me, but I spent all day on a horse since I was a little boy.
Does that passion run in the family?
Yes of course, my whole family was country people. My father was a horse trainer and he taught me first the trade of countryside and the ability to maintain communication with the horse. In a second stage I started riding.
At what moment riding becomes a profession?
I started very young, with the school and lessons. After some changes in my life I had to survive on my own and what I really liked was riding, I spent the whole day riding and that has been happened for the following 50 years and still. I stuck to this profession.
Do you need to have a flair, a special gift or a liking would be enough?
Liking horse riding it is not enough, you must have some particular abilities and also a fundamental condition which is perseverance
What skills you should have?
The main thing is to read the horse in order to understand him, you have to live the feelings of the horse. You have to know how to interpret the way he acts, what he expresses when he looks at you. The horse is a very noble animal, he never has an offensive attitude towards a person due to evil intention, it is always a response to our provocation because we don’t understand him.
Does each horse have his own peculiarities?
I have a passion for all animals, I have dogs, cats, and each of them is a being who thinks differently, we must understand them.
What has the horse given to you?
All I am, but perhaps the most important thing is that he has taught me to be humble, we can not be arrogant with horses.
How can we relate a horse with a man?
In his ability to be always ready to collaborate. The horse is not resentful, but he has a really good memory, he never forgets that’s why we must be very careful with the treatment as well as procedures.
If you had not engaged in this field, what profession would you feel attracted by?
My other passion which I had to leave a little relegated is music. I come from a family of musicians and that small experience with music allowed me to develop what I am today, it was my means of support.
Horses must be respected and they’ll never have an aggressive response. How long does it take to meet a horse?
That depends on each. Teaching a horse is based on repetition, you must be persistent and repeat the order on and on and speak strictly what is necessary. Once the animal records the signals sent, it won’t ever forget them. That is the reason why a horse should not be “punished” but corrected. You have to earn his trust and above all he should not be afraid of you in order to avoid the awakening of his protective instinct. Once fear is overcome he is the noblest animal.
How long does it take to prepare a horse race?
It depends on many factors but any horse requires at least 10 years of training to reach the Olympics.
Do you have any dream to be achieved?
If there is still something left to do is the many things I have to learn, the person who knows the most is the one who knows nothing yet.
If you had the chance to go back in time, would you change anything?
I wouldn’t change anything, perhaps I would rectify the mistakes I’ve made inadvertently. The part I like most is the training of the horse.
When did you decide to come to DR?
I lived many years in Costa Rica and I fi nally moved to live here ten years ago. For a long time I came regularly with my students to compete, so I already felt a very important bond.
What do you miss about your country?
I miss my family, my children ... my homeland. But I feel very comfortable here.
According to Dominican personality, what would you highlight?
The Dominican is extremely hospitable. Foreigners live here quietly without anyone bothering us. Professionally, Punta Cana has been a reward for many years of work. Here I enjoy life, my profession, a wonderful climate, the support of those people who come to ride and a world of high competitions.
All your life dedicated to horses and surrounded by the best...
I was very fortunate to receive help from great teachers, although some has been better known than others.
Tags: Foreigners in RD