Just three years ago, “Collin” was destined for slaughter — a tearaway seven-year-old who had been assigned to the scrapheap. But a chance phone call changed the gelding’s fate and this week Collin beat some of the best in the world to win a big-money showjumping class in Wellington, Florida, with Brazilian rider Luiz Francisco de Azevedo.

“Two and a half years ago nobody wanted this horse,” said Luiz. “He was really wild and really difficult to ride. Then a friend of mine called me and said he found a horse that I might be able to jump. He was seven years old, but he had never done a show in his life. My friend told me the horse was a little bit different, but I said, ‘Okay, let’s see what he can do.'”

Luiz acquired a half-share in the KWPN son of Colandro and the pair took part in their first competition two weeks later.

“He jumped the first day 1.30m clear, the second day 1.35m clear, and the third day 1.40m clear in the first show of his life,” said Luiz. “Now he is my second horse, and I am really lucky to have him.

“It is so unbelievable. We bought him for nothing. We tell that story, and people do not believe it.

“I just gave him a chance to arrive,” he added. “The quality is in the horse.”

On Wednesday (15 February) the pair won the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m speed class at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida.

“I was 12th to go, and I knew that the course was good for me,” said Luiz. “My horse has a really big stride, and he is always going. Sometimes I lose a little bit of time in the turns, but then I can always do one less stride in the lines easily.

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“I enjoy that quality that he has, and we had a good opportunity to win this class.”

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