Rio Olympic dressage competitor Yvonne Losos de Muñiz is the first rider from the Dominican Republic to make it to the Games in any discipline.
“No one else has got close, but every time I got knocked down, I just bounced back,” says Yvonne, who actually quit the sport for a couple of years after losing an appeal over a place to ride at London 2012 with Carl Hester’s world and European team silver medallist Liebling II.
She returned to international competition in September 2014 after being asked to reconsider by the Dominican Republic Equestrian Federation.
“Thank god it’s a sport you can compete in forever,” says the 48-year-old. “I’ve come for the whole experience and to see what it’s about.”
Yvonne was her nation’s first equestrian to win a medal at the Pan Am Games when she claimed bronze on home soil at the 2003 Games at the Palmarejo Equestrian Center — a property built by her and her husband Eduardo Muñiz for the event — in Santo Domingo.
“The Olympics is a whole different world to the Pan Ams and I’m floored,” says Yvonne. “It’s like watching Avatar — all these beautiful bodies, except not blue.
“Being here has really sparked it — I want it 150 times more next time. You compete with top riders, a little here and a little there, but you put them all in one place — wow.
“I 100% want to be in Tokyo — in fact, that was a warm-up for Tokyo.”
‘I’m sort of from everywhere’
Yvonne is a mother of two and splits her time between Florida and Europe, but says she is “sort of from everywhere”. She was born in Nigeria and spent her childhood in Kenya before moving to Germany as a teenager to train at the state stud at Marbach.
Her family subsequently moved to Canada before she made the Dominican Republic her home after marrying Eduardo Muniz. She also holds a Canadian passport.
Yvonne scored 62.3% today in the grand prix riding the 10-year-old Foco Loco W.
She says: “He’s very green and spooky and I had to really keep him together, but he misunderstood keeping together and came back too much. I can’t get mad at him, I have to be happy he tries so hard. When he understands and get stronger, he’ll go better.”