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G&C Farm Finds a Perfect Fit in Florida

By Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

When Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal decided to move their family from Venezuela to the United States and start their G&C Farm, they knew that they wanted to be based in Florida. They made the move to Wellington in 2009, and have found that they love living in the Sunshine State.

The Mirabals made the move to pursue their dreams in equestrian sport, but also wanted to provide a great experience for their growing daughters: Maria Emilia (13), Victoria (3), and Andrea (2).

G&C Farm sponsors show jumper Pablo Barrios, also of Venezuela. Their state-of-the-art full-service facility brings exceptional horses and top Venezuelan jumper riders to the highest levels of competition like the World Equestrian Games and Olympic Games. The stars of the G&C Farm are: G&C LaGran (top 30 at the World Equestrian Games), G&C Sinatra (made Barrios the only Venezuelan to ever win at the prestigious Spruce Meadows), G&C Quick Star 11 (multiple winner at WEF), G&C Blanchee Z, plus many up-and-coming young horses.

The Mirabals designed their farm with Venezuelan Olympic Course Designer and advisor Leopoldo Palacios, and began their year with six grand prix wins at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, and Mirabal was named as the Best Owner of the circuit. G&C Farm is a major sponsor at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington (Jan. 12-April 3, www.equestriansport.com).

Gustavo says, “One of my principal goals is to promote the sport in my country and in the continent. Being a sponsor at the Winter Equestrian Festival let me get the immediate exposure that I needed for my farm and to let the people know who we are. Next year we will be a major sponsor of the Winter Equestrian Festival, sponsoring the CSIO week. The most important thing is that I will sponsor new FEI competitions that will allow riders to get more points in the ROLEX FEI rankings. I don’t think that this continent has the equal opportunity for riders to get in the top of the rankings.”

The key to G&C Farm’s success is having a strong “escudería,” a term used by Formula One racing teams that explains what it means to have the best combination of support network and overall organization. For G&C Farm, this includes everything from the top horses to excellent riders, veterinarians, grooms, and working students.

This year, Barrios won in the U.S., Canada and Europe, took home three gold medals at the Central American and Caribbean Games, and finished in the top 30 riders at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY. They accomplished their most important goal by reaching the top 30 in the FEI ROLEX world rankings in November, and Barrios is now ranked 26th in the world.

It has been an incredible year for Barrios, who started out 10 months ago ranked in the 93rd position. Outside of Brazil, Barrios is currently the only Latin American in the top 100 ranked riders. He has made history for Venezuela as their top ranked rider ever. Barrios is the first rider in history from “Group V” (the FEI geographical area which includes Venezuela) to be ranked in the top 30 in the world.

“When we started jumping at WEF at the beginning of the year, I was in New York in a meeting. When I got out, I had many phone calls from Pablo,” Mirabal recalls. “When I talked to him, he said a horse dealer wanted to buy our best two horses and wanted a price. I remember perfectly the words that Pablo said, ‘My friend, this can go two ways. We can either go for the money, or we can go for history. If you ask me, I’m going for history.’ Immediately, I told him that I was on the same track as him. This year is the start of our journey, and what a magnificent start!”

Mirabal feels that G&C Farm’s accomplishments in 2010 were vital for Venezuela. “To hear the Venezuelan national anthem and see the flag raised is a great feeling. It is indicative that we are on the right track,” says Gustavo. “I have a particular goal: that G&C Farm competes in all continents and hopefully wins! I want to see the Venezuelan flag in the top. That is my dream.”