Sometimes life is just not fair. I am not talking about having to wear masks, or being in lockdown or any of those minor inconveniences. I am talking about a life changing moment when one second you are a healthy able bodied young person with the brightest of futures and the next second you are on the ground unconscious and your life, as you knew it, is disappearing.
On Tuesday, May 5, 2020, I read about what had happened to Juan Matute Guimon. If you don’t know him let me introduce you. He is a 22 year old dressage rider from Spain. Two years ago I met him at the Winter Equestrian Festival opening press conference. My husband and I were walking along toward the conference and he came walking beside us. We had our mini-Schnauzer with us, as my husband was going to walk her while I was in the conference. Juan chatted with us as his family has mini-Schnauzers as well. In the conference he took his place alongside the other riders . He is the tall one on the far right in this photo.
When he spoke about his plans for the winter competition season he was charming and unassuming. No hint of ego despite his good looks.
I had been watching this young man at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival for several years. His talent and elegance as a rider were clear to see. I also had a chance to see him ride representing Spain at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon N.C 2018
In 2019 he relocated to Spain to attend university and continue his riding and competition in Europe. This past winter season he was in competing in Florida and qualified for the World Cup in Las Vegas. The World Cup and all other equestrian competitions in the US were subsequently cancelled due to Covid-19. There is no doubt in my mind that he would have been representing Spain in the Tokyo Olympics had they taken place. Juan returned to Spain and was training with his father who is a Spanish Olympian in dressage.
Then last Tuesday he felt unwell after riding and collapsed, unconscious, on the ground. He had not fallen from a horse or sustained any external injury to his head. He was transported by helicopter to hospital in Madrid. His brain was bleeding. Badly. Wednesday he had CT scans to determine what was happening. He was in a coma. Three hours of brain surgery, still classified as “critical”, but he came through. Today he was scheduled for a second surgery. His condition is still considered critical.
Why do terrible tragedies happen to good people?
I am not religious but I do believe in the power of focused positive thoughts or prayers. So, if you can, please send some to this young man. Juan Matute Guimon needs your help now.