All about Pessoa...

Nelson Pessoa

Nelson Pessoa aka “Neco” started his professional career as a show jumper in the early 60s. During those days, equestrianism in Brazil was a sport very little practiced by civilians. The military population had the majority of practitioners and the great names of that sport were officers of the Brazilian Armed Forces.

As a junior he took part in the Rio de Janeiro International. Three years later he joined the Brazilian team in his first performance abroad, in the Buenos Aires, Argentina International. During this tour, "Neco” had his first international victory, in Mar del Plata. In 1956 he participated in the Olympic Games of Stockholm. In 1961 he had the opportunity to move to Europe as a professional.

Nelson Pessoa started to become a legend and opened the way for a great number of Brazilian riders who followed his steps in search of improvement in Europe, the core of equestrianism. His accurate techniques drew everyone's attention, and he started being known as ' The Wizard', due to his bewitching riding.

In 1967, during the Pan-American Games in Winnipeg, Canada he amazes the favorites and earns the gold medal with a team formed by Nelson Pessoa, Antônio Alegria Simões, José Roberto Reynoso Fernandes and Colonel Renyldo Ferreira. Neco conquers the silver individual medal.

Nowadays one can say that Nelson Pessoa is to horse riding, as Pele is to football. Besides being an expert on tracks, he also has a great knowledge of horse psychology, as well as a studious knowledge of the genealogical line of sport horses.

He also stands out as a coach, experienced in guiding several teams in Europe, in the Middle East and in Brazil, helping conquering the bronze medal in Atlanta, the first Olympic medal of Brazilian equestrian sport. Neco’s greatest achievement as a coach is the brilliant career of his son, Rodrigo Pessoa, World Champion in 1998.


  • Two gold medal and one silver medal in the Pan-American Games
  • 5th place in Tokyo Olympic Games
  • Seven times Champion (record in victories) of Hamburg Derby
  • Three times Champion of Hickstead Derby
  • European Champion
  • Winner of 150 Grand Prix’s in Europe
  • Winner of over 100 puissance classes
  • Four times Brazilian Champion

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