You may remember Diego Farje from an article we ran last month. This “highway rider” grew up in Peru, where eventing was essentially non-existent, and after a prodigious showjumping career, he switched to the nation’s eventing team as the only civilian member (the rest of the team were in the army). In order to train, he would ride his horse down the median of the highway, jumping the brush and dodging telephone poles along the way. His hard work paid off – he finished 11th at the Pan American Games in 2019.
Diego’s background has made him an underdog. Coming from a country where he had to create his own opportunities to event, he came to the United States at a point in his career when he thought his eventing days were over after an unfortunate fall left him with a broken collarbone.
Then, in 2021, he had the opportunity to work as head rider for Boyd Martin. He jumped at the chance and is now fully entrenched in the Windurra lifestyle, complete with ice baths. Diego is the epitome of someone who has worked hard to chase down a dream. He is building his career from the bottom up and has big goals for the future.
Recently, a new underdog has joined Diego’s team, thanks to his sponsor, Equestly: EQ Scorpio. Just like Diego, Scorpio comes from a country that isn’t typically thought of as an eventing powerhouse: Argentina. Diego, along with Equestly CEO Sam Potter and COO Carlos Hernández, chose to source Scorpio from Argentina for just that reason. “We had this idea to source Scorpio from a market that was untapped,” said Diego. “Argentina for eventing is untapped, so it’s nice to open a new market. You know, Solaguayre California, Tamie’s mare, is from Argentina. She’s been doing four-star and has been very successful.”
With the addition of Scorpio, Diego has finally achieved something that he has dreamed about since he was a child riding with his family in Peru: a horse of his very own. Equestly purchased Scorpio for Diego. “One of my dreams was always to be able to develop my own horse,” Diego said. “Sam and Carlos from Equestly just said, ‘Okay, let’s find you a horse.’ I was completely surprised that they wanted to support me in that way. I don’t know of many brands who would invest in a rider like that.”
Scorpio is a 3 year old Argentinian sporthorse, registered with the Asociacion Argentina de Fomento Equino (AAFE). Carlos, Sam, and Diego bought him with help from agent Juanita Caminal, who was working developing jumpers for Gustavo Surgen’s program at the San Patricio Equestrian Center. Scorpio’s grandsire is the renowned Stolzenberg, the 2019 Hanoverian stallion of the year. Equestly and Diego chose Scorpio’s strong show jumping bloodlines carefully. “Most successful horses in equestrian sports come from really good show jumping bloodlines,” Diego said. “It’s important they have enough scope and are careful enough not to have a rail on the last day of an event.”
True to his bloodlines, Scorpio has jumping talent to spare. “He’s an incredible jumper,” Diego said. “I try to jump crossrails, but he always jumps the standards.”
Diego and Scorpio have a lot in common. They both come from a show jumping background and both come from Spanish-speaking countries that are still up-and-coming on the eventing scene. According to Diego, “No one would ever think a Peruvian is gonna come all the way here and leave everything to start a dream. And Scorpio is from an untapped market, too. I want to be able to start from the beginning with him, from nothing, and produce him to the highest level of the sport.”
Their similarities have allowed the pair to bond quickly. “It’s funny, sometimes I talk to him in Spanish because I know he probably understands Spanish better than English,” Diego said. “We developed a bond, a really good connection, pretty fast. I feel he sees me and he feels me, and he’s started trusting me a lot.”
It’s a good thing that Scorpio has seen a kindred spirit in Diego so quickly. Back in Argentina, Juanita and Gustavo of San Patricio Equestrian Center were very straightforward and honest with Diego when they told him that Scorpio was sensitive. Like, really, really sensitive. “At the beginning, they told me they couldn’t let him out of the stall because he wouldn’t let them catch him,” Diego said. “But then they said that when he trusts you, he will jump a wall for you, you know?”
Equestly COO Carlos is also thrilled about how close Diego and Scorpio are already. “It’s astounding to see how quickly they’ve developed a bond,” said Carlos. “I think it’s just Diego’s nature. He’s very patient and understanding, just wanting to get to know Scorpio, instead of trying to make a square peg fit a round hole.”
Scorpio made quite the entrance to the United States. Diego said that while he felt like he was dreaming when the horse landed at the airport all the way from Argentina, he was actually feeling a small amount of apprehension when he finally met Scorpio face-to-face. “He was a little bit overwhelmed for sure,” said Diego. “He’s so, so sensitive. He was huffing and puffing and I was like, ‘Whoa, am I gonna be able to ride him?’”
Despite his initial apprehension, Diego quickly fell in love with his fiery personality. “He has this extra power, this fire inside, that will get us over those big fences,” he said. “We hope this horse can reach the highest level of the sport, right? As a professional, my job is to develop the horse to the highest level it can reach. That’s what I’m dreaming of. If it happens, we will have a really nice story to tell.”
Equestly is working hard to make sure that Diego and Scorpio’s story gets the attention it deserves. Sam and Carlos developed a new initiative, Equestly Horses, to build a community around Diego and Scorpio’s journey. Equestly Horses is an innovative new program that will allow members to follow along with and learn from Diego’s journey as he develops Scorpio from a three year old to an upper level eventing star. “Sam, myself, and Diego want to essentially build a community of people that are interested in supporting initiatives like ours, which is supporting a rising star in getting to the highest echelons of the sport,” Carlos said. “It essentially gives a window into the development of a horse, into the development of the athlete, while obviously incorporating some perks to the end user. Whether it’s discounts on Equestly products or VIP exclusive updates on the progress of Scorpio and Diego at the highest tier. We also do giveaways, like giving away tickets to the Kentucky Three Day.”
Equestly Horses will take normal everyday spectators who are passionate about eventing and give them a way to directly support up-and-coming riders. Before the launch of this program, one of the only direct routes to support riders would be owning one of their horses, which most people cannot afford. With Equestly Horses, equestrians can feel connected to a community of rising stars in a way that benefits both parties – the professional eventers will get much needed monetary support, and subscribers will be able to learn from and get an inside peek into the hard work that these professionals are putting into their horses and their careers.
Diego put it best when he said, “Equestly Horses is a program that is going to be able to start a community with members that want to be part of this journey. They want to support the athletes, they want to be part of the dream.”
This new program is delivered via email subscription, where the end user can learn directly from Diego. “Equestly Horses will reveal how Diego’s going about delivering all of his skills and knowledge into this horse, really trying to mold this raw talent into an upper level eventer,” said Carlos.
If you do sign up for a subscription, you can rest easy knowing that you’re directly supporting the riders. “100 percent of every dollar of the subscription goes towards the support of the horse, the rider and all future Equestly Horses projects,” Carlos said.
So far, Scorpio is taking to eventing like a duck takes to water. His first cross country schooling experience was remarkable. “I went for a hack with a couple of friends and they started jumping some logs and said ‘Oh, you can just follow us,’” Diego recounts. “It was so funny because Scorpio was jumping three to four times the height of the logs. By the end of the ride, he was really enjoying it. The first thing he wanted to do in the water was lay down. He wasn’t afraid at all.”
While they have plans to do a few shows this summer, for now Diego is taking it easy with Scorpio. “I’m not that worried about jumping. I’ve been focusing on the flat. I already know the horse jumps.” Diego mentioned some advice that Nelson Pessoa famously says: “Each horse has a limited number of jumps in their life. So, you need to be careful about how you spend those jumps.”
Welcome to America, Scorpio. We cannot wait to see what dreams you and Diego make a reality in the years to come. Check back into Eventing Nation for regular updates on how Diego and Scorpio are progressing as they work towards their goal.