Cassio Rivetti competes in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Brazilian native Cassio Rivetti, who for the last eight seasons has ridden under the flag of The Ukraine in international competition, announced on September 16th that he’s changing his nationality back to his home country of Brazil.
“I’m really happy and excited with this new chapter in my life as a showjumper,” Rivetti said via his official website.
Rivetti, who is from Sao Paolo, Brazil, moved to Belgium nearly a decade ago to train under the legendary Neco Pessoa. In 2007, the now-disgraced Ukranian oil magnate Olyksandr Onyshchenko invited Rivetti to change his nationality and ride for the Ukrainian Equestrian Team. Rivetti’s career grew exponentially during his time riding for The Ukraine, appearing in multiple championships and international competitions.
“I would like to thank Mr. Onyshchenko and my former teammates for the 8 years that I had the opportunity to represent and accomplish a lot with the Ukrainian team,” Rivetti said. “It was definitively a great experience!”
However, several developments in recent months put the Ukrainian Equestrian Team’s future in question; not the least of which is Onyshchenko’s alleged involvement in a natural gas embezzlement scheme. In July, the Ukraine parliament called for Onyshchenko’s arrest, and the ownership of all his horses, including those ridden by Rivetti, were swiftly and quietly changed.
“Looking ahead, the Brazilian federation invited me to be part of a new project for future competitions,” Rivetti said. “I feel it’s the right moment to return representing my home country. On top, I want to develop some promising young horses and continue collaborating with new owners that are already on my side.”
Rivetti is currently recovering from a broken leg sustained from a fall during the Stephex Masters Grand Prix on September 5th. He represented The Ukraine in competition during the recent Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but was eliminated after Round 2 for a violation of Jumping Rule 242.3.1.