Raul de Leon Earns Prestigious Title of Master Instructor with American Riding Instructors Association
RELEASE: August 25, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Paula Rodenas
Raul de Leon was awarded the designation of Master Instructor by the American Riding Instructors Association (ARIA) in July. A former Cuban junior jumping champion, de Leon furthered his career in the U.S., working closely with former United States Equestrian Team coach Bertalan de Nemethy and eventually settling on Long Island.
From 1994 to 1990, de Leon served as co-director of the Westmoreland Davis Equestrian Institute at Morven Park with his friend and former student, 1976 Olympic three-day Gold medalist Tad Coffin. When his contract ended, he returned to Long Island, where he continues to teach and train.
De Leon applies classical principles to all disciplines. Among his students was James Benedetto, possibly the first junior to ever qualify for the Medal/Maclay Finals and the regional dressage finals the same year (1981).
Since 1990, de Leon has conducted clinics in South and Central America sponsored by the International Olympic Committee (one of the participants, Juan Andres Rodriguez Silva of Guatemala, was scheduled to compete as an individual in the 2008 Olympics).
In 1994, de Leon was named ARIA’s Instructor of the Year. The title of Master Instructor is the ARIA’s highest honor. De Leon joins a list of 18, which includes such prominent horsemen as Jack Le Goff, Denny Emerson, George Morris, Robert Dover, Lendon Gray and Michael Page, among others.
“It is gratifying that my lifetime efforts have been recognized and appreciated,” said de Leon.