By Jan Westmark
Show jumper Ivan Rakowsky was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. His riding career began with pony rides on the weekends and progressed to riding lessons at a barn about an hour from the city when he was eight years old. His talents were spotted by a few people who let Ivan show in the junior classes up to some small grand prix. “After that, I got to travel across the country with some of the horses and eventually got to compete abroad until I moved to the States at the age of 20 and started my own business,” Ivan said. His barn, Team Rakowsky Equestrian, is based in Wellington, Florida, and during the summer months Ivan, his team and students travel between shows in the States and Europe. Ivan and Olympic show jumper Margie Engle are great friends, and Ivan often travels to Europe with her to be her ground person. Watching her win in Aachen, Germany, ranks as one of Ivan’s favorite experiences.
What are your best memories of growing up?
Getting to spend all day at the barn with the trainers and grooms learning about the horses and traveling to all the shows.
What teams have you served as the chef d’equipe for?
Team Mexico on several occasions
As a partner at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival in Traverse City, Michigan, you spend a lot of the summer there. What do you like about it?
I love the facility, I love the weather, and the quality of the production of the show. The town is great with amazing restaurants and there is so much to do when you’re not at the show. I really love everything about the show and I also like bringing the exhibitor side to the show partnership.
What are your favorite shows to compete in?
Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, Global Champion Tour Shows, Aachen and Laboule and the Winter Equestrian Festival
What’s your favorite thing about being part of the horse world?
The horses. I love the animal, the sport and all the friendships made through it.
Any favorite horse experiences over the years?
Representing my country in Nations Cups has always been an amazing experience for me.
If you weren’t involved with the horse world, what career do you think you would have picked?
I’d have to say real estate; interior design is a passion of mine and I enjoy fixing up houses.
If you had a week off, what would you do?
Go visit my family in Mexico City
Do any favorite horse show wins stand out in your mind?
A few, but winning in Aachen with Margie Engle for sure tops the list!
And recognitions stand out in your mind?
Medaling in Nations Cups
Who inspires you?
Margie Engle: she’s an incredible talent and horseman with a great work ethic and morals. She’s a great person and inspires me every day.
What talents do you feel you have?
I think I have a good eye to match horses and riders and a passion to teach and a desire to always learn more and be a better horseman.
Do you have a personal motto or catch phrase?
Try to consistently exceed expectations
What’s your favorite item of clothing to wear?
Nothing beats Cashmere.
Most embarrassing thing you’ve ever worn?
Breeches with an unknown hole in the back
What three items can usually be found in your refrigerator?
Sparkling water, rosé and apples
What’s your favorite meal?
A nice filet with great company
Favorite type of pizza?
What’s something people don’t know about you?
I hate the mornings.
What would be the best gift in the world?
Good health for sure
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
The ability to freeze time. Life goes by too fast!
What’s something everyone should try at least once?
Go to Aachen, whether it’s to compete or just spectate. If you’re a fan of the sport, it’s the ultimate experience.
How would you like people to remember you?
As a nice guy who loved his horses and the sport of show jumping