Ignacio Maurin is not your typical professional rider and grand prix veteran, and there’s no doubt that the 27-year-old-old Argentinian’s talents go beyond putting in a winning round in show jumping. In addition to his role at Stransky’s Mission Farm, the former professional soccer player turned rider and trainer has jumped into the highly competitive restaurant world, opening a new eatery called Voi-la in Wellington, Florida. If that isn’t enough, the soon-to-be father also finds time to support his favorite cause, the Step by Step Foundation, and help raise funds and awareness for children in need around the world.
“I started riding when I was 4 in Argentina,” Ignacio said. “My dad, Juan Carlos Maurin, was my biggest influence. He was a rider and trainer, as was my grandfather and my great-grandfather. I’ve been around horses since I was born and it’s always been a passion of mine. Unlike my brothers who don’t ride, I was always interested.”
At the age of 9, Ignacio had his first big success in the show ring when he won the regionals in Argentina. His father’s job kept the family moving, which gave Ignacio the chance to ride at different venues. “When I was 16, I moved for a year to Cordoba, Argentina, and graduated from high school. A year later we moved to Venezuela, as my dad got a job as a trainer in Caracas.”
Ignacio spent seven years in Venezuela, riding as a junior and then working as a professional, honing his skills in the saddle, racking up wins, and making a name for himself. “I started working professionally in Caracas when I was 18, riding and training for approximately 25 clients. This gave me wonderful opportunities to travel a lot with students to international competitions and successfully represent Venezuela. I’m very proud of that time.”
While Ignacio grew up in the saddle, he’s an all-around athlete, and his second passion was soccer. “When I moved to Venezuela in 2007, I was offered a great spot in an important soccer team,” he explained. “But that same year I decided to make riding my life focus instead of soccer.”
This would prove to be a good choice for the young equestrian. At age 19, he won the qualifier for the Odesur Games in Medellin 2010. “I went to Medellin, Colombia, to compete in the Odesur Games representing Argentina,” he said. “During the speed class, my horse slipped before the combination. He stopped and I fell. This was one of the most disappointing moments in my career, but these sorts of things happen and you just move on.”
Owners had been taking notice of Ignacio’s talent, and in 2014 he was offered his first job in the United States and moved to Washington state to ride for Circle B Ranch. “It was a great introduction to the United States competitions, and I was able to compete on the Thermal circuit in 2015, where I achieved several championships.”
On the personal side, Ignacio had met and fallen in love with the Venezuelan beauty Andrea Larrazabal, who used to ride, and the two married in spring 2015. “We had a traditional ceremony with friends and family in Caracas and it was amazing,” Ignacio said with a smile. “But we wanted to have more fun. A few days later, we went to a beautiful beach called Los Roques and my wife wanted to trash the dress!” The newlyweds, Ignacio decked out in white tie and tails and Andrea in a flowing, full-skirted wedding gown, jumped into the ocean for photos. Keeping their sunglasses on, the couple then dived beneath the waves for a few underwater shots smooching.
The couple relocated to Wellington and in May 2015, Ignacio was offered the position as rider and trainer at Stransky’s Mission Farm. “I’ve known Liliane Stransky for a while,” explained Ignacio. “We first met in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 2011 when her daughter Daniela was representing Venezuela in the Children-Junior and Young Riders American Championship. At that time, I was training one of the riders from Venezuela. I’d also been coming to Wellington over the years to ride and train different clients. When Lili offered me the job, it was really perfect. Wellington was where we wanted to be and it’s an honor to be a part of her team and riding for her charity.”
Ignacio’s first big win while riding under the Stransky’s Mission Farm banner was the $35,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic during the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in February 2016. Aboard the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood Unico, Ignacio was one of only five riders to advance to go clean over Richard Jeffrey’s course on the derby field at The Stadium. Last to go in the jump-off, he cleared the course in 45.51 seconds, stealing the lead from Laura Kraut aboard Constable.
“Ignacio has a huge heart and a big talent,” said Lilian. “He has done a wonderful job with my horses and helping train my daughter Daniela, and also in helping with Step by Step. I feel blessed to be surrounded with people like Ignacio and his wife, Andrea, who not only share my passion for the equestrian sports but also want to help change lives. “
“It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to not only be able to ride these wonderful horses but to also be a part of such an impactful group,” said Ignacio. “My wife and I really love being involved with Lili’s projects and we help her in a variety of ways, with a portion of my winnings going to Step by Step. It’s always fun and it’s a great feeling to be able to help others in this way. Lili is one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met and I really admire her energy for helping others.
“Every day is an adventure with Lili,” he smiled. “While there’s a lot of seriousness when it comes to the horses and to helping others, there’s also a lot of laughter going on every day! This past year was just the start; we have a lot of big plans for this year.”