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Michael Cintas' 2011 World Cup Pentathlon
Olympic Qualifier 
Vision Becomes Reality

In February 2011, 165 athletes from 31 countries came to Equestrian Centers in Rancho Mirage, California for the first Modern Pentathlon World Cup on US soil in over a decade. 

The Cup was a huge success due to the extraordinary efforts of Michael Cintas and his team of dedicated organizers and volunteers to bring the cup to the desert. This important world competition is one of the Olympic qualifying events for the London 2012 games. Equestrian Centers International will welcome back the Modern Pentathlon World Cup to ECI again in 2012.

My Coaching Experience of a Lifetime


Our 2008 Modern Pentathlon Olympic team as a whole all met in San Francisco and the San Jose University prior to departing to Beijing.

We were at the University for two days, in international meetings and preparation, we were all wardrobed with all of our international olympic athletic clothes along with our opening and closing ceremonial dress. this was also sponsored by Ralph Lauren and Nike
from socks to shoes to shorts to pant to jackets to sweaters and shirts.

We departed for Beijing at 8 a.m. on the 5th of August, where we would fly on United Airlines with many team members from other US Olympic teams including the William sisters and fly for the next 15 hours.

We arrived in Beijing at the All New terminal "E" international complex, over 1 million sq. feet of terminal.

The Chinese were wonderful along with the international olympic committee and u.s. representatives along with U.S. Security. Within 10 minutes of debarkation we were all escorted through private security to the Olympic buses to be bused to the Olympic International Village. This trip was approx. 1/ 2 hour in length.

Upon arriving at the Village, we were then documented again with our ID badges, and passes for the next three weeks.

Our delegation stayed for the next two days for Opening Ceremonies held in the Nest, and then until out competitions on Aug. 21 and 22nd, we would leave to Singapore to train for the next 10 days.

The weather and conditions in Singapore for very conducive to our training that we needed to prepare for our performances of a lifetime.

We arrived in Singapore and stayed at a wonderful hotel on the Beach, Singapore is an island with a population of 4 million people, a beautiful very clean and amazing country and city, where chewing gum is not even allowed. When we arrived at the airport we were greeted by the Singapore National Pentathlon Organization and their attaches.

For the next 10 days we trained very hard at all five venues. Singapore has a very large youth and junior pentathlon program and is is only second as their sport to badminton.

I had the honor and the luxury of coaching at the Singapore International Polo Club, where are 4 pentathletes were able to ride with me and train for the next 5 days. Eli, Sam, Margaux & Sheila.

The Polo Club allowed me to use their very best jumping horses where I was also not only allowed to use them but I was able to ride them and get a feel for what each of these fine horses were like.

The Singapore horses were x-race horses and they were all between 5 - 8 years old.

I gave clinics in their indoor ring as well as their outdoor jumper ring.

This was major benefit to our athletes, as these horse were going to be very similar to the ones that we would ride in beijing.

The athlete that really benefited the most and rode to her very best training and only after two years of riding with me in her 39 years of life was Sheila Taormina.

In beijing the success story of Sheila speaks for itself.

We left Singapore on the 19th of August to return to Beijing. 

We arrived in Beijing where once again we would train for another day and then mentally prepare ourselves the following day before the Olympic Competition.

37 countries and over 150 pentathletes were in attendance all to compete for the honor of being on the podium for the gold, silver or bronze.

In 2007, the year prior to being here in Beijing, we had travel here to due the World Cup final, we competed and we represented with 40 thoroughbred horses for the competition. That year the horse 1/2 were quite rideable and the other 1/2 were very questionable. When we left in 2007 we were all assured that only the finest of these "same" horses would be used for the 2008 Olympic's. A very good friend of mine Vince Vermullen was the Chinese Olympic Coach and trainer for the next year to prepare theses horses to be the very best.

Well, here we are in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic's and when I saw Vince, he sadly told me that all the horses that were being used for the Olympic Competition were all new mounts and that he was somewhat disappointed on what he had to work with over the last year and that he felt there would be some obstacles to over come with some of the foreign riders competing. 

The proof of his statement was very well witnessed when it came to the men's and women's competitions over the next two days August 21 and 22nd.

Many of the horses were rogue's, others were just not ready to jump 15 obstacles at 4 feet high and 4 feet wide. 

Many of the pentathletes from other countries both men and women were not good riders nor did they have the opportunity to have real solid equestrian coaching, (this now as all been changed, and the UIPM has set up international training clinics world wide to being in these elite pentathletes and teach them the skills of riding and jumping) ECI/Cintas is one of the designated Training camps.

The Chinese Government spent over 6 billion (yes billion) dollars to put on the Olympic Venue of a lifetime. They made absolutely sure that none of us would witness any poverty, homeless people or a shack in sight.

The stadiums and "the Nest' and tracks and sport complexes they built were incredible architectural structures. The 50 high rise apartments they built for the 5000 plus athletes world wide were beautiful, and very Americanized.

Their showcasing of the opening and closing ceremonies outdid any broadway or Las Vegas venue. The Chinese used over 25,000 youth from 8 years old through 18 years old as their work crew from cleaning crews, to hosts, to tour guides to servicing to showcasing, it was an extravaganza never to be forgotten.

Now for the competition, we were very proud of our pentathletes, the U.S. was ranked 15th overall for a possible medal.

The riding by our men's and women's team was elegant, and with absolute equitation and riding skills were easily observed. For other countries except for Great Britain, Canada and France, were something to witness.

Of the past 3 Olympic's, Atlanta, Sydney and Athens, the riding at points was appalling. (again this has now changed, and a rider must be qualified and certified in order tom compete on any international stage and from any country)

Sheila Taormina was the "Star of Stars" for the United States. She drew a big 16.3 hand thoroughbred, bay mare with a beautiful white blaze on her face and two back socks.

The mare was a handful with a huge stride, brave and a bit unsettling, Sheila and I from the beginning of her riding career over the last two years had worked solidly on the the various types of mounts she would encounter in her pentathlon career./ From the lazy kicked back small horse to the very forward horse, to the reluctant mount to a horse that need a strong ride to a horse that needed a soft uphill confident but quite ride. That was Sheila's mount to ride as tall as she could with her 5'4" height and 130 pounds of body and yet deep in the tack and as quite as she could and yet keep her body still her leg attached with an active seat to leg and to ride as straight and balanced that she could and trust her horse to take her to the fence where she would as NOW she had to be the very best possible rider to follow her horse over the fences with accuracy and to look and see every bit of her 420 yards of jumping.

Sheila not only jumped clean but she jumped in the fastest (optimum) time to be the best rider out of the 37 world class women that she competed against.

The closing ceremonies, and I was a very happy father to have my daughter Ashely there in Beijing with me. Was tear jerking, three weeks of seeing world class athletes and the world around us, with wonderful chinese people being there for you for very beckon call, and Now it was over.

I will remember this for the rest of my life with love and honor to have been part of the Unites States olympics and what we achieved as a whole as "A Team".

I look forward to 2012 and hopefully being the Equestrian riding Coach for our men's and women's team in London.

ECI - Today

Today Michael’s vision and success in the equestrian sport continues to grow. Through his dedication, determination and proven training approach, he takes great pride in teaching and developing current and future world class athletes.

  • Michael Cintas Equestrian. Coach & ECI host of 2009 USA and NORCECA Championship Modern Pentathlon



  • 2008 Beijing Olympics Modern Pentathlon Equestrian Coach

  • Head Pentathlete Coach for the Southern California Modern

  • Equestrian Coach Pan American Games Rio de Janeiro,
    Brazil 2007

  • Coach since 2004 for the U.S. Nationals, Modern Pentathlon
    Youth , Junior and Senior Pentathletes

  • Michael gives clinics world wide for both the Modern Pentathlon
    teams and the international equestrian centers

  • Training year round for the Southern California Modern Pentathlon
    from 8 years old to 21 years old.

  • ECI’s clinic's annually include: George Morris and Susie Hutchinson

  • ECI Pony Club in Rancho Mirage

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