Equestrian Centers International
Hunter-Jumper, Dressage, Equitation, Grand Prix & Modern Pentathlon
E.C.I. is a state of the art facility which was built in January of 1984 in the elite desert community of Rancho Mirage. Among the many attributes that the facility offers, there is something to please everyone.
This reality came to be from a young boy’s dream to own his own horse someday and to be the best that he could be. It was at the age of 12 that Michael first asked his parents for a horse. They made a deal with him – he would have to raise the money to purchase the horse and they would assist him with the upkeep and maintenance. At the time, Michael rode at Kenmore Stables in Mission Valley (the old polo grounds that is now a major golf course). Michael bought a half Quarter Horse, half Arabian named Flash with $300 he had saved from a paper route. Flash, however, was $500. Michael's grandfather gave him the balance of the money to purchase Flash.
Alan Balch was Michael's first trainer at Kenmore. He soon had Michael showing Flash in the San Diego horse shows, including the annual l Del Mar Horse Show held at the Fairgrounds. Flash was a very special horse and Michael won many equitation and children's jumper championships with him. Soon after that, Michael started doing the entire California circuit. He has fond memories of his mother in the grand stands cheering him on.
When Michael was 16, George Morris invited a few riders to train with him under a scholarship program. It was there that he was first able to ride among what would later become America’s champions such as Conrad Homfeld, Ann Kursinski, Joe Fargis and the like.
This turned into an experience of a lifetime and set in stone the life Cintas wanted for himself as he progressed through life. From his time spent with /George Morris, he grew to rely on the rigid standards which produce results. George Morris insists that his riders present themselves in a workmanlike manner which shows respect for the trainer, yourself and your horse. As Cintas approached age 18 it came time to decide whether he would turn professional or go on to try out for the Olympics.
Morris called him and asked if he would like to ride in the Olympic Trials at Gladstone. Cintas was exited at the opportunity. Gladstone went well, but Cintas did not have an Olympic caliber horse or a sponsor. He returned to California with a tremendous amount of knowledge.
One day, after arriving back to California, Michael's parents took him by a farm just to have a look. They looked at the main residence, barn and the two large arenas. His parents then told him that the farm was a birthday present for him and his sisters to have fun with when they were not in the city. Michael couldn’t believe his eyes, and from that day on he knew that this would be his life's dream come true. Green valley Acres was the first of four horse facilities that he would own.
Once Cintas had married, his father thought it was time that he should learn the tuna fishing business. He went on the maiden voyage of the world's largest tuna seiner, “The Apollo”, on December 29, 1970. Michael was on his way down to the wet deck when a cable towline caught his left ankle and his was thrown over-board. As a diver went down to cut the line all Michael could think about was whether he would be able to ride his horses again, unaware that his left leg was only attached to the foot by the main artery and that there was no bone, ligaments or tissue left. Twenty-two hours passed before Michael was able to receive medical attention and gangrene had set into the little tissue that was left. There was a slim chance that his leg could be saved his leg, but when he got back to the United States, he leg. For the next 13 years and 37 operations, Michael struggled through each day with extreme pain yet was able to conduct business, ride, show, teach lessons and train horses.
In 1984, a pre green horse slipped and fell on Michael's bad leg, crushing it on impact. It was then that he decided To have the leg amputated. When he awoke from the surgery the doctors told him to wait a month before riding. Two weeks later he was showing over fences at Bonita Valley Farms in San Diego. Soon after, Cintas received his first prosthesis and has been riding ever since. Cintas had many great riders and trainers to help him with his career. It can be seen through his disciplined training to the compassionate instruction and support.