• April 24, 2023

Umberto Martuscelli interviews Giampiero Garofalo, 2023 Italian Senior Champion.

Giampiero, 28 years old, is the winner of the 2023 Italian Senior Championship, a success achieved riding a horse of which the rider has enhanced its magnificent qualities.
This past weekend he faced the first Italian senior championship of his life. The first… and won the gold medal! A horse that in the set of three 160 rounds did not drop a single barrier: Max van Lentz Schrans, a Belgian bay born in 2012 from Untouched x Thunder van de Zuuthoeve.
«I've been riding him it exactly since the first day of March 2022», says Giampiero. «He had never jumped international competitions, only national shows ridden by his owner's rider. Max's owner is Jan Dams and he has a breeding farm in Belgium».

A horse that will therefore be able to remain under his saddle?
"Eh, I don't know. Max is for sale, he always has been from the beginning, and we know how these things go… ».

What feeling did it give you to win the Italian Championship with him?
«Well, I have to say it was a surprising victory… First of all because it was the first absolute championship of my life, then because actually my number one horse is Gaspahr. But he had a small injury at the end of August last year, so Max found himself in the role of number one: he lacks a bit of experience, but his potential is enormous. The initial idea was to face this championship as a moment of experience for him: and I must say that he jumped wonderfully well".

If Max is not sold immediately, you will have two very important horses to face the next Csio in Rome, so…
"I would say yes. Then behind them there are two horses belonging to Rolf Morssinkhof, the owner of the stable where I am now, two young subjects who need experience but of an excellent level. Even the horse that I will ride in the Nations Cup in Gorla in the three-star Csio this coming weekend is hers: a subject in which I believe a lot, already last year at the age of 8 he won a Grand Prix in Kronenberg. They are all interesting horses, relatively young, they need experience, but very promising».

And are these horses for sale too?
«Oh yes, of course... After all, my job is this: I don't have the possibility to buy horses so I do my job, when I have the horses I try to give my best, then when they are sold I start from scratch. The mechanism works like this ».

Until recently, you worked in Belgium for the Belgian merchant and horseman Karel Cox…
«Yes, I was with him for a year and then I wanted to put myself on the line. I moved to Rolf Morssinkhof's facility, the Morssinkhof Stables, which is located in Lommel, Belgium but on the border with Holland. There, my partner Lisa (Lisa Nooren, daughter of the great Dutch trainer Henk Nooren, editor's note) joined me after six months and we manage a stable together, we collaborate with the owners».

So does Henk Nooren remain your trainer of reference?
«Yes, of course, at least once a month he comes to coach me».

Your brother Antonio was also at the Championship in Cervia: is it nice to have him as… an opponent?
«It's nice to be together and do these great competitions together... our parents where there as well, mom and dad... wonderful. Beautiful also because almost all the best Italian riders were at the show: the strength of the opponents does not intimidate me, on the contrary, it motivates me very much".

So great emotions…
«Yes, and for this I really want to thank everyone: Jan Dams who is the owner of Max, Paul Hendrix who is the owner of Gaspahr, Rolf Morssinkhof who is the owner of the stable and also of the horse I will ride in Gorla in a few days. And then the Young Riders Academy which has always followed and supported me, and of course the Air Force whose uniform I wear with pride and joy. Then a special thanks to my family: without them none of this would have been possible… ».

Full article: https://www.cavallomagazine.it/sport-equestri/salto-ostacoli/giampiero-garofalo-ecco-il-campione-ditalia