Vittoria Panizzon (IT)
Discipline - Eventing
Hometown - Italy
Number of years riding - I started when I was 4
Main career accomplishments to date:
- 8th in the FEI World Rider rankings, 2013
- 8th in the European Championships, Malmo, 2013
- 11th in the London Olympics, 2012
- 16th in the Beijing Olympics, 2008
- 1st in the Ballindenisk CC12* with Merlot”s Magic, 2012.
Tell us about your first horse/pony
Chantilla was my first pony. She was from England, 12.2hh, very pretty, but also lazy and taught me to kick!
How did you get started in your discipline?
I rode at eventing equestrian centres and it seemed the obvious, fun, all-round choice.
Mentor/idol when growing up?
Ian Stark, Mark Todd, Ginny Leng.
Proudest career moment?
Possibly still the Junior European individual gold in front of my home crowd, along with the London Olympics.
Why do you ride?
Not sure I can pinpoint it, I guess it”s part of me. There are so many reasons; opportunity to be competitive, not to work in an office, to be outside, to travel, to visit stunning places, to feel at one with your best friend. Plus I love going fast and I”m addicted to jumping. There are many reasons, but it's amazing how we can almost get horses to read our minds, and I often feel I can predict them and trust them more than most humans!
If you weren”t a professional rider, what would you be?
A polo player or a pilot. Or I”d use my degree and work with wildlife somewhere exciting.
Favourite holiday destination?
Somewhere warm with friends and fun activities, or the Isle of Mull where my mother lives in Scotland.
How do you unwind?
A film on a very comfy sofa with a good meal. Sadly, I normally need to be doing emails and paperwork at the same time! Or going for a fun hack on top of Dover's Hill with a favourite horse.
Do you have a good luck charm, and if so, what is it?
I just like sticking to a routine that works, as I”m not a fan of competing with new stuff. Actually, Pennyz is the best good luck charm to have.
Favourite Ariat product?
Well I will really struggle to choose! I have a lot of favourites these days, but I owe a lot to my Grasmere boots, they”ve put a complete stop to the frozen winter toes that have plagued me for years! Impressive!