Exclusive HSJ’s interview with Luciana Diniz
The protagonist of this week’s “HSJ’s Interview“ is one of the most important riders in the international show jumping scene, Luciana Diniz, born in San Paulo, Brazil, in 1970. She changed her nationality to Portuguese in 2006, at the age of 36, eighteen years after leaving for Europe to begin her career as a professional rider.
As Luciana told us, the passion for horses has always characterized her family: her mother, Lica Diniz, a very talented dressage rider, was 8 times Brazilian dressage champion, while her father, Arnaldo Diniz, played polo, as well as two of her three brothers, Andre and Fabio.
Currently thirty-seventh in the FEI Jumping Longines World Ranking, she participated in the Rio de Jaineiro Olympics in 2016, the Olympic Games in London in 2012 and the Athens Olympics in 2004. She also founded a school of educational philosophy that aims to teach, especially to children, how they can become better people.
We contacted Luciana to ask her something about her wonderful career, her life, her horses and her future plans.
1. The passion for horse riding has always characterised all the members of your family; I guess that’s why you begun since your childhood to approach to this world; first with the dressage discipline and then with the show jumping. When did you realize that this passion would become your future profession?
Since I was young, I love horses.
Really, I had started riding when my mother was pregnant with me and she was still riding in the early stages of her pregnancy.
We spent nearly every weekend and holidays on the farm of my grandparents, where, we cousins. As kids children, had always a chance to ride horses.
So we started from the very beginning in our holidays horse riding.
Horse riding was in our family because my mother was a dressage rider and my father, my brothers and uncles were polo players and my grandfather rode till he was 80.
We were kind of meant to be a rider family.
I realized that my riding passion from my childhood could become my job when I quit one year after school before I went to University I asked my father to go to Europe to see how riding in the sport would go for me there.
That’s when I realized that this is what I love to do and I wanted to do the University of Life, riding horses, instead of studying psychology in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
I knew that it would be my future and my job.
2. Your career has been flourishing very quickly, you have participated and was 2nd in the Children
Jumping Championships at the age of twelve and the Junior Jumping Championships at the ages of
fourteen and eighteen; what feeling have you got during your first jumping race?
Since I was young my passion for horses was always very strong and competing was an enjoyable challenge.
Photo credit Sergio Grasso
3. Which was your trainer during the Junior/Young rider period?
I had an amazing team when I was young.
Once or twice a week I was trained by a dressage rider, who was at that time our best rider. He was Portuguese and the trainer for my mother as well as for my grandfather.
I had two other fantastic teachers, in my younger days, Orlando Facada, and another amazing jumping trainer, and Alfinete who was a show jumping idol at that time in Brazil. In the other days I would always ride with a kind of we call home trainer, that was who always took care of my family and all of us.
I was never alone and that was for me one of my secrets.
Never being alone, always with someone riding what was very good for my confidence and for my education as a rider.
4. What horses have been the most important in your career until now? Would you mention also
Conchento PS, with which you obtained the third position in the recent CSI4* Grand Prix at Hubside
One of the most important horses of my life, Dover, my little stallion, which I jumped the world championship in 2006 In Aachen, when I changed my nationality from Brazil to Portugal.
He was already 18, and from the 176 starters he finished in the top 20.
He won the Saturday GP of Aachen in 1998 in front of the number one Ludger Beerbaum, which was incredible experience for both os us
It was amazing!
He was a really special horse and he jumped until 21 years old in The Grand Prix of Westfalen in Aachen.
I have to say that I had another outstanding horse like Fit for Fun.
She’s the best horse ever in my life and it’s going to be very difficult to replace her.
I had also other very special horses like her in a different way but also very good like Winningmood.
He was an amazing horse that came in my life. Edouard de Rothschild owned him for his whole life, and have trusted me that horse to be at all the European Championships and Big Grand Prix and the titles of the Global Champions Tours. It was a really, a super special horse. I had such a complicity with Winningmood and I loved him so much.
Lennox, I call him my PS4 horse. Lennox was really my best friend and a winner. I won many Grand Prix with him and cars.
He was really special.
5. At the moment, how many horses do you have in your stable? How do you manage and organise their work and training?
And now I have again two really special horses. Vertigo du Desert and Concerto PS. My two Olympic horses for Tokyo and Paris.
So we will see who will go.
Conchento is a little bit younger than Vertigo.
Vertigo is a very experienced horse, very special and a winner, like Lennox.
So, all the horses are very special in my life.
I could talk the whole night about my horses and what I learned from them.
I now have two horses that I choose to ride before the Olympic Games.
This way i get very concentrated and focused on Tokyo.
Photo credit SPORTFOT
6. How was this last year for you, taking about your training and considering that almost all the
competitors have been cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic? Many show jumpers have
preyed on this period of deadlock to increment the work of their younger horses; have you been
focusing more on your younger promises too?
Last year was a difficult year for us to have high level competitions. I could not participate in any five star show, and I went for two, three and four stars shows.
In a way, it was a good year because I had the opportunity to develop some of my young horses and my relationship, partnership, with Conchento PS.
With Vertigo, I had a good chance of not using him so much in all competitions to keep him fresh for the Olympics too. I had time to work at my LD Academy, I developed my own Masterclass projects and The Eight Aspects Reinforcement Program and worked in some new books that I am still writing now.
2020 was a strange year, a greedy year for many people, but for me it was a very interesting year, when I grew up a lot, learned a lot and also made a lot of changes.
I decided in 2021 to start with two horses with focus on the Olympics, training in Portugal.
This year we have been placed in almost every Grand Prix we’ve done so far, 5 out of 6
Vertigo was the sixth in Hertogenbosch, 5th in the Grand Slam last week and 6th in Vilamoura- the 3 stars and 6th in St. Tropez last weekend.
Conchento was now the third in the four stars in Saint-Tropez.
We are in a good way for Tokyo.
7. Four-time Olympic show jumping rider, are you ready for the Tokyo Olympics?
Yes, we are in great shape and very focused, we are really doing a good job in relation to Tokyo. Focused on what is absolutely in a good and positive way so far.
8. To change the topic, we know you have your own website in which you share your experiences
but especially you try to motivate your fans and the whole horse lover community to give the best
of himself both in the world of horse riding and in life in general. What made you to create all
My passions is to share what I learn.
I love to inspire people, inspiring them is also a way to motivate me to learn, to grow and to get better and better.
There are no certainties in our sport because we are depending on the horse as well to be in good health for the big sport, we can go very fast up and down, up and down, and the challenge is to maintain a good balance to always be there, as I have done in recent years.
I am in the top 10, number 4 on the road and taking time to create my Butterfly Method, writing my books Fit4Gold and Jump4Yourdreams, where I explained the Butterfly Method.
Now I am creating my workbook for the Butterfly Method..
All these things are part of my purpose in life- to share what I have learned.
I see that a rich life is a life with a purpose.
I love what I do, I love horses, this is my passion and I love to share.
This is my mission.
Photo credits Moises Basallote Fotografia
9. You are also a mum of two twins, have you already passed this passion to them?
My boys are like 19, teenagers.
Both followed a different direction than horse riding.
They play tennis; one is starting his professional career. The other is going to tennis college in America.
I taught them that they should follow their dreams and do what they love.
10. In conclusion, what is the best advice you would give to all the young riders that have the
ambition to undertake a brilliant career like the one you achieved?
That’s why I can tell any teen in the world who is a rider or a non rider, whatever they do, follow their passion, follow their heart, find out what they want to do that makes their hearts beat faster.
This is the secret of life- find what we love to do and do it with love and passion.
Only when we do what we love, we can achieve our best and give our best every day.
So follow your dreams, jump for your dreams.
This is the advice I can give to anyone, never give up on your dreams, go to them and make your dreams come true .
You can reach them, this is very important.
Go to them with joy and gratitude.
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