From Show Jumper to Trainer: The Journey of Raffaele Valente

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At just 29 years old, Raffaele Valente has already carved out an impressive career in the world of show jumping. Hailing from the picturesque town of Gaeta, Italy, Valente embarked on his equestrian journey at a young age, eventually finding himself competing at the highest levels of the sport. But it wasn’t an easy road; Valente’s ascent was marked by challenges, perseverance, and an unwavering dedication to his craft.

For the past 11 years, Valente has lived away from his hometown, immersing himself in the competitive world of show jumping.

Starting from the bottom, he worked his way up, riding competitively in 4* Grand Prix events and earning the opportunity to train in some of the best stables around the globe. However, Valente’s journey has taken a new turn as he transitions into a role as a trainer, dedicating himself to shaping the next generation of equestrian talent.

In an exclusive interview with Horseshowjumping.tv, Valente shared insights into his training philosophy and his aspirations for the future of the sport. With a focus on trust, horsemanship, and dedication, Valente imparts valuable lessons learned from his own experiences in the saddle.

Building Trust

Valente’s approach to riding centers on trust – trust in his horses and trust in himself. “Trust is very important in our sport,” he emphasizes. “I have trust in my horses, and that trust is reciprocated. It’s a special bond that develops through hard work and dedication.”

This sentiment reflects Valente’s deep understanding of the partnership between horse and rider, a relationship built on mutual respect and communication.


Horsemanship and Horse Care

As a seasoned rider and now trainer, Valente places great importance on horsemanship and horse care. “Horsemanship, horse management, and horse care are fundamental,” he explains. “A well-cared-for horse is a happy and willing partner in competition.”

Valente’s emphasis on horse welfare echoes the sentiments of renowned equestrian coach Hanna Wicklund, who believes that prioritizing the well-being of the horse is paramount in the pursuit of success.

Training Philosophy

Valente’s training philosophy is rooted in preparation and adaptability. “I believe in confronting situations during training that mimic those encountered in competition,” he says. “By working on changing rhythms and mastering pole work, riders and horses can build confidence and trust.”

Valente’s commitment to excellence extends to his students, whom he guides through a system of pole work designed to enhance their riding skills and foster a deeper connection with their horses.

Transitioning to Coaching

Reflecting on his decision to focus on coaching, Valente expresses enthusiasm for the opportunity to mentor the next generation of riders and horses. “I enjoy seeing the journey of improvement,” he says. “Every rider and horse teaches me something new, and I’m excited to share my knowledge.”

Valente’s transition from rider to coach mirrors the path of many successful athletes who find fulfillment in passing on their expertise to others.


A Vision for the Future

Looking ahead, Valente dreams of building his own stable and training program. “I want to create a team that shares my passion for the sport and prioritizes horse welfare,” he explains. “My goal is to help riders and horses reach their full potential.”

Valente’s vision reflects his commitment to fostering a culture of excellence and respect within the sport. Notably, his success as a coach was exemplified when he trained Hanna Wicklund at a championship for the first time. The experience was a resounding success as Wicklund won individual silver and team gold medals, marking a significant milestone in Valente’s coaching career.

In conclusion, Valente’s dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment to the well-being of the horse serve as a beacon of inspiration for riders and trainers alike. As he looks to the future, Valente remains focused on his goal of shaping the next generation of equestrian talent. “I really would like to teach the new generations that are coming to train with me how to be a horse person first,” he says. “Respecting them, and, of course, to reach the highest side of our sport with good, technique skills and a good training program to achieve the maximum they can.” With Valente at the helm, the future of show jumping is in capable hands, ensuring that the philosophy of horsemanship and the tips and tricks he learned in top stables are brought along for generations to come.

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