Giampiero Garofalo: Rising Star in International Equestrianism

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Stefano Secchi (c) Giampiero Garofalo riding Gaspahr – Piazza di Siena 2024

Giampiero Garofalo was born on May 14, 1994, in Naples, Italy, where his father Paolo’s stable was located. Now living and working in Lommel, Belgium, Giampiero runs a stable with his fiancée Lisa Nooren, daughter of the renowned Dutch trainer Henk Nooren.

Since 2015, Giampiero has been serving as First Aviere Scelto of the Centro Sportivo Aeronautica Militare. In 2017, he was part of the Young Riders Academy program, reflecting his commitment to growth and excellence in his sport. “The strength of my opponents doesn’t intimidate me; it motivates and charges me to the fullest,” he declares.

Garofalo’s recent achievements include winning the Italian Absolute Championship in 2023 with his horse Max Van Lentz Schrans, and securing second place with Team Italy at the Nations Cup in Piazza di Siena the same year.

Last week, the team from HSJ had the pleasure of meeting Giampiero during the Jumping La Baule, where he placed 9th in the Small Grand Prix 1.50 on Saturday with his horse Hero. This interview provides a closer look at the journey, aspirations, and insights of this remarkable equestrian talent.

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CSIO Rolex Roma 2024 – Roma, Piazza di Siena – ph.Stefano Secchi/ Imagess

Giampiero Garofalo: An Italian Equestrian at the Top of the World

Giampiero Garofalo, a 30-year-old Italian equestrian, has spent much of his career abroad, primarily between Belgium and the Netherlands. Despite being away from Italy for many years, Garofalo has built a successful career in the equestrian world. Recently, he and his fiancée moved to Stalendrix in the Netherlands to start a new collaboration. “I’m very happy and hope it can help me stay at the top level,” he said.

A Journey of Growth and Success

Reflecting on his evolution as an equestrian, Garofalo is proud of the progress he has made. “I am certainly very proud of the journey I have taken, and I still have many dreams that I want to achieve,” he states. He emphasizes the importance of continuous learning: “In this world, you never stop learning. Every day, you can learn something new.”

Throughout his career, Garofalo has had the opportunity to ride many exceptional horses, each leaving a significant mark on his journey. “Ombre della Baia was the first horse that allowed me to compete in the Nations Cups and the European Championships, so it definitely holds a special place in my heart,” he recalls. He also mentions other remarkable horses like Bella Dior, Corbanus, and especially Gaspar, the horse that helped him maintain a five-star level. “Gaspar is a horse that has given me a lot and continues to do so,” he says.

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CSIO Rolex Roma 2024 – Roma, Piazza di Siena – ph.Stefano Secchi/ Imagess

The Bond with Gaspar

Garofalo shares the story of his partnership with Gaspar, a 13-year-old stallion owned by the Hendricks family.

“Initially, it wasn’t an easy journey, but over time, we’ve learned to understand each other, and now we trust each other 100%,” he explains. This strong bond has led to numerous successes in top-tier competitions.

Dreams and Mentors

Like many equestrians, Garofalo has his sights set on the Olympics. “For every rider, I think participating in the Olympics and maybe coming home with a medal is a big dream,” he reveals. He is also fortunate to work with some of the best trainers in the field, including Hank, his future father-in-law, and Michel Hendrix. “Each coach has their own way of working and seeing things. I’ve always tried to take a bit from everyone to improve my riding,” he notes.

Garofalo credits Hank with providing the input necessary to make a significant leap in quality. “He taught me a lot, not only about riding but also about managing a stable and handling horses,” he says. On the other hand, Michel Hendrix offers daily tips and advice that help Garofalo understand his horses better.

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CSIO Rolex Roma 2024 – Roma, Piazza di Siena – 23 May 2024 – ph.Stefano Secchi/ Imagess

Family and Friendly Rivalry

Having a brother who is also competing at a high level is a source of inspiration for Garofalo. “It’s great to have a brother at the same level. We stimulate and help each other, giving daily advice and sharing videos,” he explains. The friendly rivalry between them is a driving force: “When we’re in a competition, if he’s leading, I try to beat him. But afterward, we joke and play around. There’s a lot of respect and admiration between us.”

In conclusion, Garofalo’s journey is marked by hard work, continuous learning, and strong relationships with both his mentors and family. His story is a testament to the dedication required to excel in the equestrian world. As he continues to strive for his dreams, Garofalo remains a figure of inspiration for aspiring riders everywhere.

V. Sozzi

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