Riccardo Pisani and Chaclot, a duo on the rise
Tell us Chaclot’s story...
We were in Germany, at Paul Schockemöhle's Lewitz Stud, to try out young horses. Among them was Chaclot. He was very fine, not at all what he looks like today. At first glance, he was a rather ordinary horse, but as soon as I rode him, he felt like a dream. He jumped so well. He was 8 years old, but still very green. My mother-in-law fell in love with him and agreed to buy him, even though that wasn’t the original plan. During the first six months, our results were very up and down. By the end of his 8-year-old year, he was doing well at the 1.45m level, but he wasn’t consistent. In the September of that year, we started training with Jos Lansink. In early 2018, we competed on the Sunshine Tour, where Chaclot mainly did small events for three weeks. It was just a matter of getting the right feeling, and above all finding the right bit for him. We finally found it for the last two days. It was the first time I had felt such a feeling. On the way back, we went to Arezzo and Chaclot jumped fantastically well. Then we started competing in bigger international competitions. I felt ready, but my Chef d’équipe was not 100% convinced, so I wasn’t able to go to Rome. But maybe that was a good thing, because we were able to gain experience without any pressure. The horse continued to progress. Geesteren was our first Grand Prix and he jumped fabulously, taking 7th place. Then I received the call to go and ride in the Nations Cup in Hickstead.
Chaclot at the last Europeans in Rotterdam
Had you ever ridden in Nations Cups before?
Yes, but not in Division I. So that was my first time at that level. I felt the pressure, but my horse jumps so well that I rode with confidence. Then, everything really started happening. I went to Gijon, where everything went well. They called me up for WEG, but it was too soon, so I went to Barcelona and it was incredible. Chaclot jumped flawlessly, that is still my best competition to date. Then, I took part in the World Cup stages in Lyon and Verona. This year, it was different. I knew that Chaclot was one of the best horses in Italy. I worked hard to get fit enough for Rome, St. Gallen and Hickstead. I was pretty sure I was going to ride at the Europeans, so the pressure was different from the previous year. At the Europeans, my horse jumped beautifully, but it wasn’t our best competition, as we had a few small errors. On the second day, we just touched the triple bar oxer, the kind of obstacle that a horse like Chaclot has no problem with. We were a little unlucky, but that's the sport. We can’t dwell on it, we’ve got to look to the future.
According to you, Chaclot is all quality?
He certainly has a lot of them! But he can sometimes be shy. If you walk up to his box too quickly, he can get scared. Or if several horses walk in front of him in a competition, he can also get a bit shy. But for the rest, honestly, it’s difficult to find any weaknesses, he always tries his best!
Your mother-in-law is Chaclot’s owner. Has she received many offers for him?
Of course, because he is an exceptional horse, and really consistent.
Does she put any pressure on you?
Never. We're very lucky, because she's such a positive supporter. I can only thank her for everything she does for me.
How many young horses do you have?
Four 2 ½ year olds, three yearlings, a foal that we’ve bred and whose dam is a 7-year-old by Chacco Blue that also came from Paul Schockemöhle. We’ve also bought three foals at sales, including one by Emerald. Among those we ride, we have two 4-year-olds, four 5-year-olds and two 6-year-olds. We also have a 7-year-old that I believe a lot in: Seronera, by Chacco Blue. There’s also a very promising 6-year-old, Baloucash (Baloucento), who’s an approved stallion. Of the younger ones, it's hard to say, because I don’t have much time to jump them. I'm going to take some time to jump them this Winter to see what we’ve got at home.
How do you prepare the young ones?
They are given a lot of time. For the 4-year-olds, they are started in January. They do a few competitions in the Spring and then they’re put back in the field. We do a few more competitions and if they’re going well, turn them out again. For the 5-year-olds, it's the same thing. When they get to 6 years old, we start to ride them internationally, but without any pressure. We never think about going to the World Championships for young horses. We don’t follow the young horse circuit, even in Italy. We give them time, that’s our system.
What are the qualities you look for in a horse?
At first, I wanted them to have jumping ability above all, but now we've changed. We like tall horses, but we think they should be light and have blood. Today, in sport, if you don't have horses with blood, you don't stand a chance. After that, we look for a good canter and obviously their jumping technique. They must have ability and respect.
To be continued tomorrow...