Stefano Cesaretto, coach for the SGH Stables and Sports Manager for Scuderia 1918, speaks of himself as a horseman, a trainer and a manager
Stefano Cesaretto is an outstanding professional in the world of show jumping. In order to describe his personality one must start when he rode in national and international shows. As the manager of the SGH Stables together with his wife and international rider Giulia Martinengo Marquet, Stefano provides his team with his experience as an international rider and as a trainer of riders and young horses. Well-known in the world of show jumping as a ‘talent scout’ he has the instinct, sensitivity and obviously the ability to recognise quality in young horses with an eye to the future. “I have ridden at a good level, not like Giulia, but I was certainly able to compete at important shows , (the WEG in Stockholm in 1990 riding Louis XIV/European Championships Rotterdam 1989 also riding Louis XIV Editor’s Note) – – says Stefano – My instructors were Graziano Mancinelli and Guido Dominici and it was thanks to everything they taught me that I then dedicated my time to coaching. They taught me everything that I now believe I can and know how to do. Mancinelli taught me how to recognise a good horse, how to choose a young horse; he always knew how to choose the right horse for each rider. Dominici taught me technique, discipline and precision; the bases of the work needed to form a good horse and rider combination.”
Meeting Giulia Martinengo Marquet changed Stefano life and his perspectives: “When my relationship with Giulia began I slowed down and then stopped competing to concentrate on my career as an instructor as well as training and looking for young horses. Then I also reduced time spent with pupils and then stopped entirely so as to concentrate totally on Giulia although I am always available to anyone needing a helping hand or some advice. Those who wish to come to our stables, SGH Stables (Burago, Brescia), where we have a large range of show jumps for building courses to exercise on are welcome and I can be present in the arena to assist them.”
Sport in perspective
“From the very beginning, together with Giulia, we planned our work by investing in buying and producing young horses, also because as time has gone by it has become impossible to buy older mature horses. Nowadays we have a well-organised stable with Mauro Matteucci riding the younger horses, but also competing in ranking classes proving that he is capable of being a top-level rider. Giulia can ride anything, from 4-year-olds to the most expert of horses; her passion ensures that whatever horse she rides she is committed to ensure it expresses its full potential. So as to keep the level high we have at times had to start again from scratch, selling some horses to the disadvantage of the sports aspect so as to guarantee the stable’s economic aspects, but thanks to our organising capabilities we have managed to always keep going. Our work is very gratifying because watching the horses mature, managing to reach certain levels and seeing them go off to important stables as happened with Chiara, who has had the best possible career with Ludger Beerbaum, is extremely satisfying and a stimulus to keep going.
Now, thanks to the creation of Team Scuderia 1918, we have a chance to have more horses at different levels to maintain stability and growth and aim even higher.
This is our story and our everyday life. My job is to organise the stables, plan the shows we go to, help Giulia in her relations with technical sponsors and contacts in general, because I think she should concentrate on her work with the horses. I am helped in the management by Daniela Bruni who looks after bureaucratic aspects and Karin Fischer who is responsible for communications, while the horses are looked after by Cristian and Fraga together with other excellent grooms. It is not enough, however, to be well-organised at home, because our sport evolves continuously and one must always be up to date; everyday one needs to think about what is changing and what needs to be done to stay at the top and this too is my job. I look after the management of the horses both in general and as far as veterinary aspects are concerned. Giulia and I discuss matters constantly so as to pay the greatest attention possible to the horses’ good psycho-physical form.”
What guides you most in choosing a horse?
Stefano Cesaretto has a great nose for choosing horses. What are his parameters? “Nowadays horses must first of all be intelligent – explains Stefano – When we try a horse it is important to understand to what extent it is capable of managing its body thanks to an awareness of its potential, its strengths and weaknesses. Thanks to their intelligence horses manage to coexist with their defects and over time even transform them into positive aspects to the point of becoming top horses. I like horses that are able to manage and even invent a different jump every time, in the sense that horses should not have a fixed method and then feel lost if outside their comfort zone; they need to be capable of assessing and resolving all situations. Today’s courses are so technical, delicate, fast and coloured, with lines that are always a bit exasperated, because the level of the horses competing and the sport itself is extremely high. Horses must be brilliant so as to distinguish themselves; their potential come from their brains more than from the way they are built, so I assess how they think and whether they are ready to change and improve. When we start to try a horse I don’t want to see a horse that “shows off’ but a horse that starts normally and slowly adapts and starts to jump in a better way; I try to never cause problems for it while, on the contrary, I try and find a way of allowing it to use its body better. It is the way the horse reacts that is the key that transmits a different emotion to me. On many occasions I am guided by my feelings, I follow my instincts. I like to go to the stables and look at the expressions on the horses’ faces, the way they are, what they express.
It is question of first impressions. This applies to all sports, there are less gifted athletes who manage to achieve incredible feats thanks precisely to that something extra they have in their heads.”
It is a matter of passion
“It’s all about passion – continues Stefano – Without passion you cannot take part in this sport. Furthermore, I was lucky enough to meet Giulia who shares my passion. We share every moment. When we come home from shows in the evening, we are happy if things have gone well while if it hasn’t been a good day, being together helps us overcome difficult moments more easily. The passion I have is powerful and when I go and try out horses I am always almost agitated the evening before and continue to think about the horses I’ll meet the next day. It is difficult nowadays to find horses because there is an increased demand and one must therefore have a desire and the imagination to discover new talented ones. Horses have reached certain prices because when they are visible to everyone, then everyone wants them and prices go up. So one needs to discover horses earlier on, understand them, sense their potential. Horses surprise us if we pay attention and see the signs.”
“It has always been my dream to see Giulia at the very top level of our great sport – underlines Stefano – Not because she is my wife, but because I believe she has a particular sensitivity and has produced many horses bringing out the best in them, at times even more than they knew they could do.
The life I lead with my family and with horses is everything I wish. Even in the darkest moments the desire to start over is always very powerful. Very often in the evening, especially now that the days are longer, I go down for a walk and look around the stables and at the horses and ask myself, “what more could you want?” At the end of the day when you have a family that shares your passion and allows you to lead a life like this, one could not ask for more.” .
Sport and Passion
Stefano Cesaretto is the Sports Manager for Team Scuderia 1918:
“Relations between Scuderia 1918 and SGH Stables started over three years ago when Emanuele Anchisi, Scuderia 19180s founder and Team Manager, entrusted a number of horses to Giulia. Over time, what initially started as a relationship between an owner and a rider, has become a real and proper project. After cooperating for two years this shared passion and our sports objectives have resulted in the creation of a real team. It is a team that is greatly projected towards forming an Italian team with Giulia Martinengo Marquet, Alberto Zorzi, Lorenzo De Luca and Piergiorgio Bucci and that extends abroad to include Kevin Staut and even before came Daniel Deusser. Today we can say that this is the team, but it is one we can always enlarge. Passione and Sport are the principles on which Team Scuderia 1918 is based, principles shared from the very beginning and that over time have strengthened the bond even more implementing activities and goals. In my role as the team’s Sport Manager I am responsible for the technical and sporting aspects, I interact with the riders regarding sporting activities as well as dedicating time to looking for horses. I am a sort of a reference point for the technical aspects, the filter and coordinator for activities that are part of the goals involved in the Team’s growth.”