Texting with: Michael Cristofoletti
The Italian show jumper Michael Cristofoletti is based in Germany. Earlier this year he landed a solid 5th place in his first World Cup on his distinctive top horse, Belony!
By: the Editors
Hey, Michael! How are you and what are you doing right now?
Hi Cavalier! I am very good, thank you. Right now, I'm at home on the couch waiting for the Grand Prix to start on TV.
Cool. You live in Germany? For how long have you lived there and where in the country are you located?
That’s right. I moved here eight years ago, but everything started back in 2009, when I traveled from Italy to Germany and the stables of Paul Schockemöhle. The plan was to stay for one year to develop as a rider, but I ended up working there for almost 4 years. It was an amazing experience! Now I live and work with my girlfriend, Jana Wargers, in Ibbenbüren, where we run the stable C&W Show Jumpers.
Sounds amazing! Tell us a little more about the stable?
Our stable is located just outside Ibbenbüren. It is a real horsy environment with many professional stables in the area. For example, both Ludger Beerbaum and the Hanley family are close by. Right now, we have about 20 horses and live off the sport and business. We have a really good team behind us!
How will you describe your career so far?
I'm lucky coming from a horse family that has always supported me. However, my professional career started when I left Italy in 2009. Before I left I had to make the decision; get started at the university or go abroad to learn how to ride professionally. In the beginning it was incredibly challenging. The sport is very expensive, and a substantial financial network is required. I didn't have that, but seized the opportunity and went to Germany anyway. Eventually I developed as a rider and was given the chance to learn the business surrounding the sport. Today I have a strong network behind me and some wonderful horses, making it possible for me to do this.
What is the best and worst thing about being a professional jumper?
The best thing is to live your life with and for the horses. The worst thing, I must say, is when your top horse gets injured.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to many different genres, but mostly rock, pop and house.
What is the coolest thing you have experienced so far in your career?
The coolest thing I have achieved so far was the fifth place in my very first European World Cup event. And guess where it was? IN OSLO!
It was really cool to see you in Oslo. Congrats again! So, tell us about Jana!
We've been together for five and a half years now, if I remember correctly 😅 Jana is from Germany and is a professional show jumper as well. We run the stable and work extremely well together. We often swap horses between us. If one doesn’t suit me, it is very likely that it matches her well.
We think we know the answer to this, but do you prefer Italian or German food?
ITALIAN! There is no doubt in my mind :)
Which rider do you look up to?
Steve Guerdat is a rider I really love to watch. Not just because he has won so much at a young age, but because one can always see how he works with his horses. It's really inspiring to see how much he cares about them and how hard his horses are fighting for him. Genuine harmony.
What would you do in life if you didn't ride horses?
I think I would study economics. It's a topic I find incredibly interesting.
We think Belony looks amazing! How would you describe your top horse?
I agree, haha! He's the best horse I've ridden. Belony is an eleven-year-old Hannoverian and I’ve had him since he was eight. He is quite nervous both at home and at events, but when he enters the ring, all that is gone. The little boy becomes a real fighter! He loves apples and bananas, and after he has jumped, he always looks forward to a treat.
What is the most important thing you have with you when you go out on a convention (except horses, of course)?
That answer is simple. She's called Alice and is my groom. I believe success is based on teamwork, and she is totally essential. Alice is also from Italy and she has worked for me for a year and a half now. We mostly get along very well, but if we disagree, the Italian temperament will probably appear in both of us. 😅
How would you describe yourself as a rider?
I’m discreet, but ambitious. A hardworking competitor who never manages to be on time.
What is your main goal for the next year?
The European Championship in Rotterdam, 2019.
Name three things you can’t do without?
Espresso, beer and glue. The last one is to help my boots stick to the saddle.
The Wolf of Wallstreet.
How do you keep motivation up?
I motivate myself by setting goals and then trying to reach them through good training. In addition, I like to stream the best shows in the world from home.
Best tips for young riders?
Work hard and don't give up, no matter how difficult it is and how long it takes. Everything is possible in this sport!
What is on the agenda now?
My next big show is the World Cup in Amsterdam towards the end of January. After that, I start preparing for the outdoor season.
Tell us a secret?
Hmm... secrets? I try not to have any secrets :)