A chat with Silvia Torresani

Italy’s Silvia Torresani, an integrated medicine veterinarian, talks about her work with horses on the Swedish team

Sweden is without doubt currently one of the most competitive nations in the world of show jumping. It is an exemplary nation not only for its sporting growth and results achieved in top events, but for the extraordinary management of the horses combined with very scrupulous progression and programming.

The extraordinary wins and longevity of their horses’ careers are the result not only of the riders and the horses’ individual qualities, but the outstanding synergic team work done to ensure that the horses are always in the best possible mental and physical form.

It is a team of outstanding professionals. One member of this team is the Italian vet Silvia Torresani.

Silvia lives in Northern Italy where together with her husband Dr. Massimo da Re, she manages the Bellavista farm, breeding, training and rehabilitating horses. After graduating in Veterinary Medicine from Bologna University, Silvia then embarked on a series of studies abroad that completed her education and resulted in her becoming an integrated medicine vet. Chiropractic methods, acupuncture, physiotherapy and the TTouch method are ‘specialisations’ that therefore complete her veterinary training and added to her personal gifts of sensitivity and empathy with horses paving the way for her.

We asked Silvia Torresani about the manner in which the horses are managed with reference also to the Tokyo Olympics where they looked in seriously exceptional athletic form.


The strong points of a team

“The first thing is planning – explained Silvia – They are all very experienced riders, so they know their horses well and know what to do to get to an important show in good shape. Considering the quality and fitness of these horses, it had been known for some time that those three would probably be selected for the top team for Tokyo and so by the end of 2020 and early in 2021, all three riders started to work towards that event, So they planned exactly what was right for their horses and I have to say that they were perfectly fit when we got to Tokyo.

I spent almost twenty days with these horses, starting with the quarantine period in Germany including the journey to the Olympics and was able to get to know them in-depth so as to arrive in Tokyo with the horses on top form as far as I was concerned.

Helping them before the flight and as soon as we landed in Tokyo was essential so as to then work on details with the riders; I tried to establish a specific treatment plan for each horse. The better I get to know a horse the better I understand its needs.

A horse’s life

How are these horses that jump in so many shows taken care of?

“They are treated as horses – answers Silvia – They do the work planned for them, everything is super well organized, but they are always put out to grass living the lives of horses. All In is always with another horse, they are very good friends. King Edward and Indiana also lead the same kind of life, they are always out at grass living the lives of horses.

They are also trained outdoors as much as possible.

So their preparation is not only in an arena, but also, as is correct, alternating training, hacking out a great deal, because this way one doesn’t only get them physically fit but also mentally fresh and last but not least coordination is also improved.”


How I keep them fit

“I’m specialized in integrated medicine and therefore I apply chiropractic care, acupuncture and physiotherapy.

With the team my work is of course seriously planned.

The work I do is very detailed and it’s my job to relax the horses and have them physically as well as mentally ready, because once they are physically fit one must worry about their mental state.

In Tokyo I treated all the horses after the competition, so, since classes were held in the evening I would stay in the stables until 1 AM because all the horses did stretching as well as acupuncture so as to relax them and allow them to sleep well, because people never think about how horses sleep but rest is essential for them too so as to recover energy for the next day.

It is essential to get to know horses and establish a relationship with them. So, I always work with the horses loose in the stable and never tie them up, because I try and establish a relationship of reciprocal trust.

If they trust me they allow me to do my job. For me this is great proof of trust and a great achievement. It is nice because horses tell us many things¸ each in its own way they will tell us how they feel physically and mentally.”

This is a wonderful job and one that is very satisfying because it allows one to communicate with horses. Of course one must have sensitivity and a degree of predisposition as well as scientific training. It is certainly an essential element within a team taking its horses to top-level shows dedicating every possible attention to them and basically treating them ‘as horses’.


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