Italy’s Emilio Bicocchi is a new member of the IJRC’s Board of Directors.

Emilio Bicocchi, an athlete who belongs to the Italian Air Force, is part of the backbone of Italian show jumping having won many important Grands Prix and Nations Cups as well as three Italian Championships. Emilio has accumulated a great deal of experience competing, growing up with an inborn passion thanks to his parents who are both active in the equestrian world and important personalities particularly in Italian show jumping. In addition to his excellent international career, Emilio has a great passion for young horses, devoting himself to them from the very beginning of their training through their experience at shows and taking some all the way to the top of the sport. The horses Emilio rides on the international circuit have in fact all been produced by him.

Emilio Bicocchi recently becomes a member of the Board of the International Jumping Riders Club: “I believe that being a member of the IJRC’s Board is an excellent opportunity for growth as well as a prestigious honour. I agree completely with the principles and values that the Club represents and hope to also provide a contribution,” says Emilio.

On the basis of his experience in competitions at all levels, from national shows to CSIs and CSIOs as well as in preparing young horses, and now as a member of the IJRC’s Board, Emilio expresses his vision of our sport today, his reflections on how to broaden the base attracting more people of all ages to horses emphasising the sport’s ethical values. These are his opinions.

Spreading our values

“When speaking of show jumping nowadays, there are many subjects to be addressed and one of the most important is the protection of our sport in absolute terms as well as the values in a sporting environment. Shows and all that surrounds them must respect the real value of the horse and rider combinations. All this is summarised in the concept of meritocracy and the common sense that concerns all professions.  

The welfare of horses is a priority that is constantly discussed but should perhaps be made more practical than theoretical since the protection of horses must always be at the centre of attention, not only among riders, but also among all those involved in the equestrian sector. This is one of the main principles on which the Club is founded; it is our duty to protect and evolve sport within the framework of the greatest respect for horses who are the real players.

Our commitment, however, also involves make the equestrian world known “to the exterior”, disseminating equestrian sport for the values it represents, above all the relationship of trust established between horses and riders. We must be committed to this and communicate beyond our own world the importance horses have in our lives as well as what they mean to us. These are values that are “normal” for us but unknown to those who do not belong to our world.

A commitment for us all

Another of the Club’s very important roles is the management of relationships between riders and institutions, first of all with the FEI to which all federations belong. A great deal of progress has been made this year, but always finding common ground between a basically political institution, with the task of ensuring the great equestrian sports world actually works, and the riders who have a practical sense of things as they experience these issues on a daily basis, remains a delicate and complex task. It is therefore necessary to present the riders’ points of view, addressing all the problems that characterise our sport and try to ensure they are shared by those at the top and this task is not a simple one. Everyone, institutions, athletes, trainers, officials and all those working in this sector must always reason focusing on a common denominator: the horse, the main player in all our lives. The horse must be the starting point, it is the horse that must ensure everyone agrees whatever the different positions of the parties may be.

We must be committed to managing our world in the best possible way in everyone’s interest, so as to allow our sport to evolve according to the ethical values that must have inherent in it.

The path to be followed

It is pointless to say that what gives life to our sport, the motivation for becoming a rider, is love for horses. Without love for horses and a solid passion it would make no sense to practice this sport; due to the life we lead we would all give up much earlier. Hence, there is no need to advertise love for horses since one must have it inside. What we need to do is channel this passion in the best possible way, creating solid bases in the instruction and training of young horses. Like everything else, equestrianism is in continuous progression at all levels, from great top-level sport to the medium, national and amateur levels. Evolution is a natural process that is part of all things in life, it is part of progress and one must know how to adapt if wishing to keep up with the times. One must, however, interpret and adapt to change using common sense and with an awareness of one’s own abilities so as to improve and be up to it. This applies to everyone and the better we become and the more wonderful riding and equestrianism will become”.


IMAGE: Emilio Bicocchi with Sevillana Del Terriccio © Stefano Secchi