Spain has produced its fair share of top show jumping athletes over the years. The foundation of their riding program begins with the fine-tuning of their up-and-coming juniors who have already started to make a name for themselves. JN’s Dominique Gonzalez sat down with one of those promising young riders, Ignacio Astolfi, during Week 2 of the Summer circuit in Vilamoura, Portugal.
Photo by Dominique Gonzalez
Ignacio Astolfi is no stranger to the winner’s circle. At just 17 years of age, he’s already claimed the win in the 1.45m Grand Prix of Pineda and the 1.40m Grand Prix of Palma del Rio, as well as finishing with top placings in the 1.55m Grand Prix of Carmona and multiple 1.45m World Ranking classes.
Riding is in Asolfi’s blood; his father and a good majority of his family, which includes 14 brothers on his father’s side, are all riders. Astolfi gives credit to his uncle, Luis Astolfi, for nurturing his passion for horses. “My uncle was very a good horseman and competed in the Olympics,” he shared. “He’s a great rider who is a really big inspiration for me.”
Luis Astolfi participated in four consecutive Olympic Games, starting with Los Angeles in 1984, where he finished 10th individually. He went on to compete at Seoul in 1988, Barcelona in 1992 and Sidney in 2000. It’s no doubt Ignacio Astolfi has been learning from an iconic showjumper.
Watch Luis’ round from the Olympic Games in Barcelona
The 2019 show season is far from over, but the young Astolfi states it has already been one for the books. “It’s basically been the best year of my career. The horses have been jumping amazing, and the clear rounds keep coming. My uncle helps ride my horses and finds many for me, and I’m really thankful for that.”
The Vilamoura by Summer Horse Show added even more accolades at to Astolfi’s growing resume. He and his horses produced wins and top placings in almost every class they entered, including the 1.35m Medium Tour Grand Prix and the 1.45m Big Tour Grand Prix.
Many of Astolfi’s top placings are thanks to his longtime partner Dillian-M. They’ve been together for over four years and have found quite a connection. “He’s been one of my favorite horses, one of a kind and special. Dillian has a lot of power and goes clean quite a lot. He has a great head, a lot of scope, and has taught me to be very confident in how I ride.” The confidence he was able to build with Dillian-M is easily seen in every round he produces.
Photo by Dominique Gonzalez
After wrapping up his time in Vilamoura, Astolfi will head to the north of Spain to seek more competition and cooler weather. From there he goes home base in Seville for several weeks to continue his training. JN wishes Asolfi the best of luck throughout the remainder of the 2019 season, and we will be keeping a watchful eye on the leaderboards for this rising young star’s name.