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Giulia Martinengo Marquet: “The idea of a timeline has vanished”

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / 1clicphoto "With more time, it is even more clear to me than before why we work with horses: Because we love what we do," Giulia Martinengo Marquet says. Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / 1clicphoto.


Text © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen



Giulia Martinengo Marquet – one of Italy’s best riders – finds herself in the middle of one of the worst affected areas of the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak: In northern Italy between Bergamo and Brescia. "The situation here is really critical,” Giulia tells World of Showjumping. “When everything exploded back in February, I was still in Spain at the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour in Oliva Nova. As our tour there was coming to an end, and all shows in Italy were being cancelled, we moved on to the Sunshine Tour," Giulia continues. "However, the situation got out of hand in Spain as well and everything got called off. We had to rent a car and drive home; it was impossible for us to get flights back to Italy."

Now back at home, Giulia and her family are in lockdown. "I am a positive person, but I think that I have never before felt as lucky as I do right now," Giulia says. "We live in the countryside and in our stable we are living quite a normal life. For a rider like myself, the daily routine has not changed all that much. As I am a member of the national A-squad I can still ride, we are at the moment the only group in Italy allowed to do so. In such times, more than ever, one acknowledges that having chosen this type of lifestyle really makes a difference. Around our area, the neighbourhood community has really come together and organised everything so that food gets delivered to our homes – with a couple of phone calls we can get what we need. I feel truly lucky and privileged to lead a normal life amid all this when I know that close by people are locked in their apartments." 

 Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / 1clicphoto "It is not for us to decide, we have to accept this situation,” Giulia Martinengo Marquet says. Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / 1clicphoto.

While the situation in Italy has gone from bad to worse, Giulia still manages to look for light at the end of the tunnel. "I also think there can be something positive coming out of this crisis. It seems to me that no matter what kind of life you lead or job you have, we all tend to rush in today’s society. The same happens with our horses. Even though I think I usually take a lot of time with my horses, I have tripled that in the last week. Finally, I have time to follow the four-year-olds we have bred in Sgh Stables. I have time to clean up. Just to tidy up is so important; you put order in your mind and order around you. At this point, we are slowing down in everything we do and the pressure as well as the idea of a timeline has vanished. With more time, it is even more clear to me than before why we work with horses: Because we love what we do." 

On Tuesday this week, the IOC announced that the Olympic Games 2020 will be postponed – but that came as no surprise to Giulia. "First of all, health should always be a top priority. And secondly, thinking solely about our sport, I tried to imagine how we could have had horses and riders ready without shows. Who could jump the Olympics after such a long break? It would have been impossible. The original timeline would not have been in compliance with the Olympic spirit. Sport wise, postponement was the only solution," the 41-year-old rider says.

"This year, my plan was to enjoy some good shows and maybe do a few Nations Cups – which I really love," Giulia tells about her pre-corona goals. "The 2020-aim was to develop the nice group of eight-year-old horses that I have. I was lucky with my tours in the beginning of the year as my horses had five weeks of shows, they jumped in different arenas and proved that they are all brave, clever and nice. Even if a long break now may be a bit boring, it does no harm for my real focus. Three months of rest would be possible to handle, but let's hope it will be less than that," she says. "Either way, it is going to be what it is going to be – I am that kind of person. My aim now is to keep my horses fit and happy and ready to go when the moment comes. It is not for us to decide, we have to accept this situation.”


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