16 things you need to know about the Badminton Horse Trials course designer

  • He’s the Italian who gave the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials cross-country course a monumental shake up in his first year as designer in 2014. Now that 56-year-old Giuseppe Della Chiesa has unveiled his 2015 creation to the eventing world, it seems only right that you get to know him a little better. From espresso to Fiats, H&H sheds some light on the man behind one of the world’s biggest four-stars.

    1. His full name is Giuseppe dei Marchesi della Chiesa, and he is the son of a marquess and marquise.

    2. He has a penchant for coffee and South African white wine and starts each day with a strong black espresso.

    3. He has a special place in his heart for Fiats — his wife Virginia is the great granddaughter of Giovanni Agnelli, founder of car giant Fiat.

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    4. He read economics at university in Rome, which is where he originates from.

    5. He has a 30-year association with Badminton Horse Trials and when he was first married to Virginia he would stay at Badminton House with her and his mother-in-law, Maria Sole Agnelli, a great friend of the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort.

    6. Guiseppe ran all four of the Della Chiesa family’s farms (where he grew up) alongside his riding career.

    7. At one time, he was Italian national eventing Champion.

    8. Guiseppe was once a jockey, riding in his first race a year before he could legally drink in Italy. He clocked up around 200 races per year — both Flat and steeplechase — but later gave up race-riding when he was 25 years old.

    9. He came over to the UK to train with three-times Badminton winner Ginny Leng. While he trained, his horse was stabled in the iconic stable yard at Badminton House.

    10. While preparing for his first Badminton in 1992, Guiseppe’s horse Tiroauflane, pecked and cut his knees at their final prep-run at Brigstock which meant he didn’t compete at Badminton or the Barcelona Olympics that year which he was shortlisted for.

    11. He evented for 20 years and has since gone on to enjoy showjumping instead.

    12. Guiseppe is the current chairman of the FEI eventing committee.

    13. Four years after he gave up eventing, he was back at Badminton as the Technical Delegate (TD).

    14. He has designed on the national Italian eventing circuit, and South Africa (where he also has a house) and was the architect of the 2005 European Championship at Pratoni del Vivaro.

    15. He developed an early computer scoring program for eventing at the Young Rider Championships in Turin in 1991, and is a self-confessed  computer ‘geek’.

    16. Guiseppe is father to a 31-year-old son and 29-year-old daughter.

    Badminton Horse Trials runs from 6-10 May 2015

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