The Superman showjumper with a style all of his own

When a slightly gangly-looking chestnut named Chalou trotted into the Castle Arena at Royal Windsor under Italian showjumper Emanuele Gaudiano, none of us was prepared for what we were about to witness.

For when this nine-year-old stallion jumps, he transforms into a spectacular super hero — flying over the fences in a style all of his own, in what can only be described as the Superman pose.

This horse knows where the poles are and will go all out to avoid hitting them, even if it means stretching out his forelegs further than seems possible. He soars over 1.60m oxers and verticals as though he’s tackling the open water at Hickstead — and we simply love him for it!

This super athletic son of Chacco Blue, out of a Baloubet Du Rouet mare, didn’t quite hit the top spot in the CSI5* classes at Royal Windsor, but came away with a very creditable third and fifth — proving that this aerodynamic jumping style can be a massive advantage against the clock.

Emanuele is a police officer with the Corpo Forestale Dello Stato (State Forestry Corps) and has ridden Chalou for the past two years. Together, they have picked up several five-star wins including at Antwerp and Doha, and secured victory in a four-star grand prix last summer.

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He is clearly a valuable addition to the Italian rider’s impressive string, which includes Caspar 232, on whom 31-year-old Emanuele finished third to Steve Guerdat (Bianca) after a tremendous jump-off to decide the Rolex grand prix on Sunday (13 May) in front of The Queen.

“I didn’t expect to win,” said the Germany-based Emanuele. “I knew there were very quick ones to come and ‘Caspar’ isn’t the fastest horse, but he did a great job for me.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

This week’s edition (17 May) features a full report from Royal Windsor Horse Show, including all the showing, showjumping and dressage action. We go behind the scenes with the Household Cavalry as they prepare for the royal wedding, plus check out our interview with Irish eventer Padraig McCarthy.