Italian dressage star to miss Euros due to head injury

  • Italy’s top dressage rider Valentina Truppa has been given the all clear by doctors following a serious fall in June. However, she has withdrawn from the FEI European Dressage Championships.

    Valentina suffered a serious head injury during the accident at Arezzo CDI. Although a hospital appointment last week (29 July) confirmed she has recovered well, she is not allowed to ride until September.

    “In September I will be back riding and every show, every result achieved will be a great victory for me,” she said.

    “A very difficult period of my life is over and I have so many huge thanks to give especially to my family.”

    However, this means she will miss next week’s FEI European Dressage Championships at Aachen (12-19 August). She has therefore withdrawn from the Italian team.

    The Italian equestrian federation announced the team on 23 July — prior to her hospital appointment.

    The team consisted of Micol Rustignoli (Corallo Nero), Ester Soldi (Harmonia), Leonardo Tiozzo (Randon), Valental Truppa (Eremo Del Castegno) and reserve Federica Scolari (Beldonwelt).

    The team selection was controversial as two of the team members Ester Soldi and reserve Federica Scolari, did not achieve the required results.

    The Italian federation (FISE) had set the qualifying criteria as scoring 66% in a grand prix test at a CDI three times between September 2014 and July 2015. Ester scored above that twice, while Scolari did not achieve it at all.

    Without Valentina it means only two riders have actually qualified.

    A statement on the FISE’s website on Tuesday (4 August) read: “Given the forced resignation of Valentina and after consultation with the head of the department of dressage the team will consist of Ester Soldi, Leonardo Tiozzo, Michol Rustignoli and Federica Scolari.”

    Valentina suffered a serious head injury when she fell from her horse at Arrezzo CDI on 7 June.

    The rider, who was wearing a crash hat at the time (not hat pictured), was aboard the seven-year-old HotPoint di Fonteabeti, a Hotline x Royal Diamond gelding, in a national intermediate I class at the show.

    Her father and trainer Vincenzo (Enzo) Truppa told H&H at the time: “She was riding a young horse who was scared by some workers still in the competition arena when the horse was supposed to enter for his test.

    “The horse reacted by spinning round and falling over, and Valentina fell off. Fortunately the helmet protected the base of the head, but the counter movement caused a blow to her head.”

    The 29-year-old was taken to the local San Donato hospital and was later transferred to a specialist hospital in Siena. She remained in hospital for two weeks.

    Last week she thanked the medical support she received.

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    “It is thanks to this top medical assistance that I will be back riding in less than three months from my accident,” she added.

    “It happens that you fall in life, especially people like me who of made horse riding their life.

    “The important thing is to stand up after a fall and immediately get back on the horse again. I will do it and be even more focused than before, you can be sure.”

    Valentina most recently represented her country at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy last year, riding Fixdesign Eremo Del Castegno — the horse on whom she was selected for this summer’s Europeans.

    She also represented her country at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where she qualified for the freestyle and finished 15th individually.

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