Wardrobe malfunctions and bad habits: five minutes with Vittoria Panizzon *H&H Plus*

  • The Olympic rider on croissants, running late and a wardrobe malfunction.

    The Gloucestershire-based Italian event rider has finished in the top 20 at the Olympics twice and won team bronze at two European Eventing Championships, as well as finishing in the top 10 at Badminton.

    Who was your first pony?

    Blù-Blù was a small riding school pony in Italy who I rode when I was five. He was grey with a hogged mane and I adored him despite his occasional habit of ducking out of the arena under the fence, while adults ran to rescue me as I was swept off by the rails! He would wait for me outside the café while I went in to get water.

    If you could have any horse in the world, which would you want?

    I just hope I get to jump my 2012 Olympic ride Borough Pennyz again one day. She is in foal to Timolin this year which is exciting, but I long to get that special feeling again.

    What’s your most annoying habit?

    My motto is “punctuality is the virtue of boredom”. I am over-optimistic about how much I can cram in and end up running late; however, I do always turn up!

    Which famous person would you invite to dinner?

    For a really easy-going evening of laughter after one of our many long, stressful days – Michael McIntyre.

    Do you have a dog?

    I have a collie called Teddy. He does not care about boring sheep, he has horses to herd and takes his job assisting me working the horses in all weathers very seriously. To his credit, however, he is immaculately behaved hacking down roads and in the house.

    What’s been your worst wardrobe malfunction?

    At the London Olympics I lost my hat cover across country, and it was only 30 minutes before getting on to showjump that I realised I hadn’t sorted an alternative. With no tradestands and everyone else in their team hat covers so unable to lend one, we had to do some rather urgent stitching to alter a spare one. Years later on Facebook a lady mentioned she had picked it up with her daughter. I could have done with it for showjumping, but I am delighted she has used it for Pony Club ever since.

    What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

    Bought a little farm near Ledbury five years ago and took on a very steep learning curve running my own yard and land with the help and advice of many friends.

    What kind of sleeper are you?

    I struggle to wake up, though lockdown taught me that was mostly because I was permanently tired. I am a night owl and prefer to work late. I used to cope on little sleep because we often have to, but after a few injuries I have realised I now need healing sleep. Luckily the eventing lifestyle has taught me to be able to power nap anywhere any time to recharge.

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 31 December 2020

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