Rodolpho Riskalla is a Brazilian international dressage and grade V para dressage rider, who combines sport with a role at Paris fashion house Christian Dior.
Brazil’s Rodolpho Riskalla with Don Henrico at the 2018 World Equestrian Games.
Rodolpho was born in 1984 into a family with strong equestrian links. He rose up through the sport and took individual gold at the 2004 South American young rider championships and has wins and top placings at international grand prix to his name.
He relocated to Paris and hoped that training and competing in Europe would help boost his chances of competing at a home Olympics.
After travelling to Sau Paulo following the death of his father in 2015, Rodolpho contracted bacterial meningitis. He spent a month in a coma, lost his right hand and some fingers on his left, and had both legs amputated below the knee.
He immediately switched his focus to para dressage and achieved his dream of riding at the home Paralympics just eight months after his life was changed by illness. He finished 10th individually with the Weltmeyer gelding Warenne and was part of the seventh-placed Brazilian team. The FEI presented him with its 2016 “against all odds” award in recognition of his achievement.
Rodolpho’s break-out moment as a major player on the international para dressage scene came at the 2018 World Equestrian Games, where he won two silver medals (individual and freestyle) with the Don Henrico.
He also competes the Don Frederico stallion son in able-bodied international dressage.