Riding in Times of Corona - Valentina Remold Reports from Europe's Ground Zero, Italy

Wed, 04/15/2020 - 16:29
Valentina Remold at the 2018 CDI Achleiten in Austria :: Photo © Lukasz Kowalski

Italy is considered the ground zero of Europe when it comes to the spreading of the corona virus. The country has the highest death toll and its citizen have been living in a strict lockdown for the past six weeks. All social life has stopped, including sport activities. Eurodressage's photographer Lukasz Kowalski caught up with Italian Young rider Valentina Remold and asked her what life is on ground zero.

Italy in Total Lockdown 

On January 29, Italy detected and isolated its first coronavirus cases, two Chinese tourists, and the following day, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte immediately declared a state of emergency for six months, and made Italy the first country to block flights from China. Unfortunately the virus spread like wildfire and the country has received the hardest blows on its health care system.  As the lockdown in Italy is in its sixth week, Italy has counted 162,488 infected and unfortunately 21,067 deaths from the virus. 

Italian Young Rider Valentina Remold lives near Venice in the Veneto area, a provence adjacent to Italy's hotspot Lombardia, and like every citizen in the country, she has been isolated at home. 

"Due to covid-19 my complete daily routine has changed," said Valentina. "It all started at the end of February when my University was closed. Normally I went to Venice to attend my classes, but now we are doing online classes from home. At the beginning I liked it and I thought it wasn’t so bad, but after two weeks I already started to miss the contact with my class mates and my teachers, I even miss the train trip to the University."

Horse Life Halted

Remold at the 2018 European YR Championships
In 2019 the 21-year old Remold wrapped her time as Young Rider with her last show, so far, the 2019 European Young Riders Championships in San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy, in July. Aboard the now 13-year Hanoverian gelding Double Cool Darius (by Davignon I x Furst Heinrich) she finished 31st in the individual test.  

That year, Valentina had been competing Darius, as well as the 12-year old Hanoverian mare Ferrero Küsschen (by For Compliment x Sandro Hit) and her long-time equine partner, the 1'-year old Dutch warmblood Broadway (by Vivaldi x Clavecimbel) at international young rider level. 

In 2020 Valentina would make her transition to the senior ranks, but all competition plans have come to a full stop. 

"Luckily I could go riding till last week, because I was certified by the Italian Federation," Valentina explained. "This meant a lot to me because it made me think of something else for some time during the day. Not everyone in Italy had that opportunity.  Unfortunately as of this week I cannot go anymore to the stable. We are totally locked down. Fortunately I have great people which take care of my horses and keep me in contact."

Valentina is trained by Laura Conz, but she hasn't had access to her coach for a while. "I haven’t seen my trainer since the first week of March and I really miss training and shows a lot," she added. 

Sit This One Out

Valentina with Broadway
These are unprecedented times in Italy and in the world. For Valentina it has given a new perspective to life. 

"All this really makes me appreciate the little things much more, which I took for granted before," she confessed. "It is something I’ll never forget."

At the moment Valentina keeps herself busy  with "workout, study, trying to cook and watching Netflix," but mainly she is thinking of the days that will come when the measures will be relaxed and normal life can be picked up again. 

"From sometime I have not been able to go out with my friends on weekends or have a dinner out with my boyfriend and my family as usual," she said. "This is the thing I miss the most. Those are also the first things I wanna do when all this will end."

Photos © Lukasz Kowalski

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