Longines EEF Series: Focus on Italy

06. Oct 2022 / Category: Press Release

Marco Porro is the Italian show jumping team’s coach and chef d’equipe.

Led by Marco Porro, Italy won the Longines EEF Series Final in Warsaw twice in a row, in 2021 and 2022. Thanks to this year's win Italy has now returned to Division 1. Marco Porro talks to us about his plans, about himself as a horseman and the drive that inspires his dreams.

Planning depends on the horses

“My vision – Porro says – is to train new horse and rider combinations, something we have already been working on for three years, with young riders and promising horses. In this training programme, I am relying greatly on the 2023 European Championships in Milan San Siro for which we are already working on a number of riders concentrating above all on fitness, hacking out and easier training courses. We work on the horses’ physical and mental fitness, spreading training over time so as to develop their potential without rushing them. I believe this is the basis for our sport because it is the horse that is the real athlete, the leading player, the champion. It is to the horses that we need to pay the greatest attention so that when ridden by good riders they can give everything they have. We need to take into account every aspect of the athlete/horse. So we should avoid pointless efforts involving continuous stressful travels, but implement planning studied to ensure constant growth while respecting the horses’ minds and bodies. I try and learn everything about our horses, every detail, because I must reiterate that they must be protected in their sporting progress.”

Focusing on the athlete-horse

“To achieve our objectives, it is necessary to have specific and real plans in order to take young emerging talents to jump at the big shows so as to gain ranking points, in which we are lagging, and pave the way to reach higher levels of our sport – emphasises Porro - We must be committed, and all together regain our position on the international stage. With a good plan that starts with our young horses, we would like to attract investors, plan the horses’ progress well and ensure they develop in a manner that is correct for each of them. We will try and have more ‘new’ combinations capable of jumping at the great shows”.

Porro’s life has been devoted to horses, his experience comes from the arena and from producing young horses, all of which have become a source of inspiration for today’s appointment.

“I have been a normal rider, but I do believe I have helped Italian riders a little to produce young horses allowing them to grow up and emerge. I like young horses a lot and always advise people to buy young horses. It is not the weekend results that matter, but calmly planning the horses’ career together with the riders, allowing them to develop, respecting their individual needs. We need to be farsighted and know how to stop when a horse asks us to, allowing us to understand its needs. Last year’s results proved we were right, winning Longines EEF Series Final in which we alternated developing combinations with long-established ones. It was the result of planning done with the horses and for the horses.”

Good management

“ I am always in touch with the riders and the veterinarians so as to be informed about the horses’ fitness and together we decide what steps should be taken, always based on the greatest respect, never forcing the horses or rushing them.

Let’s take for example really strong countries such as Sweden, which has an Italian vet on their team who is an osteopath, physiotherapist and massage therapist. We need to take examples from the best teams.  I like to learn, watch, understand and try and be there for our horses and our riders. I certainly don’t try and teach anything technical to our riders who have jumped in shows far bigger than any I have, but perhaps I can help them in a different way.

It is essential that our horses should learn to love us and we should love them. Their minds must be on the same wavelength as ours and this is only possible if we totally respect them. We must try and understand what they need and therefore prevent accidents to the extent this is possible by paying attention and caring for them. That way, at the end of their careers we can put them out to grass. That means having managed them in the best possible way,”

Looking to the future

“We are working hard and starting to see results and now have managed to return to Division 1. We have, however, left unchanged our project’s founding principle adding young riders and horses to the team, also running the inevitable risks there are, if one wishes to make progress. Next year will in any case be a difficult one. Our goal is an ambitious one but also within range, of qualifying for the Olympic Games, something Italy has not achieved for some time. Winning the final in Warsaw has made the group stronger and that marks our starting point.

I always try and look to the future and if I believe in a combination I do my very best to ensure they improve. This year we have taken things easy with the riders, trying to always remain united and strengthen the team.

We started off with Pisani, Camilli, Ciriesi and Garofalo last year and as a team we have progressed together .Francesca Ciriesi made great progress in the Longines EEF Series, the same applies to Antonio Garofalo and Emanuele Camili. This is a series in which 8-year old horsed ridden by expert riders can make their debut and vice versa. This helps less experienced riders to improve and move up towards 5* shows.

Our next objective is the European Championships. In February we will start training and make our debut abroad in Spain where it is possible not only to compete at shows but also train the horses in large open spaces and grass arenas. We will work on fitness and try and balance the shows we compete in so that when the time comes for the European Championships the horses will be fit and ready. This year has been a success and so we shall continue along this path.    

We must remain united and together enhance our national team.”


Marco Porro, born in Milan on April 26th, 1964, started to ride as a child training  with his father who owned an equestrian centre in Milan. Having devoted his career to show jumping he started by riding for other owners as a successful junior and young rider. Between the ages of 22 and 26 he worked with Philippe Le Jeune and after returning to Italy trained with coaches such as Henk Nooren and Hans Horn, starting his international career in show jumping while also producing young horses. He lives in Brescia with his family where he also owns his own yard.


By Susanna Cottica