Lorenzo De Luca is currently ranked 19th in the world, and 11th in the FEI Jumping World Cup standings. “In terms of stirrups, I use a range from the Italian brand Royal Rider, including the Royal Rider T3, which has an offset shape, allowing the foot to free itself quickly in the event of a fall. The entire Royal Rider range is designed with the rider in mind, for optimum performance and with good safety features,” he says.
“The T3 is a safety stirrup, but really does enhance rider positioning and balance too. It is key when you’re jumping higher fences that you are perfectly balanced, whatever stride the horse is on. I personally ride with a slightly longer stirrup length than some riders, and it works well for me and my height. I like to be able to get my bodyweight over the wither to allow perfect balance when jumping, and a highly engineered stirrup like Royal Rider allows me to keep the ideal lower leg position.
Adjustability in the canter
We asked Lorenzo for his top tip, in terms of moving a horse up the showjumping levels, and he says having adjustability in the canter is key. “You need to be able to move the horse around in the canter, and have some adjustability of pace.”
“For example you need to be able to take a slower, more collected canter, and then release the energy when a surge of power is needed, without losing the balance from the hindquarters,” he explains. “It should feel as the rider as if you have sufficient, ‘contained’ power at your disposal. Your aids and body movements help the horse set up for the fence, whatever the height.”
“The horse needs to be powering from the quarters into your hand, so you feel as the rider as if their ‘engine’, the power source, is in front of you – once you have this ‘leg to hand’ feeling, you can ask the horse to collect and sit back on the quarters, or go forward to cover more ground, as you approach a fence.”
In a previous article for the website World of Showjumping, our ambassador spoke about a stirrup length that comfortably allows you to keep your heels down, which helps ‘lengthen’ your lower leg, and creates an increased contact area on your horse’s sides.
The article reminds us that it’s easy to bring the heel up when trying to apply more leg pressure, e.g. to kick the horse onwards, but this actually makes your leg less effective.
Having more of the inside of your calf in contact with your horse’s side increases the contact area, and subsequently maximizes communication, and your security in the saddle.
Lorenzo De Luca’s top rides include Amarit d’Amour, Scuderia 1918 Halifax van het Kluizebos, and Ensor de Litrange LXII.
Lorenzo is based at Stephex Stables, in Belgium.
He is a regular member of the Italian national team, and competes wearing an Italian Air Force military uniform; Lorenzo is known for his horsemanship skills, and balanced riding style.
Photos by Massimo Argenziano