He’s travelled so much in recent months that he had to get a new passport. We’re not talking about a globe-trotting businessman, but an elite competition athlete – and a four-legged one at that.
Dressage superstar Donnerbube 2’s FEI passport was so stuffed with stamps that his rider, Italy’s Silvia Rizzo, had to procure a new passport for him.
Rizzo and her Oldenburg stallion, nicknamed “Bubi,” have been delighting dressage audiences around the world. Most recently, in late March, the duo returned from a successful outing at the Chi Al Shaqab festival’s CDI4* in Doha, Qatar. The invitation-only event featured accomplished dressage riders from around the world and took place alongside top-class endurance and show jumping competitions.
“To be invited to Doha for their first CDI4* was a huge honor for me!” Rizzo said. “It was a totally new experience. We went to a country that I didn’t know, that has huge development and is very focused on bringing dressage there.”
Rizzo appreciated the show organizers’ generosity: travel expenses for horses and riders were covered as part of the invitation. She enjoyed her stay in a five-star hotel and spent time visiting the city and local attractions.
“The city in the night is completely transformed, with a million lights that you can see from far away,” she said. “So Bubi during his ‘evening walk’ was astonished by all these incredible lights!”
Rizzo described the facility in Doha as “totally new and really modern, with perfect facilities and organization.”
The Doha CDI came not long after the pair completed a one-month tour in South Florida in February. While in Florida, Rizzo, who rides for Italy but lives in Germany, visited Walt Disney World and had her photo taken with Mickey Mouse, but there just wasn’t room in the car for the horse. Instead, Bubi and Rizzo competed in a busy schedule of shows, including the prestigious World Dressage Masters Palm Beach CDI5*.
Before Christmas, the two competed in a World Cup qualifier in Stockholm, Sweden, and in November they went down centerline in a CDI4* in Wien Stadthalle, Austria. Earlier that month, they competed in Lyon, France and in September they traveled to Vienna, Austria, and Wroclaw, Poland. In July, they piaffed in Falsterbo, Sweden, at the CDI5* World Dressage Masters and in February and March they braved the cold in Wroclaw, Poland. And that was just 2012 and the first few months of 2013.
“Bubi and I competed really all over the world,” Rizzo said. “Italy, Poland, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Portugal, USA, Qatar, Czech Republic, Slovenia, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Germany and Holland. Three continents!”
Rizzo and her horse are currently 18th on the Western European League World Cup Ranking and second reserve in line to participate in the 2013 Reem Acra World Cup Dressage Finals to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden, at the end of April. The combination’s outstanding results in 2012 and 2013 enabled a giant leap on the 2013 WBFSH Dressage Horse Ranking. Donnerbube is now ranked 49th overall and contributes to the Oldenburg breed’s fifth place on the ranking list.
Rizzo said she is thrilled to be traveling the world with Bubi. “I am already a very active person and, of course, he is very active too,” she said. “I don’t really know if I infected him or he infected me with the travel bug, but we love travel! We love visiting new places and having new adventures. Everything you do with Bubi is a real adventure!”
“I am so lucky to have a travel companion like Bubi, who allowed me to attend the biggest shows all over the world,” she added. “I have so much pleasure riding among the top riders of the world. Thank you, Bubi.”