15 September 2023

Meet: Uliano Vezzani, Course Builder - Longines Global Champions Tour

Meet: Uliano Vezzani, Course Builder - Longines Global Champions Tour

1.      When did your course building career start? And when did you start working with the Longines Global Champions Tour?

My career as a course designer began between 1988 and 1990. I’ve been working with Global since 1990, the second year.

2.      How did you get into course building?

I began riding horses for Master Luciano Pavarotti… for 15 years, traveling the world with him who loved horses very much but unfortunately, I had to interrupt my career because of the death of my father so I had to enter the family business with my brother. However, very soon I realized that it was not my job.

Unfortunately, the equestrian world runs very fast and if you stay out for a few years is difficult to re-enter onto. However, I had this strong passion, so I started to ride again. A few years after, during an event in Jesi (Marche region in Italy) there was heavy rain, and the grass arena was unusable for the Grand Prix.

The only thing left was the sand arena, but the director didn’t confident to build the GP course in such a small arena so I offered myself to do that with a couple of colleagues. I did it and at the end I also won the Grand Prix - laughing!

This one was my first course to build. When I came home, I made a report to the federation. It was an accident when I got into course building but from there, I decided to take the exam and, once passed, my career as course designer started. I met many people at the beginning of my career and I had the chance to learn from them, Mastronardi was my teacher so today I can say that I have had the best teachers of the time. 


3.      Is the Rome event a special one for you?

It is the “cherry on top of the cake”: a beautiful event organized with the Longines Global Champions Tour team, so, very high professionalism, great organization and real sport. But most of all I feel at home: a great emotion that I cannot wait in a wonderful location so full of history for each Italian who loves equestrian because the Circo Massimo was the home of equestrian sports in Ancient Rome.


4.      From when LGCT started, to where it is now, how has your course building changed?

My approach changes every year, especially thanks to LGCT. The evolution of show jumping goes on at an incredible speed. The best horses and riders in the world, extraordinary locations - the ultimate in show jumping. This circuit offers a great opportunity for growth not only to horses and riders but also to us technicians, me first.


5.      What are the top three considerations you have when building a course?

The horse. The first thing for me is the horse, so rider comes naturally. Then there are special locations for which it is necessary to adapt the course to the characteristics of the arena: in the LGCT circuit, we go from grass to sand, locations on the seashore, very small fields.

You must always be very careful to build courses in absolute respect of the horse.

After this comes the show: after thinking about the health of the horse we can think about the entertainment. First there is sport and then the show: if we can do sport and entertainment together, we hit the goal. That's the aim of the LGCT and what we try to reach every time.


6.      What is the most exciting Longines Global Champions Tour class that is in your memory?

 I think I have reached 110 to 115 stages with the Longines Global Champions Tour. I remember them all but no one is the most exciting for me because every week is the most exciting.

My vision is clear. Only the best for the best.
Jan Tops - Founder & President