The spoga horse Country Check (3): The horse industry in Italy
Picture: Giampaolo Mastro
spoga horse is the world's leading B2B trade fair for the horse industry. An important plus point for visitors and exhibitors: Its internationality. Exhibitors from 33 countries and visitors from 72 countries took part in spoga horse Autumn 2019. The networking of business partners across national borders is an important mission of spoga horse. That's why in the new series "spoga horse Country Check" we take a close look at the most important sales markets for spoga horse.
Please note: These are partially abridged versions of the articles originally published in the trade magazine "ReitsportBRANCHE" by Sebastian Reichert. If you are interested in the complete publications, you can order the Country Check series at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Picture: Ronald Plett
In many Italian regions, such as Tuscany, Sardinia or the outskirts of Rome, there is a hundred-year-old tradition of horse breeding," says Luca Rinco, one of the owners of the company Rinco Impianti Ippici, market leader in the construction of equestrian facilities in his home country. The Italian cowboys are also legendary - the Butteri in Tuscany and Lazio. "The horse breeding of many different breeds is deeply linked to the grown specialities of the respective region", adds the second Rinco co-owner Roberto Rinco. In 2011 Italy celebrated its 150th birthday as a nation. Victor Emanuel II had proclaimed the Italian Kingdom in Turin on 17 March 1861. And a horse played such a decisive role in the birth of the "boot" country that its monument, erected in 1876, is still honoured today. The grey mare "Marsala" was buried on the Mediterranean island of Caprera. Her master, the freedom fighter Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882), had the following inscription engraved on the horse's gravestone: "Here lies Marsala, whom Garibaldi carried to Palermo in 1860".
Picture: Dorota Kudyba
Political and economic facts about italy
Rome, proclaimed the capital of Italy in 1871, is home to about 2.9 of the 61 million inhabitants. Apart from the eternal city, there is only one other city with over a million inhabitants - Milan (1.3 million). According to this, Naples (972,000), Turin (889,000), Palermo (686,000) and Genoa (610,000) have the largest populations. Italy is divided politically into 20 regions (regioni), each with its own government. Five of these regions - namely Sicily, Sardinia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige and Valle d'Aosta - have a special statute (statuto speciale) with extensive financial autonomy.
Most of Italy's territory is located on the Apennine Peninsula, which is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. In addition to almost 2000 kilometres of national borders (Germany: 3600 kilometres), the country has a 7600 kilometre coastline (Germany: 1200). In between, Italy is a divided country. Relative prosperity in the north, low economic growth in the south, high unemployment, hardly any infrastructure and corruption everywhere: the Mezzogiorno - the south of Italy - is struggling with a multitude of problems. According to a recent study by the Svimez Economic Institute, the economy in the south grew by only about 13 percent between 2000 and 2014. That is almost half as much as in Greece.
Germany is the most important trading partner of the fourth largest EU economy in terms of both exports and imports. In 2017 Italy exported goods worth 448.1 billion euros and imported goods worth 400.7 billion euros. 2.1 percent of the gross domestic product of 1715 billion euros is generated by agriculture, forestry and fisheries. With about 49 million hectolitres, Italy is the world's largest producer of wine and, with 442,000 tonnes, the second largest producer of olive oil worldwide. Cheese production (Parmesan, mozzarella, pecorino, ricotta) and the cultivation and export of oranges, lemons, tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes and melons are also economically important. Overall, Italy is the ninth largest agricultural exporter in the world.
Picture: Steve Buissinne
Perhaps another interesting value from the economic data: Compared to the rest of Europe, Italians eat a relatively large amount of horse meat - according to figures from the EU statistics agency Eurostat, one kilo per capita and year; by comparison, the figure in Germany is around 40 grams.
Horse riding and association structure in italy
The umbrella organisation for all riders, drivers, vaulters and co. is the Federazione Italiana Sport Equestri (FISE), founded in 1926, with about 130,000 members. The trend is upwards. According to its own information, the association had only 22,000 members in 1998. By 2000, the number had more than doubled, and by 2009 the 100,000 mark had already been clearly broken. 350,000 horses live in Italy. 20,000 of these are competition horses. The national horse industry employs around 50,000 Italians. There are 5000 breeding farms in the country.
Picture: Markus Spiske
"While in Germany equestrian sport is already dominated by medium-sized companies, in Italy it is rather the more affluent people who ride," says scene expert Heike Schmidt, HS Events & Communication, who was active for the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Frankfurt for many years. The typical rider in Italy is still not only female, but also wealthy. For Monika Grasso from the riding boot manufacturer Sergio Grasso in Verona, the lack of a broad base in society is not only a question of finance but also of mentality. "The children might want to ride, but the parents are often afraid. It's a bit like swimming. If you can't do that, you don't necessarily go to the swimming pool with your children".
The situation is different in a city in Tuscany: The most traditional horse race in the world - the Palio of Siena - is a world cultural heritage site. Since the 12th century, the districts of Siena have been competing for honour twice a year (on 2 July and 16 August) in the 90-second race. 60,000 spectators then crowd into the main square of the Tuscan city to watch the breakneck race on bareback horses.
Picture: Anastasia Borisova
The Piazza di Siena (CSIO Rome) has a great modern tradition. It is an international 5-star show jumping tournament that takes place in Rome every year in May. The first jumping tournament was held in 1922. At that time the jumping seat, as it is common today, began its triumphal march. The decisive pioneer of the so-called light jumping seat was a cavalry captain in the Italian army - Federico Caprilli (1868-1907). It was not until his lessons that the cavalry school trainer established the new seat, which allowed the rider to follow the horse's movement and to relieve the horse's back during the jump - the Italian or natural riding method. Caprilli - the Caprilli test is named after him - is one of the reasons why show jumping has been able to develop as a special discipline that requires special training.
Equestrian sports shops in italy
Picture: A Different Perspective
The specialised trade in Italy consists mainly of rather small shops. They are - in terms of square metres - considerably smaller than most equestrian sports shops in Germany, explains the traditional company Tattini. The company with its beginnings in 1860 from Spoleto near Perugia is a specialist for leather riding boots made in Italy. There are no larger chains with many branches. However, the French company Decathlon has a strong position in the Italian equestrian business with around 100 retail outlets in the country. Decathlon sports shops also sell clothing, equipment and accessories for riders and horses.
Italy @ spoga horse
Picture: Peggy Choucair
At spoga horse 2019, 41 exhibitors from Italy exhibited, 2.5 percent Italian visitors took part. According to the exhibitor survey, Italy is one of the most important sales markets for a third of all exhibitors.