Frank, Francesco, Virginia and Elisa Grassi.
WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD Elisa Grassi GELDERN, GER MANY with Jeff Wallace
hat does passion for everything Arabian horse feel and look like to you? My life is pretty much everything Arabian. My house has paintings and sculptures of Arabian horses everywhere. My daily work is about Arabian horses. Frank and I are busy thinking “Arabian” most of the time. Some of my best friends are in the Arabian horse world. Through the Arabian horse, I have met great people, had great experiences, great happiness and sometimes great disappointments too, but I guess this is just life. The Arabian horse changed my life completely. When I met Frank I was working in the marketing office of a big company in Italy that had nothing to do with horses. My life changed quiet a lot since then, and I would do it again. Where were you and how old when you saw your first Arabian? Describe the experience please. My father had horses all his life, though he did not start with Arabians. He had some warmbloods, and one day he decided to breed one of his mares to an Arabian stallion. The resulting foal was so different from all he had bred before that the decision to start breeding purebred Arabians was made really fast. I grew up with horses. I remember my dad letting me ride an older mare around my grandpa’s farm while he was cleaning the stables. I was maybe 6 or 7 years old … and loved it.
your family? It’s great to stand in the winner’s circle with the horses and people you love. It’s the result of much team work involving lots of people. It’s the reward of dedicated and passionate work and the vision of great clients we are lucky to do the job for. Describe your dream horse. As you know, and as we have discussed a few times, I like pretty horses! I like very pretty horses! My dream horse? White, pretty face, elegant—I love the WH Justice look. When he was with us, I loved looking at him, he was such a sight! He could very well represent my dream horse. Name two or three horses on your farm that you feel a personal connection to and what does that look like, if you know what I mean. The most personal connection I had with a horse was with Vervaldee. When I worked in Italy at Fontanella Magic Arabians, and I saw him coming off the truck the first time, I fell in love with him. If you had met him, you would know what I mean. That was Vervaldee’s thing! Each and every person that met him felt the same. There was something special about him, something that touched your soul. He was one of the most handsome and sweet horses I’ve ever met. I spent hours with him at the farm in Italy.
What are your favorite ingredients to cook with? Being Italian, pasta is my favorite dish. Ingredients? Everything tastes good with pasta, doesn’t it?
There are, of course, others I feel particularly close to. Bess Fa’Izah was the one bringing me to tears in Paris a few years ago when she won the Senior Champion Mare title. She is a special mare for all of us.
What does it mean to you to stand in the winner’s circle with a beautiful horse, an amazing client and
What makes you happy in life Elisa? My children … above everything else!
What is it like to be Italian? I love it! Being Italian is a combination of many things; it’s loving history (you see history in every corner), it’s loving good food, nice weather, nice clothes. It’s being stubborn, passionate, determined … I love Italy and I love Italians.
E LI SA What horse shows do you enjoy the most and why? I really enjoy Aachen. The quality there is so high, the atmosphere can still get very exciting, and I think it is one of the very few non-political shows. The best wins, period. Have you ever thought about judging? No! Is raising a daughter different from raising your son? How? Very much! Virginia has always been
a very girly girl; she’s always been a very well mannered little person! We travelled the world with her, and she’s always been amazing. Francesco is just wild.
GR ASSI Now that he has started walking, he is driving us all crazy. Let’s see how traveling with him will be … Do you love dressing your kids up for events that you attend? Oh yes! I love shopping for children clothes. Where does your passion for design come from? I think I always had it. My college education was in advertising and public relations. I studied in Milan
Elisa with daughter Virginia.
WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD
imagine not having horses in my life. I love to see my kids growing up having horses around. They both love them, and I hope they will continue loving the Arabian horse just as mom and dad do. Do you like doing someone else’s laundry or just your own? Well, Jeff, I don’t mind doing someone else’s laundry … I did before as you know! Why? You need some help with yours? Do you love foaling out mares? If yes, what about it do you love? Luckily we have a wonderful and incredibly devoted person at the farm that foals out mares, so it’s not my job to do, but I remember doing it with my dad for many years. Spending nights in the stable with him waiting for the foal to come. Fighting with my mom because I should have gone to bed and to be fresh for school the day after, but I always managed to sneak out and sit in my dad’s car and go with him. I loved watching babies coming into the world. Photo by Bukra
Elisa with Emandoria at the 2013 World Championships in Paris.
for 4 years and loved it! I got to know some very creative people there. I never could have dreamed of putting my work and my passion together! Is it not the best thing?
Have you ever shown a horse? What was it like? This will make you very jealous! I did, yes! I showed Badawieh AA to the Champion Amateur Mare win at the Egyptian Event Europe in Lanaken a
What qualities did you see in your mom as a young girl that you try to exhibit yourself as an adult woman? I always say that if I can be half as good with my kids as my mother was with us, I’ll be very happy. I have a wonderful mother. She had me when she was only 19 years old. She’s my mom and my best friend. She is a great woman and a great mother. She is so devoted to her kids. We are all grown up now, but she still worries for us like she did 30 years ago. And besides being a great mom, she is the best grandma I could wish for my kids. Do you have heroes? No. One of the “side effects” of growing up is that you often lose that naive side children have. How has the Arabian horse enriched your life? Horses enrich my life in every possible way. I love my job, I love being involved with them. I could not
Vervaldee and Elisa.
Sheikh Ammar, Aj Siyadah and Elisa.
few years ago. That was so much fun! Thank you to Sheikh Ammar’s kindness in letting me take one of his best mares to an amateur show (I don’t know how many would have done it), and thank you to the staff at Frank Spoenle Show Training who helped me get ready for it. I had a blast! Funny thing about it, is that Virginia hated it! She clearly thought that it is Dad’s job … not Mom’s!
If you could bring two horses back to life who would it be and why? For sure, Vervaldee would be the first one! I would bring him back to life, healthy and sound and keep him close to us! The second one would be El Shaklan. I’ve heard so much about him, and he is so present in many of my favorite pedigrees, that I would love to see him in person. n