06 March 2017

The FEI World Cup vaulting final and Anna Cavallaro - like all great pairings, it’s almost unimaginable to have one without the other. 

Whether its Holmes & Watson, Laurel & Hardy or Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers – The two just go together!  


Since the inception of FEI World Cup™ Vaulting, Italy’s golden girl has been a constant feature, competing at all 7 FEI World Cup™ Vaulting finals, taking 3 titles, including this year's top slot at Dortmund over the weekend.


Anna’s first FEI World Cup™ final was in Leipzig in 2011, after performing in the first round she spent the night in hospital with a stomach issue. Despite being released at 9am the next morning she went on to compete in the final at noon.  



It has been just crazy to come here and win – a dream!

Her sheer grit and determination was rewarded with a podium finish, taking 3rd place despite the less than ideal conditions.

"I remember my first World Cup final very well because of the circumstances.  I spent the night in hospital then went on to compete in the final round, I didn’t try anything in the warm-up, I just said to Nelson ‘I’ll go in the competition arena and do the freestyle."


Anna Cavallaro and lunger/trainer Nelson Vidoni’s relationship has proven the test of time, having worked together for 20 years, the two have become a formidable pairing – facing any challenge thrown at them.


"Nelson knows me extremely well.  He knows when I am nervous or tired and he helps me in these moments.  

When I am in competition, just before I get on the horse, the last thing he says to me is ‘you are the best, you can do it!’ He gives me the power for my freestyle."



During the FEI World Cup™ vaulting final in 2012, Anna suffered a fall in her dismount,  resulting in a 5th place finish. But the very next year she was back on top form and went on to lift the FEI World Cup™ title for the first time, alongside Nelson and her long-time equine partner, Harley. 


"My favourite memory is still the first year I won the FEI World Cup™ in 2013 in Braunschweig, as it was a complete surprise to me."


Following the retirement of star horse Harley, who took Anna to her two previous FEI World Cup™ wins, this year Anna has returned to the top alongside 11 year-old Monaco Franze 4, who in his first season, has proven to be an exceptional talent. 

“This year has been so special, being here with our new horse and new team.”

Anna came out fighting in Dortmund debuting a new routine that wowed the crowd and judges alike. 

"I said to Nelson, we may not have the best feelings from last year in Dortmund with Harley but this year has been so successful with Monaco, we are incredibly happy."


Anna faced tough competition from a highly competitive field including 2016 World number 1 Kristina Boe and fellow Italian Silvia Stopazzini  - finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.


"While 2013 may be my most memorable World Cup, this year has been so special, being here with our new horse and new team.

It has been just crazy to come here and win – a dream"


Will we see Anna Cavallaro in the 2017/2018 World Cup Final?


"I don’t know quite yet, as I want to have full preparation for the World Equestrian Games in 2018, so we will just have to wait to see whether we can make it for an eighth time."


Watch this space…


Text by Hannah Eccles

Images by Gustavo Lorenzo