The year that 29-year-old Lorenzo de Luca had in 2016 was the kind of year that some riders spend their whole lives chasing. His rise on the Longines FEI World Rankings to No. 17 in the world was fueled by an unbelievably consistent string of results aboard the horses of Stephex Stables.
It’s hard to know where to begin with de Luca, who was voted the NoelleFloyd.com 2016 Breakout Rider of the Year by a large margin. He is from Italy but trains and bases himself in Belgium, with the aforementioned Stephex Stables as his primary supporter.
He rode a string of horses to top-performing results throughout 2016; the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse Limestone Grey; the 10-year-old Belgian bred Halifax Van Het Kluizebos; the 13-year-old Belgian bred Ensor de Litgrange LKXII, among others.
His true breakout moment of the year came in July at the Royal Dublin Horse Show CSIO5*. De Luca won an unbelievable succession of five CSIO5* classes, including the week’s two biggest crowns: the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup of Dublin (along with Team Italy) and the Longines International Grand Prix of Ireland.
Since his summer run, de Luca has continued on form, with wins at St. Moritz CSI5*, Spruce Meadows Masters CSI5*, Paris CSI5*, Olympia CSI5*, Mechelen CSI5*. . . . his achievements are nearly too many to count.
Through it all, de Luca has not lost his humble nature; he is a gracious winner with a smile for everyone and gratitude for the success that has come his way. He is a hardworking professional who left behind a once-skeptical family and his home in Southern Italy to follow a dream that came true in spades in 2016.
How They Ranked in the Vote
Lorenzo de Luca 41% – 1,187 votes
Hunter Holloway 26% – 740 votes
Daniel Coyle 13% – 373 votes
Audrey Coulter 11% – 309 votes
Andrew Kocher 10% – 281 votes