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The crowd silenced at Rome’s Piazza di Siena. The only sounds were those of the braying white horse, wisps of wind through the surrounding pine trees in the Borghese Gardens, and a swallow’s shriek. The horse and its rider began their gallop toward the barriers, seemingly too slow to vault the parallel bars, but their speed and coordination were far greater than they appeared to those of us in the grandstands.

With gravity-defying grace, they cleared the first set, then continued on the circuitous course to the second, third, and beyond, each successive barrier higher. By the time the horse and its jockey reached the final six-bar-high barrier, they seemed to arc together higher than animal and man could go, pouring over and through the air, landing suredly. The dust they had kicked up in their wake and the applause of the crowd confirmed their accomplishment.

Pier Luigi Loro Piana rose from his seat, applauding the skills of the rider and his horse. As deputy chairman of his namesake company (since 2013 when it was acquired by LVMH) which has been the title sponsor of the illustrious equestrian events for twenty-three years, he recognized this ride as one to be remembered. The fashionable crowd, frequent attendees of Europe’s most illustrious equestrian events concurred, as they stood from their tables beneath the tents to cheer.

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This story appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of MILIEU.