Horseback Riding

Passione, Part 1

March 28, 2011

Eleuterio Arcese’s passion takes the American Quarter Horse to a new level in Italy.

The Italian countryside is a picturesque backdrop for Eleuterio Arcese's ranch. Journal photo.

There are a lot of things Eleuterio Arcese has to be proud of in his life: a wonderful family, a successful business and countless awards in the horse show arena. But if you ask him what he’s most proud of, he’ll tell you it was hosting the 2005 Federation Equestre Internationale Reining Masters in his home country of Italy.

In September of 2005, more than two decades of AQHA involvement paid off for Eleuterio as reiners from 19 different countries converged upon the town of Verona, Italy, for what Eleuterio calls his biggest success.

Twenty-five years ago, a friend of Eleuterio’s gave his daughter a horse as a gift. The family took the horse to the first AQHA show in Italy and has continued to increase its involvement since.

Northern Exposure
According to Eleuterio, Italians aren’t known for their traveling spirit, and he said his success as a businessman was partly thanks to his willingness to move his job. He grew up in southern Italy near Rome and was working as a truck driver for a paper company when he was offered a job at a new plant the company built in Garda, in northern Italy between Milan and Venice.

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“The owner of the company really liked me, probably because I worked a lot of hours,” says Eleuterio with a laugh. “He bought my first truck, and I slowly paid him back. So when he offered me the opportunity to coordinate the new plant in Garda, I thought it was a great opportunity.”

Eleuterio headed north for his new job. Little did he know the new job would also turn him into a family man.

Sleeping in his truck after 24-hour shifts wasn’t anything new to the ambitious youth, and he soon met a young woman in the shipping department who could keep up with him.

“Fiorella is like me. She loves to work,” he says. “We worked incredibly long hours every day. One day, she didn’t show up for work, and I found out it was her birthday.

Roll It!

Enjoy an America’s Horse classic episode from the 2002 World Equestrian Games held in Jerez, Spain. See the pageantry and excitement as reining makes its debut in the World Equestrian Games.

“I worked extra hours to buy a handbag as her birthday gift, and then she invited me to share her birthday cake. Thanks to that bag, we got married,” he says with a laugh.

Two years after the couple married, their first son, Leonardo, was born, and in the midst of settling into family life, Eleuterio was asked to move again for his job. So the couple packed up and followed his work.

The hard work and sacrifices the family made soon paid off, because what started out as a truck-driving job turned into a business Eleuterio developed into one of the largest shipping companies in Europe. But before long, the family expanded its interests to something a little more western.

Newfound Passion
Eleuterio grew up loving the outdoors. He spent plenty of time roaming his family’s land at his childhood home near Rome. But when he took his daughter, Paola, to her first Quarter Horse show in Verona, he was hooked.

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“They are such sweet and wonderful horses,” he says. “You can trust them with anyone, and that’s an amazing thing.”

In 1982, Eleuterio built his 100-acre facility in a picturesque location near Verona. Local vineyards and the historic Castelnuovo del Garda overlook the lush landscape. It includes a unique two-story mirror façade indoor arena, outdoor riding pen, a veterinary clinic and a view from the broodmare pastures that’s hard to beat.

Eleuterio says he never imagined the facility would grow as big as it has, but jokes that building is another one of his passions. “The facility is in a great location, because if you go anywhere north, south, east or west, you generally travel right into this area,” he says. “I built this place so people would have a place to ride.”

Come back next week for part two of Eleuterio Arcese’s story!

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