Conference “Federigo Caprilli: always up to date”
Pariani Selleria among the speakers of the historical section
Monday, September 30 Caterina Mutinelli, fourth generation representative of the Pariani family, will sit at the table of speakers at the conference entitled ‘Federigo Caprilli: always current”, scheduled from 15.00 to 18.00 at the Teuliè Military School in Milan.
Pariani Selleria (still active for 120 years) studied together with Caprilli the first modern saddle. The saddle that revolutionized the world of horse riding, allowing the rider to ride in harmony with the horse. Caprilli’s method, in fact, requires the rider to adapt his or her trim to the movement of the horse and not the other way around, as was the case in classical riding.
This new method required a different saddle from those on the market until then and that is why Pariani Selleria, studying a new model, contributed to the birth of modern horse riding.
In 1903 in Corso Vittorio Emanuele 39, next to the Cathedral of Milan, there was “Mode Pariani, Biancheria Confezionata su misura, camicie, cravatte e guanti. Articoli inglesi”. This is what was well written on the sign-board above the shop window. Adolfo Pariani was its stylist and owner, a gentleman with a sterling character, amiable but never too confidential, polite but detached, from the real British aplomb. He was like that, because of his disposition or maybe even because at that time it was required a moderate style to manage “English articles”.
Among the articles he imported there were some valuable harnesses, and saddles that officers stationed in Milan and gentlemen who took part to horse-huntings of the Milanese kept admiring. At that time there were small saddlers who mass-produced saddles for the Army, certainly the best customer, with some small modifications for the saddles made for Marshals and those above in rank. The Heaven for quality saddles was exclusively on the other side of the English Channel.
During those years Federico Caprilli, a Cavalry officer based in Pinerolo, was developing a new system to ride. In few words the rider, in order to facilitate the horse during the jump, had to shorten the stirrups, lift and bring the reins, which were tight but kept shorter and forward them during the jump. Briefly he had to follow and favourite the horse’s movement. That was not an easy thing to do on a so called “English” saddle, as every saddle coming from the other side of the frontier was called, and, less than ever, on a rough troop saddle.
Making gloves and minutely sew the thin leather was a refined art. Pariani had the right craftsmen. Moreover, we must add the insistence of customers/friends, important people who rode and bought from him high quality clothes and English outfits. “Why Mister Adolfo don’t you try to make saddles and harness?” Pariani realizes the potentialities of the Caprilli ride style, a style that in order to yield to perfection, needs also a special saddle, fitting both the horses and the drastic changes of position that the rider must do as well.
So Pariani concentrated his efforts in order to obtain the best available advice, Caprilli’s own advice. The Captain from Livorno, who died when he was 39, in 1907, for a banal fall from a horse, gave to the renowned Milanese artisan all the useful information to make a saddle perfectly corresponding to the new market demands. This is how the Pinerolo model was invented, the model which took its name from a small town centre of the famous Cavalry School in Piemonte. The innovative saddle had shorter and more rushed forward flaps and knee blocks put on the same flaps. The 2nd November 1903, in the same year when the American brothers
Wilbur and Orville Wright built an engined airplane and flew for 206 metres revolutioning in this way the all world, in Milan there was the official inauguration of the saddlery with a first product which immediately did big conquests. Is there a better publicity than that done by a satisfed customer – especially if well known? Caprilli was enthusiast of Pariani saddles, like any other officers belonging to his enturage as well as all the old customers of the Vittorio Emanuele avenue, “hunters” and nobles without distinction. All these people, especially soldiers who went to ride to other towns, which were sometimes far, spread the news of the invention very quickly.
Turning over one of the pages of Gabriele D’Annunzio’s personal diary, dated 1906, besides the expences scrupulously annotated we can read: mineral water in casks, food, meat and vegetables for the dogs, forage and hay, wood, toothpaste, matches and cigars, and, among a lot of other things, we find also: 300 Lire to buy a Pariani saddle. In the same year, so only 3 years since the beginning of the saddlery activity, Pariani received at the International Exhibition in Milan the Gold Medal for his valuable works. After that, Pariani received a lot of testimonials from the Savoy family, for services he rendered, for the quality of the saddles he made for the numerous members of the royal family; he received also a Silver Medal at the XI Triennale as well as many other gratifications. Among the others we find the important Gold Medal of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Handcraft of Milan, in 1970 and, two years later, the Gold Medal of merit given by the Trade Union Office. Awards and recognitions which can be seen among the thousands of photos of horsemen, Amazones and jockeys hanging on the walls in the actual seat of the saddlery. Pariani saddles are also shown at the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnica of Milan.
Convegno “Federigo Caprilli: sempre attuale”
lunedì 30 Settembre 2019
Scuola Militare Teuliè
Corso Italia 58 – 20122 Milano
Ore 15.00 – 18.30