Born in Normandy, France, Yann Candele’s parents encouraged both he and his older brother to actively pursue sports. Once Candele tried riding at the age of 10, horses became his main focus. A promising junior rider, Candele was twice named to the French team for the European Junior Championships, an international event for riders’ aged 14-18. Competing throughout Europe and sponsored by Samsung (France) Candele got his first taste of the big time.
Upon completion of his final year of school, Candele moved to Japan to work for Katsumi Yoshida, owner of thoroughbred racing’s Shadai Farm. Candele won the 1991-1992 Asian World Cup League, making him the only non-Japanese rider to date to ever accomplish this feat. Unfortunately, quarantine requirements for his stallion, Orkey, prevented Candele from competing at the 1992 World Cup Final in Del Mar, California.
Candele was forced to return to France to complete his required civilian service where, luckily, his athlete status allowed him to work in the cavalry unit. Having served ten months, Candele returned home to Normandy to work for Jean-Pierre Vilaut who provided Candele with top mounts including Palestro II, a Selle Français stallion who had been leased to the fourth-placed Spanish team for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
With Palestro II, Candele won three grand prix events, including CSI-A Cannes, to qualify for the French National Championships where they placed eighth overall.
In 1999, Candele moved to North America and a two-week visit with Canadian Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze soon turned into a full-time job of coaching, riding and training at Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stables in Schomberg, Ontario. While competing on the Canadian circuit, Candele continued to represent his native France and, in September of 2001, made his first Nations’ Cup appearance at his favourite Canadian show, the CSIO Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament. In 2004, he represented France at the World Cup Final riding Mill Creek Sweet Dream.
In 2007, Candele opened his own training business, Normandy Hills, in Cheltenham, Ontario, and began riding a string of top horses, including Grand Prix mounts Mustique and Bequia, for owner Susan Grange. Soon after gaining his Canadian citizenship, Candele was named to his first of many Canadian Equestrian Team appearances. In his major games debut, Candele rode Pitareusa as a member of Canada’s fifth placed team at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.