Gwendolen Fer and Les Bleus keep the Cup at home
You could almost get used to the Marseillaise ringing out at Haras du Pin. For the fifth consecutive year, France has won the Nations Cup which was run this weekend as part of The Grand Complet event. Gwendolen Fer dominated the discussion in the individual competition.
Gwendolen Fer’s big smile as she stood on the top step of the podium after her victory in the Eventing CCIO4*S certainly pleased the 2500 spectators gathered today under a shining sun at Haras du Pin. Riding Traumprinz (Elkadi II), the Frenchwoman beat New Zealander Tim Price who was riding the former 7-year-old World Champion Happy Boy (Indoctro), and German rider Josephine Schnaufer-Völkel with Pasadenna 217 (Primeur's As).
After Thibaut Vallette and Qing du Briot, it was Gwendolen Fer and Traumprinz's turn to win Le Pin CCIO4*S
Beyond joy, the feeling that prevailed in Gwendolen's mind this afternoon was undoubtedly relief. The relief of finally being rid of the curse that had been following her since the beginning of the season: she was eliminated on her first outing with Traumprinz, then forced to withdraw from Pompadour due to a case of rhinopneumonitis (EHV-1) in her stables, and excluded from the Olympic race after her fall in the CCI4*S of Saumur with Romantic Love (L'Arc de Triomphe). "Technical problems but also some bad luck," Gwendolen summarized. "And then the tide finally turned (Editor's note: She had already won the CCI4*S of Jardy a month ago). As I say all the time, you have to stay determined and not give up. In any case, these are the values I try to pass on," she confided after her two great performances. Because in addition to winning the event with Traumprinz, she also placed fourth with Romantic. Thus, she leaves with 2800 euros in prize money - which has been increased after riders' complaints last year - to which there is an added bonus after her victory in the Nations Cup. Gwendolen and Romantic Love were chosen by Thierry Touzaint to be part of the French team alongside Sébastien Cavaillon, Ugo Provasi and Stanislas de Zuchowicz.
France keeps its grip on Le Pin
After the dressage, France was in the lead ahead of the five other nations involved. Was this victory easy to achieve? Not really. The show jumping test had caused quite a few faults yesterday, but the French were still leading by a small margin. However, after the eliminations of Sébastien Cavaillon and Sarah d'Argouges (Quite Easy) who fell at the penultimate obstacle of the cross-country test (both are doing well), the three other riders of the French team had no more room for error today. Pierre Le Goupil's course wasn’t really difficult but it wasn’t easy to get back within the time; only seven combinations managed to do so. Among them, Gwendolen and Romantic Love, as well as Ugo Provasi and Shadd'Oc (Espoir d'Oc). Stanislas de Zuchowicz and Covadys de Triaval, another son of L'Arc de Triomphe, had a 1.6-point time difference, but that wasn’t enough to worry the French. They won this Nations Cup by more than 10 points, coming in ahead of the Netherlands and Sweden. It’s a good omen for upcoming events.
Les Bleus, surrounded by The Netherlands and Sweden on the Nations Cup podium
The last rehearsal before the Europeans?
Pour For Gwendolen and her compatriots, this was indeed one of the last rehearsals before the European Eventing Championships which will take place in Avenches from September 23 to 26. "It’s possible, and if that is the case, it will be with Romantic since Traumprinz is not qualified," explained Gwendolen. But before the selection announcement, there is still the Grand National stage which will again be held in Le Pin from September 1 to 3.
Already team bronze medalists at the Tokyo Olympics, Les Bleus still have some assets to deploy for the European Championships, the 2022 Worlds and the Paris 2024 Games. Covadys de Triaval, Dame deCoeur Tardonne (Lando), who placed fifth with Camille Lejeune in the 4*S, Diabolo Menthe (Scareface de Mars) and Nicolas Touzaint, as well as Dgin du Pestel*Mili (Nartago) and Donatien Schauly who competed in the CCI3*S are some of the many rough diamonds waiting in the wings.
Photo credit: Les Garennes.