Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility THE WHOLE FRENCH TEAM IN LONGINES EQUITA LYON’S RING | Equita Lyon



26 October 2023

French dressage hasn’t been in such good shape for a long time. This summer, France managed to qualify two members of its team in the Grand Prix Freestyle and four in the Grand Prix Special at the FEI European Championships: a first in the history of France’s dressage riders at this level of competition! A few weeks earlier, the French team won the Nations Cup in Rotterdam. Its members will now be competing in the World Cup leg at Longines Equita Lyon on 2 and 3 November.

French dressage is riding high! There is unprecedented enthusiasm for the discipline, due to the good results achieved this summer by four amazing riders, led by a selector and Chef d’Équipe who has made his group believe in themselves again.

Our French riders are just as good as the rest! They had to realise that,’ explains Jean Morel, national coach and Chef d’Équipe of the French dressage team, and his partner Laurent Gallice, National Technical Adviser, as they talk about the four riders, Morgan Barbançon, Pauline Basquin, Alexandre Ayache and Arnaud Serre, who are due to compete in the FEI Dressage World Cup leg at Longines Equita, Concours Hippique International. on 1 November. ‘The response from the public has been incredible. The riders received a lot of compliments at the end of the European Championships. It was the first time they had received so many! The biggest German media took an interest in Pauline, the Dutch media interviewed Morgan, and they all asked us about this transformation in French dressage. They can't comprehend that in just one year we've achieved what we have today, with the same combinations. I've always told them that it's the result of the work of these riders, who we've been able to motivate and who needed to become confident.


The discipline’s stars perform very well in the big ring in Lyon, the judges' scores are on the rise, and the French riders will have their work cut out against Denmark's Nanna Skodborg Merrald, currently number 3 in the FEI World Rankings, Germany’s Isabell Werth and Frederic Wandres, respectively World number 5 and 8, Sweden’s Patrik Kittel, World number seven, the Netherlands’ Thamar Zweistra, World number fifteen, and Belgium’s Larissa Pauluis, World number twenty-four. The foreign riders have also pulled out all the stops in terms of their horses. Judge for yourself: the second-best horse in the world currently, the chestnut stallion, Blue Hors ST. Schufro ridden by Nanna Skodborg Merrald, Bluetooth OLD, the seventh combination in the world rankings with Frederic Wandres, and Emilio 107, Isabell Werth's loyal partner, will all be competing.

For the FEI World Cup, riders have carte blanche, provided they comply with the sporting guidelines issued for the Olympic Games [...]. The advice in this case will be not to take any risks,’ says Jean Morel, ‘and to show how the horses have progressed. My role as Chef d’Équipe is, among other things, to promote the French combinations, particularly to the judges, so that they take a positive interest in them. I think we're succeeding in this challenge: the riding we present is a new kind of riding, very fluid, very light, in the style that the judges want to see. Now our horses are in self-carriage and their muscles are working harmoniously. We like it and that's why our French riders are becoming more and more important in world equestrian circles. However, I'll say it again: for the winter season, we’re currently advising our riders not to 'step on the gas' just yet: we'll do that when the horses are fully ready for it.

In order to showcase dressage to as many people as possible, Longines Equita Lyon, Concours Hippique International’s organisers have decided to open the FEI World CupTMleg in Lyon to all the visitors. On Thursday 2 and Friday 3 November, spectators who have ‘exhibition’ entrance tickets will discover the best dressage riders in the world, during performances worthy of the greatest specialists. On Thursday, the doors of the exhibition will open at 8 am to let spectators be comfortably seated in the stands at 8.30 am.

. The FEI Dressage World CupTM Grand Prix presented by CRE-ARA
: on Thursday 2 November, at 8.30 am
. The FEI Dressage World CupTM Grand Prix Freestyle presented by FFE - Generali: on Friday 3 November, at 4 pm.

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