The French team simply achieved a feat by winning the FEI Eventing Nations Cup of Le Pin (FRA) for the 4th time in a row thanks to the exceptional performance of Thibault Vallette, Thomas Carlile, Christopher Six and Karim Laghouag. France also trusted the first five individual places, a result never seen before at the Grand Complet! After a close duel on the cross country test, Thomas Carlile finally lost to Thibault Vallette who won the individual gold.
The Grand Complet once again offered magnificent moments of sport. After a morning shower, the final test of the first FEI Eventing Nations Cup of the season was held in excellent conditions. The sun even appeared during the morning, as a sign to the French squad. Under the watchful eye of national trainer Thierry Touzaint, the French had the mission of not letting go and adding a fourth trophy to their record. One after the other, Karim Laghouag, Christopher Six, Thibault Vallette and finally Thomas Carlile signed courses without penalty over fences, while their opponents accumulated them. The Netherlands managed to limit the damage, which allowed them to double Britain and take a nice final 2nd place.
Individually, the French have made a real hit. See: Thibault Vallette wins, ahead of Thomas Carlile (2nd) and Gwendolen Fer (3rd). The woman based in Toulouse (south-west) was thrilled after her cross-country, and enjoyed the comeback in great shape of her horse Traumprinz. The beautiful bay had not competed since last October, when they finished 2nd in the CCI4*-S of Lignières (FRA).
The statement of Lieutenant Colonel Thibault Vallette, double winner of the CCIO4*-S Coupe des Nations FEI of Le Pin
"Qing is a horse I know by heart" Thibault Vallette said. "We took part together in many big events. We were hoping to go to Tokyo this year so we were obviously a little disappointed when we learned that there would be no Olympics. This victory is a great compensation. The horse is in good shape, that is what's important. Winning individually is a bit of a icing on the cake. Running for the team is something I really like. This is the first Nations Cup we’ve been riding in a long time. It replaces the championship a little bit, to be able to exchange advices, to go up for each other. When you win as a team, it’s always a great moment to live and share. Le Pin is a competition that I really like and that suits Qing well. A demanding field, hilly, a real cross-country. The ground was perfect, as was the organization. Every means has been put in place to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible, and that is a real success."
An overview of the French weekend with Michel Asseray, National Technical Director in charge of the eventing at the French Equestrian Federation
"When we coach the French team, we always want to win. With this containment, we had lost a little our objectives without major tests. It was a little unsettling for the riders. This beautiful show is a good deadline that allows us to properly assess where we are. We decided to prepare ourselves well for this competition, which the riders did. Beyond the victory and the podiums, it was the way that was very interesting. The riders mastered their subject. Winning at the Grand Complet is no small feat. It’s a beautiful, hilly terrain. Beyond the technical questions of course designer Pierre Le Goupil who is a gifted. Satisfaction, that’s it: it’s very well built, very well ridden so it’s remotive. We’ve had a boost! Before, we were looking for goals. Now, we are all over motivated. Everyone talks about the upcoming calendar, everyone wants to come back in a month (for the national show, Editor's note). We really needed these victories.
There was a real field ot top riders and horses. The foreign riders who were there did not come to visit the stud. They are people with talent, horses, almost No. 1 for everyone, so we savour it.The next deadline is in September right here in Le Pin, then in October with three consecutive weekends in Lignières, Le Lion d'Angers and Pau. France has fought hard to maintain international competitions and we want to help French organizers as well as foreign riders. We’ll try to end the season like this. We are going to cross our fingers so that the Olympic Games can take place because when we see the result today, I am not going to say that we had an Olympic team but it was a nice team and it makes us want to go to Tokyo. And then there is emotion because we think of Thais (who died unexpectedly last year in Le Pin during the national show in September, Editor's note), and this victory is for her."