France Names Squad for FEI World Championships at Pratoni

#EVENTING #ATTELAGE FEI World Championships Pratoni – Roma 2022 –

Après les Mondiaux de Herning, direction Pratoni…

Posted by FFE – Equipe de France on Friday, August 19, 2022

Adding their squad to the Pratoni party are the French, historically among the more consistent podium finishers in World Championships history and looking to add some more hardware to their medal cabinet in Italy next month. A 6-combination squad has been named for FEI World Championships for Eventing, which begin in earnest on September 14 at Pratoni del Vivaro. The French are the current defending bronze medalists in both World Championship and Olympic competition, and we’ll see the return of one pair from the Tokyo team in Nicolas Touzaint and Absolut Gold HDC.

Nicolas Touizant (FRA) and Absolut Gold. Photo by Sally Spickard.

The named horses and riders are as follows, in alphabetical order:

  • Tom Carlile and Darmagnac de Béliard – nine-year-old Selle Français gelding (Canturo x Palme de Moyon, by Barbarian). Owned by S.C.E.A. de Beliard and Jean-Jacques Montagne, and groomed by Camille Coton.
  • Héloïse Le Guern and Canakine du Sudre Z – 12-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Felton du Mont*Charles de Gaul x Listia du Sudre, by Duc du Maurier). Owned by Bénédicte and Philippe Le Guern, and groomed by Bénédicte Le Guern.
  • Cyrielle Lefèvre and Armanjo Serosah –12-year-old Selle Français gelding (Romando de l’Abbaye x Jolyjo Serosah, by Sassanian). Owned by Charline Guerin, and groomed by Soizic Lefèvre.
  • Gaspard Maksud and Zaragoza – nine-year-old British-bred Sport Horse mare (Cevin Z x unrecorded dam). Owned by Martin Thurlow and Jane Young, and groomed by Lucy-Anna Westaway.
  • Astier Nicolas and Alertamalib’or – 12-year-old Anglo-Arab gelding (Summer Song x Dambine, by Prince Ig’Or). Owned by Aliette Forien, Nicholas Paul, and the rider, and groomed by Laura Schmitt.
  • Nicolas Touzaint and Absolut Gold*HDC – 12-year-old Selle Français gelding (Birkhof’s Grafenstolz x Belle Meralaise, by Verglas). Owned by Haras des Coudrettes, and groomed by Aure Coulange.

France’s Nicolas Touzaint and Absolut Gold HDC. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Olympic team bronze medallists Nicolas Touzaint and Absolut*Gold HDC are the arguable lynchpins of this team — they finished sixth individually at the Games, and were tenth individually at the 2019 European Championships, where they were part of the fourth-placed French team. Nicolas’s own team experience is extraordinarily extensive: though this will be just his second World Championship (he last competed in a WEG in 2006 with his five-star champion Hidalgo de l’Ile), he’s competed at five Olympics and eight Senior European Championships. Most notably, perhaps, is that he’s been European Champion twice — and the second time he managed it, back in 2007, the Championships were held at Pratoni.

Astier Nicolas and Alertamalib’Or. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

He’s joined by Tokyo teammate Astier Nicolas, whose selected horse, the 2017 Seven-Year-Old World Champion Alertamalib’Or, might come as something of a surprise to those who had expected to see five-star partner Babylon de Gamma on the list. But although Alertamalib’Or slipped out of the spotlight for a not inconsiderable length of time due to injury, he’s been on exceptional form since his return, winning Saumur CCI4*-L this spring and taking 13th in the huge final selection trial at Haras du Pin CCIO4*-S this month. This will be a second World Championships for Astier, who took individual silver and team gold at the Rio Olympics with Piaf de b’Neville; he previously contested the 2018 WEG with former ride Vinci de la Vigne, finishing seventh.

Each of the four remaining combinations listed will be making a World Championships debut: Tom Carlile, the most experienced team rider of the four, has two European Championships under his belt (2015 and 2017) and was the travelling reserve for Tokyo, though none of those appearances were with the nine-year-old gelding Darmagnac de Beliard, with whom he was fourth at Bramham CCI4*-L in the horse’s level debut this summer. While he’s relatively inexperienced with just nine FEI starts on his record, the striking horse has finished in the top ten in eight of them.

Heloïse Le Guern and Canakine du Sudre Z complete their three-phase climb to take victory in Bramham’s Under-25 CCI4*-L. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

24-year-old Héloïse Le Guern makes her Senior championship debut in Pratoni after representing France a total of five times at Pony, Junior, and Young Rider European Championships. Her partnership with the former Cedric Lyard ride Canakine du Sudre Z saw her take top honours in Bramham’s coveted under-25 CCI4*-L this year, and they impressed for sixteenth place in the Pratoni test event CCIO4*-S back in May. British-based Frenchman Gaspard Maksud also made his French team debut this year, riding at Aachen with the exciting Zaragoza. They earned a spot well in the hunt after an impressive dressage performance, though a very late stumble on cross-country ended their weekend there early — but they redeemed themselves in the final selection trial at Haras du Pin this month, taking fourth place out of over 110 of the world’s fiercest competitors.

Cyrielle Lefevre and Armanjo Serosah. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

A string of very good cross-country performances over tough courses has earned Cyrielle Lefèvre and Armanjo Serosah their first call-up. They debuted at CCI5* at Pau in 2021, finishing clear and inside the time for twentieth place; this feat was followed by a confident run at Badminton this spring. Their top-twenty finish with a quick clear at Haras du Pin cemented their reputation as a swift, reliable pair in this phase — something that’ll prove vital over Pratoni’s tough hills.

The six named combinations will now travel to Saint-Martin de Brehal from the 27th of August to the 9th of September for a final training camp, during which the team, individual, and reserve allocations will be decided.

“For this final preparation stage, we have selected six couples who have run well this season and have been competing regularly for two seasons,” says French chef d’equipe Thierry Touzaint. “These horses are good gallopers, which is important because I think the cross country will be demanding. We know the site well; the course will have a lot of elevation so we will physically prepare our horses as well as possible. The training course is going to be used for that, but also to refine the dressage tests and make the last small adjustments to the showjumping. The novelty is also the arrival at the course of two young riders, who have an interesting profile for the future. This is the reason why I want to throw them in the deep end. In the end, it will be the five couples whose horses are in the best shape who will go to the world championships. The names will be announced on September 5.”

Gaspard Maksud and Zaragoza seal the deal with an impressive performance at Haras du Pin. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

“The Federation provides our riders and handlers with the best experts in their fields to optimize the talent of women, men and their horses,” says Serge Lecomte, President of the French federation, in a translated statement. “Within the French collective reigns a blue spirit, which pushes towards performance with the essential support of the owners and the teams who surround each one, made up of trainers, grooms, veterinarians, farriers… Together, well coordinated, we are stronger.”

“Our National Technical Director is the conductor of all these converging energies that allow France to maintain its rank in the battle of nations… Long live sport and may our best find their way to gold medals!”

The French federation’s National Technical Director, Sophie Dubourg, continues: “Less than two years from the 2024 Paris Games, we are leaving for these Eventing World Championships with the dual objective of obtaining medals, but also of seasoning pairs and riders in major championships. Our leaders will be keen to get on the podium after their fourth place in the teams four years ago at Tryon. Unlike the format of the World Equestrian Games and the Worlds in Herning a few days ago, these two championships are held a few days apart. If it is a pity not to benefit from the emulation created by this multidisciplinary side, there is no doubt that our teams in France will be able to find all the motivation to perform.”

“Participating in these events would not be possible without the support of the owners. We encourage them to keep their horses; their role is essential to allow riders to practice at the highest level and to excel under the colors of France. The federation supports high-potential couples through personalized support dedicated to them and those around them.
We hope that these Worlds will smile on us and we will fervently encourage our Blues!”

Final entries and team/individual designations are due to the FEI on September 5. Want to see more from #Pratoni2022? Click on over to our Ultimate Guide to FEI World Championships for more!