Host Nation France Reveals Updated Paris ‘Long List’

Nicolas Touzaint and Absolut Gold HDC. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The home-side French defensive has updated its list of potential horses and riders for next year’s Paris Olympics, following a review of summer and autumn events and results.

“This new ‘On Horseback for Paris’ list is made up of horses who performed well this year,” explains eventing team chef d’equipe Thierry Touzaint in a translated statement on the French Equestrian Federation website. “We also have horses of Olympic caliber, who will have to qualify in 2024 by meeting the Olympic minimums in international 4* long format events to qualify for selection. Among them, Darmagnac and Alertamab’Or are two experienced horses who were injured in 2023 and placed on rest. From the start of the year, they can regain their best level and have their place in the French team.”

“We have six riders who have been very consistent for several seasons and now have experience of one or more championships (Olympics, World Championships or European championships),” continues Thierry. “They are the most confirmed and appear to be team pillars. We also have couples who are a little less seasoned but who are on the rise and have had a good season in 2023.”

The fifteen horses and riders on the updated list are:

  • Thomas Carlile and Darmagnac de Béliard , owend by Scea de Beliard and Jean-Jacques Montagne
  • Sébastien Cavaillon and Elipso de la Vigne, owned by the Elipso Syndicate
  • Luc Château and Bastia de l’Ebat, owned by Haras des Châteaux and Laure Sudreau
  • Karim Laghouag and Embrun de Reno, owned by Sarl Ecurie Karim Laghouag, Guy Bessat, Camille Laffite and Philippe Lemoine
  • Karim Laghouag and Triton Fontaine, owned by Philippe Lemoine, Guy Bessat, Sarl Ecurie Karim Laghouag and Camille Laffite
  • Stéphane Landois and Chaman Dumontceau*Ride for Thaïs, owned by S.C.E.A. Ecurie du Cerisier Bleu
  • Gireg Le Coz and Aisprit de la Loge, owned by Frédérique Grand and Augustin Grand
  • Camille Lejeune and Dame Decoeur Tardonne, owned by Sarah Gospodnetic and the rider
  • Maxime Livio and Api du Libaire, owned by S.d.f Api Club
  • Benjamin Massié and Édition Fonroy, owned by Jean-Luc Van Hoenacker and the rider
  • Gaspard Maksud and Zaragoza, owned by Jane Young and Martin Thurlow
  • Astier Nicolas and Alertamalib’Or, owned by Aliette Forien, Pascal Ravery, Nicolas Paul and the rider
  • Astier Nicolas and Babylon de Gamma, owned by Marielle Grivot Bize, Etienne Grivot, Bénédicte Nicolas and the rider
  • Nicolas Touzaint and Absolut Gold*HDC, owned by Haras des Coudrettes
  • Nicolas Touzaint and Diabolo Menthe, owned by Mézard Sports and Françoise Niclaus

FFE’s National Technical Director, Sophie Dubourg, says, “We really have ambition for the next Olympic and Paralympic Games. We can count on successful couples who have an efficient ecosystem and on owners committed to France. The assessment that was drawn from the underperformance that we had on the last Olympiad highlighted two problems: emotional instability in the teams and staff and the health problems of the horses. We therefore further accentuated the longitudinal monitoring of the horses. The riders and grooms are very attentive to the team of veterinarians who accompany them in an individualised way throughout the year. We have also strengthened the support in terms of the mental preparation of riders and staff. Mental trainers individually accompany riders in each discipline, staff members and collectives.”

The French team won bronze at the 2023 FEI European Eventing Championships. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The ongoing evolution of the high-performance lists, she continues, is undertaken “according to objective criteria of short-term performance and potential. However, it is not forbidden to bring in other couples in the coming months. We have already seen the very rapid ascent of horses generally associated with very experienced riders. The pressure of the JOPs is great and it is even more so for this edition in France. We learn every day to master it a little more. We have extremely motivated riders in all disciplines. The framework of Olympic and Paralympic competitions is quite rigid. It will be necessary to remain very focussed and not disperse with external stresses. We will have to be very attentive to best protect athletes during the Games.

“In this preparation phase, we try to keep the group alive, to strengthen ties with the owners. We also strengthen our communication by choosing to show the backstage of the preparation to embark everyone on this Olympic adventure.”

Thierry adds, “We are establishing the winter training program for everyone and are starting to plan the start of the competition season which will resume in the spring. We will be able to narrow the list once all the horses have returned to the show grounds. Beyond the horses who must obtain their qualification in a long format, all will need a qualifying result on a CCI4*-S in 2024 to qualify for selection. The idea is to obtain it as early as possible in the season so as not to have to chase qualification as the selections approach. We know from experience that the road is still long and that nothing is certain in advance. We have to stay focused on the objective and do a good job in the coming months.”

Follow along with all of EN’s coverage of the Olympics here.

EN’s pre-coverage of the Paris Olympics in 2024 is brought to you with support from Zoetis — Long Live the Horse.

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