Karim Florent Laghouag Takes Devoucoux Indoor Derby at Bordeaux

The more I watch indoor eventing, the more I think about how it takes a very special, unflappable yet very in tune horse to do well in this sub-discipline of the sport. The feeling you get watching indoor eventing is more akin to watching a reiner run a pattern or a show jumper doing a Gambler’s Choice round. The crowd is energetic, even boisterous, the announcer is beside himself, the noise is deafening. And yet somehow, you’ve got to put on the blinders and navigate a twisty, turning course of no less than 30 jumping efforts.

It’s truly a spectacle, which is why the winter season signals high tide for those who dare to dream of indoor eventing glory. Much of the winter in Europe is spent at massive indoor shows, many of which play host to multiple disciplines in a given weekend. This weekend was no different, at the Jumping International of Bordeaux in the famous wine country of southwestern France.

17 competitors would come forward to compete against one another and the clock on a technical track that spanned two arenas and 22 fences/30 jumping efforts. Playing a heavy factor into the competition was a handful of bank questions, along with the sheer technicality of simply remembering which direction to go. At the end, it was hometown hero Karim Florent Laghouag who would take home the win aboard Punch de l’Esques, a slalwart campaigner who at 17 years young has become somewhat of an indoor veteran with eight FEI recognized starts since 2017.

This pair has been turning up the heat all winter, collecting a win in the indoor eventing in Paris last December as well as a second place at Geneva the following week. It’s a partnership of a lifetime for Karim and the lithe chestnut Anglo-Arab gelding; they’ve been campaigning together at international levels since 2009.

“Punch is a horse that I have had for a long time,” Karim said after his big night. “He arrived at mine aged four, today he is 17. Once again, he gave me a nice victory. He is in top form; we saw the vets who told me he was stainless. He is very good, he loves the atmosphere, he is more and more calm and he has gained more serenity and experience in this type of class.”

Calm and cool, indeed — see for yourself in their round. Somehow, Karim came in nearly seven seconds ahead of his closest competitor, finishing in 108.56 seconds to Luc Chateau’s 115.03 seconds.

It was an all-French podium as fellow countrymen Luc Chateau and Rodolphe Scherer would take home second and third place, respectively. Some guy named Michael Jung, who himself has become a bit of a figure indoors, picked up fourth place after he and Highlighter had one fence down. “Michael Jung almost got me though,” Karim said. “He was fast, but was forced out of his comfort zone, which was my goal. I did not want to take all the risks so as not to drop a fence therefore Michael was forced to take risks, which cost him a fault.” Ireland’s Cathal Daniels, whose had a great season with back-to-back wins indoors, finished up in fifth place with Alcatraz.

If you missed out on the indoor derby at Bordeaux, you’re in luck because the entire event is available now for replay. Catch it below:

Jumping International of Bordeaux: [Website][Devoucoux Indoor Derby Results]