We Bring You La Baule
As we cruise into summer there are some big events to set our sights on. We have some fabulous content coming in the newsletter that embraces the best from Blenheim, happenings at the Kentucky Horse Park, and stories from our US riders over in Europe.
We wish we could be everywhere as we are passionate about bringing you the stories of the horses, the riders and the events that satisfy our competitive cravings. We will continue to try.
The first leg of the European Tours has commenced, beginning last week with the CSIO5* in La Baule, France. McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, Lauren Hough. Richard Spooner, Mario Deslauriers and Hilary Dobbs all competed.
About La Baule:
Although the first show was held in 1931, it was not until 1960 that La Baule was granted “official show” status by the FEI. In 2002, La Baule joined the FEI Nations Cup Series. There were three key events the MEYDAN FEI Nations Cup (Friday, May 15th), The Derby Meeting of the Pays de La Loire (Saturday, May 16th) and the Grand Prix Longines of La Baule (Sunday, May 17th). The courses were designed by Frederic Cottier. The United States and France were the favorites in the Nations Cup and both went into the second round with a total of four penalties. Richard Spooner jumped two clean rounds on Cristallo, with his second clear putting the pressure on France. Mario Deslauriers and Urico were also clean, McLain Ward and Sapphire had 4 faults and Hilary Dobbs, fresh off finals from Harvard, scored 9 faults.
After their first rider scored 4 faults the French continued to put in clean rounds. The final results came in with the French winning the Nations Cup by a rail, with the US second. A good beginning to the tour. It gets better…
Before the Derby class, Beezie Madden rode Coral Reef Vio Volo to the top prize in the Prix Groupe Lucien Barriere / Diane Desseigne, Table A with 69 entries in the class.
Twenty ‘couples’ competed in the Derby. (When reading the French press, they referred to a horse and rider as a couple, which we found to be ever so true). A difficult test of hills and water and other Derby details, not one of the riders was able to go clean. Until Americans Richard Spooner and Pako. The couple made history that day as they were the only clear effort and the first Americans to win the coveted title!
The icing on the French pastry for the Americans came on the final day. The stands were packed to watch the fifty couples compete in the Grand Prix. Thirteen went clean, including Mario Deslaurier on the 9-year-old Urico and McLain Ward on Sapphire. Deslauriers had the leading time, clean and fast in 36.95. Until Ward walked in. The pair galloped through the timers clear in 36.00 for the win. First and second place went to the US.
Certainly an auspicious start to the European Tours. Sincere congratulations to all. And a big thank you to Sophie Durieux for the fabulous photos, as well to Sydney Masters-Durieux for delivering.
Stay tuned, June is going to be a big month for newsletters and we are gearing up to keep the stories coming.
Photos © Sophie Durieux