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Belgium - The Netherlands - Switzerland : the winning tiercé !

Till saturday, France was dominating the competition by winning 5 classes among the 6 of the programme. Our european neighbors caught up with themself on Sunday, despite rain and wind. Belgium, The Netherlands and finally Switzerland were definitively the best.

It had started so well… Five victories among six possible, the score was great for the French team trained by Marcel Delestre, the national Chef d'équipe, who preferred not to be too trustful in the potential of his team faced to the best European riders. During all the day, rain and wind came and swept the Grand Parquet. Despite it, all the riders played the game, and tried to outdo each other in skill with a delicate ground.

Juliette Boullé for the first CSIO Grand Prix

On saturday, the 18 best riders of the show competed in the very first CSIO Grand Prix of Fontainebleau. Even if the weather was better than on sunday, the Grand Parquet ground remained difficult to ride. The course appeared very technical, with lines following the gradient (the Grand Parquet is reknowned all over the world for that specificity). The river and the triple had been very faulty and only two female riders qualified for the jump off. Finally, the French Juliette Boullé looped a double clear round with her top european pony Chavetta II and added a new line to her good season. Valentine de Rham met with a refusal of her great Jasmin III and finished 2nd. She realised in sunday one of the two double clear rounds of the Swiss team in the Nations Cup, and we can be sure to see her at the top on next pony shows !

Deborah Lazzarotto

Swiss girls on top !

In the major class, the Nations Cup, the stress was increasing. Who, between Switzerland, Germany, Italy and France, would left with this so coveted title ? The competition has never been so opened and nobody took the risk to forecast the final result. Riders of each started on the difficult course designed by Jean-Paul Lepetit. At the end of the first round, France was in the lead with 12 faults ex aequo with Switzerland. A very young team, as Christian Sottas, Swiss Chef d'équipe told us. France / Switzerland, a match which turned to the helvetic team who finally realised two clear rounds (thanks to Valentine de Rham and Deborah Lazzarotto, really brilliant !) and pocketed the very first Fontainebleau Nations Cup. Emotion for the winners, with many flowers and shiny cups. " We are very pleased to come here, the ambiance is so great, like the organization and people who host us", said Christian Sottas. Greetings which touched André Bonneau, show manager, and Michel Valache, president. Germany finished 2nd, before Italy and France.

Stephanie Brugmann, Queen of the "Grand Parquet"

Earlier in the day, eleven couples succeeded in qualifying for the jump off of the CSIP Grand Prix. The course was quite difficult with very technical series and lines, and an average height around 1.30 m. 12 fences, 15 jumps, and 8 nations which managed to do a clear round, a new record ! Only three riders managed to loop without any penalties. Stephanie Brugmann (NED), awarded as the Best Rider of the Show few hours later, was the faster one and offered to her country a deserved victory after several honourable ranks. The Irish rider David Simpson couldn't beat her and had to admit defeat. The young Erika Chapuy realise her first podium for France and finishes 3rd riding Gypsi de Taurou.

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