Completely renovated and modernised, the Grand Parc Equestrian stadium is getting ready to welcome some of the World’s best dressage riders from 19th to 22nd of May for the CDIO 5*, the only competition of this level organised in France. Like all the countries entered for the Nations Cup, France, led by Morgan Barbançon, recently 7th in the World Cup final, is counting on this event as an excellent way of preparing for the World Championships in Herning (DAN, 6-14 August), before looking ahead to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
A new arena in front of the grandstand, surfaces completely renewed and fitted with underground irrigation by infiltration, optimised reception structures, a panoramic restaurant to follow classes in comfortable conditions, the Grand Parc Equestrian Stadium is ready to receive the elite of the discipline for what will be the 11th Internationaux de Dressage de Compiègne. “The work carried out last year on our site, which has long been recognised as one of the best international equestrian infrastructures, will enable us to further evolve,” said Monique Marini, Chairperson of the Compiègne Equestrian Association, which organises the event. “Everything has been completely rethought and modernised to ensure the best conditions for horses, riders and spectators, and with a real desire to integrate and preserve the environment around us”.
Loyal to Compiègne for many years, the best in dressage will be able to benefit even further from the quality of the site. Last year’s winner of the Freestyle Grand Prix with Well Done de la Roche CMF, Sweden’s Patrik Kittel, is always very enthusiastic when talking about the competition held in the Oise department of France. “Compiègne is fantastically well organised, I’m always very happy to be here,” he confided during his visit last year. “There are fantastic riders, top level judges, perfect surfaces, every ingredient is present for great sport. There is often a superb line-up with the best teams, and it’s a terrific rehearsal for the championships.”
For many international teams, as well as for the French, the International Dressage Championships represent the first big competition of the year. “Compiègne is announced as a crucial and obligatory event in the season for all the riders”, explained Emmanuelle Schramm, Deputy National Technical Director in charge of Dressage at the French Equestrian Federation. “The timing is ideal, it represents a good stepping stone for a large number of nations before major events, in particular the World Championships in Herning (DEN, 6-14 August) but also the European Championships for young riders in July”. This is therefore an opportunity to look to the future. With an assumed optimism in the French clan. “France has an interesting and promising pool of talent, notably with up and coming horses who are starting to perform on the international scene. We’re impatient to be at Compiègne. It’s an event we love and the Compiègne Equestrian Association’s organisation is always very good. This competition is a real representation of French excellence, we’ve seen photos of the new site and we’re eager to be there.”
The Compiègne International Dressage Competition also offers the youngest riders the opportunity to get a taste of what it’s like to compete at the highest level, like the young German rider Julie Sofie Schmitz-Heine, the surprise winner of the pony competition last year and now ranked second in her category by the FEI. The CDI 3*, CDI 2*, CDI U25 (under 25s), CDIJ (Juniors), CDIY (Young Riders) and CDI P (Ponies) will provide an opportunity to see the champions of tomorrow.
But above et beyond the sporting dimension of the event, the Compiègne rendezvous is also a great opportunity to get together and share a passion for horses and dressage. On Sunday the 22nd of May, when classes draw to a close, Jean-François Pignon, invited by the City of Compiègne and its agglomeration, will be officially inaugurating and celebrating the amazing renovations of the Grand Parc Equestrian Stadium. The internationally renowned artist will be presenting his display of horses in liberty, offering a rare and timeless moment as he demonstrates the complicity he shares with his stage partners.