Friday, 8am. Under the first rays of the sun, the judges bell finally rung, launching the 10th Internationaux de Dressage of Compiègne.  With seven classes programmed and nearly 200 entries, this return to the sport after a number of months with few events has been eagerly awaited. Two months from the Tokyo Olympic Games and with the prospect of various European championships this summer, the rendezvous indeed offers selectors the opportunity to take a close look at each candidate in all the age categories. 

The major class of the Compiégne show, the CDIO 5* Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe starts this Saturday with the traditional Grand Prix-Ville of Compiègne. Second of the four legs of the FEI Nations Cup circuit, the competition has a top class line-up of competitors in the starting blocks with notably Cathrine Dufour and her 11yo gelding Bohemian, ranked number 6 in the World. “We are finally going to contest a major competition, confided the Dane. Bohemian hasn’t competed since the Aarhus World Cup in November 2020 and he’s also very impatient. He’s very very fresh (laughs). He’s my first choice for the Olympic Games but a lot can happen before then. Collectively, Denmark has a strong team and we can hope to fight against the best.”

Winner of the Grand Prix in 2019, Sweden’s Patrick Kittel is himself also savouring this return to the international arenas. “I’m eager, rejoiced the World number 16. This event is fantastic and I return with great pleasure each time. I think I’m able to speak for all the riders in wishing to thank the organising team for having succeeded in putting everything in place to allow us to compete. There are top riders, top level judges, perfect surfaces, everything is brought together for great sport to be seen. Personally, my mare Well Done de la Roche CMF is in great form. We won here two years ago and hope it’ll go well again this year. As for Sweden in the Nations Cup, we’ve got an excellent team with, without doubt, two of the three horses who’ll be competing at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Well, I believe we can aim at being in the top 3.” With the current holders of the title, Great Britain, led by the very on form Charlotte Fry, victorious Friday in the both the CDI 3* and the CDI 2*, the competition promises a fierce battle. A competition deprived of the American team, forced to abandon travelling following a number of positive results to the EHV1 virus, before arriving at the Compiègne site. A degree below these major nations in the discipline, France will nevertheless try to take everyone by surprise.

CDI 3* – The Grand Prix – Engie Solutions for Charlotte Fry

Victorious in the morning in the first class of the CDI 2*, Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry did it again in the afternoon in the CDI 3* Grand Prix – Engie Solutions. “I’m really very happy with my day, she smiles. These two victories are a good omen before the Nations Cup where we hope of course to assert ourselves again”.

Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour, much awaited in the CDI 5* with Bohemian, took second place, partnering Vamos Amigo (9yo), and scoring 73.435%. “He’s a young and very powerful horse who requires quite a lot of control, she explains. I had to find the right balance. But I’m very pleased with his performance”. Denmark can also celebrate the 3rd place of Nanna Skodborg Merrald on Blue Horse Zack (73.174%). With Glock’s Zonik N.O.P, the former ride of the champion Edward Gal, Holland’s Hans-Peter Minderhoud took fourth place in his first outing with his new partner.

CDI 2* – Charlotte Fry dominates in the Prix Saint-Georges – Agglomération de la Région de Compiègne

A rider especially on form for a number of weeks, Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry asserted herself in the Prix Saint-Georges – Agglomération de la Région de Compiègne. Riding the 9yo KWPN stallion, Don Joe, she led on a score of 74.647%, in front of Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald who was partnering the 8yo Blue Horse Znickers (72.706%), taking part in his first international event, and Holland’s’s Seth Boschman with the 9yo mare, Flora de Mariposa RS2 Old (71.353%).
With Bel Amour, also a 9yo, Alizée Roussel was the highest placed French rider with a promising sixth place (68.882%).

CDIY – The Marseillaise for Arthur Barthel

Awarded a score of 70.343%, France’s Arthur Barthel, on Bambino de Massa, a 10yo stallion, enjoyed a good win in the Hôtel Mercure “Team test”, reserved for Young Riders. The 19 year-old rider, already selected for the French Team at the last European Championships finished ahead of Switzerland’s Laura Maria Grunder riding Rapace (70.0%) and Belgium’s Amber van den Stenen with Fame (69.853%). France’s Yoann Bourguine on Favian WH (69.510%) had a noteworthy 5th place.

CDIJ – Jette de Jong delights Belgium

The test most appreciated by the judges of the Team Test – T’Aime Hôtel in the CDI Juniors was that of Belgium’s 16 year-old Jette de Jong and Heavenly Charming, a 9yo KWPN gelding. Finishing on 72.525%, the rider, 9th at the last European Championships, asserted herself over a Swiss duo, Meilin Ngovan on Dreamdancer (71.818%) and Tallulah Lynn Nater on De Vito W (70.0%). Riding Senorita Rosa, a 10yo mare, Maud Hebras was the best French rider, 7th  (69.040%).

CDIP – A German double in ponies

Number 2 on the World FEI pony rankings, team European Champions last year in Hungary and individual bronze medallists Germany’s Antonia Roth, having been awarded a score of 74.619%, led for most of the class with her pony Daily Pleasure WE. But, she was finally deprived of victory by just a few hundredths (74.714%) by her 14yo compatriot, Julie Sofie Schmitz-Heine, a newcomer on the international circuit. Belgium’s Liezel Everars, on FS Capelli de Niro, completed the podium (73.238%). Best home nation rider was Blanche Carre Pistollet, on Dazzling Kid D’Herbord, they took 17th place (67.428%).