In just under a month, from May 2nd to 5th, 2024, the Grand Parc equestrian stadium will be hosting the 13th Internationaux de Dressage of Compiègne. The highlight of the three days of competition, the 5* CDIO, the only FEI Nations Cup to be held in France, will see some of the World’s best horses and riders competing against each other, all determined to make their mark before their big summer rendezvous. Jean Morel, the French team coach, explains what makes a team event so special.

FEI Dressage Nations Cup 2023 – Danish team

There is unanimity among all riders. Competing in a Nations Cup, with your country’s colours displayed on your jacket, is a privilege. It’s also a responsibility that comes with, inevitably, stronger emotions. The second leg of the prestigious FEI Nations Cup series, after Wellington (USA), won by Germany with the United States and Sweden following, and before Budapest (HUN, May), Rotterdam (HOL, June), the Compiègne Nations Cup takes on an extra dimension this year. The various horse/rider combinations will be competing in front of a jury presided over by France’s Raphaël Saleh, accompanied by the judges who will be surrounding him this summer in the gardens of the Château de Versailles. A perfect opportunity to make a good impression. Last year, Denmark, the reigning World champions, won ahead of the Netherlands and Germany. “A Nations Cup always has a very special flavour,” explains Jean Morel, coach of the French team. “It’s a different frame of mind. It creates unity, because while our sport is usually individual, in a Nations Cup you’re also riding for the others. Throughout the competition, the riders look out for each other. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have individual riders. There’s also a strategy to be put in place, in the choice of competitors but also in their running order. A rider has to contribute a minimum number of points and sometimes has to accept not pulling out all the stops for the good of the team. For me, a good rider is judged not only by his sporting results but also by what he contributes to the atmosphere, the atmosphere created by his staff and his ability to listen to the staff’s instructions. If we had good results at the last European Championships, it’s because we had this frame of mind. We talked to each other a lot. We were happy to collectively eat lunch and have drinks together in the evening.”  Sixth at the last European Championships, with four members qualified for the Grand Prix Special and two for the Freestyle, a historic performance, France has managed to establish itself among the nations to be taken into account. “Our results over the last few months mean that we’re now invited to take part in major events,” emphasises the national coach. “In addition to Compiègne, we’ll also be taking part in a number of other big events, including Falsterbo, and Aachen. We’ll have to pick the right strategy each time. Do we go all out for the Nations Cup? Do we use it as a « practice » event ? Do we test other competitors ? You can’t do everything at once. I’ll be forced to rotate different team members as I need to prepare other pairs in order to have a safety net.  A lot of things can happen. My only mission is to bring the French team to their peak at the Olympic Games in Versailles. But we’ll be doing our utmost to honour Madame Marini and the Compiègne competition. They deserve it. It’s wonderful to have people who organise events of this calibre“.

The show’s chairperson, Monique Marini, is delighted with this thirteenth edition. “Last year’s event saw an exceptional line-up, with several of the World’s top 10 riders and ten teams competing in the CDIO 5*,” she recalls.”The different chef d’equipe know that Compiègne provides them with ideal conditions in which to prepare for major championships. We’re proud to be organising the only Nations Cup within a 5-star event in France. The loyalty of the big nations and top riders is great recognition and above all a huge reward for all those who work hard towards ensuring the event’s success.

Because the Internationaux de Dressage of Compiègne are also intended to be a meeting place for all those involved in the discipline, the CDI3* and CDI1* events will punctuate the programme in the equestrian stadiums’ three other arenas. Arenas also welcoming up-and-coming riders with the CDI U25 (under 25s), the CDIY (Young Riders), the CDIJ (Juniors), the CDICh (Children) and finally the CDI Ponies.


Caval’Show, on Sunday, to close the competition

A firm favourite with spectators, the closing show at Compiègne’s Internationaux de Dressage has become a not-to-be-missed event. On Sunday the 5th of May, from 3pm, the multi-disciplinary troupe, Caval’Show, (displays of horses in liberty, acrobatics, artistic tableaux, dressage, etc.)  will be putting on an impressive equestrian show combining the elegance, grace and power of horses with artistic performances. This captivating production is the work of renowned equestrian display artist Benoit Soumille, his troupe of talented riders and their magnificent horses of various breeds. The Caval’Show is a fascinating journey through the equestrian world, creating emotion and wonder.

Free entry and parking / Catering on-site