The “Internationaux de Dressage” of Compiègne will be welcoming some of the most outstanding riders in the discipline from the 27th to the 30th of May. Despite an absence of spectators due to the health crisis it promises some interesting confrontations with seven competitions on the programme, and taking pride of place, the Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe CDIO5*, a leg of the FEI Nations cup.

Compiègne’s Grand Parc Equestrian Stadium will see more than 175 horses and riders from 19 nations striding across its arenas. A welcome breath of fresh air for all after many months made difficult by the Covid-19 health crisis. “Following the cancellation of the event in 2020, it was essential to offer riders a show of standing with top-level judges and in upmost conditions to allow participants to perform at their very best”, rejoiced Monique Marini, chairperson of the Compiègne Equestre association, organiser of the event.

Two months before the dressage classes at the Tokyo Olympic Games (from Saturday 24th to Wednesday 28th of July), Compiègne’s show is being held under strict health rules (obligatory PCR test, wearing of face masks on the entire site (except when riding), and will allow certain selectors to refine their choices before making their selections.

In the Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe CDIO5* – FEI Nations Cup, the major competition at the event, eleven nations (Belgium, Denmark, France, Great-Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, the United-States) will confront each other in the second leg, out of four, of the 2021 Nations Cup.

To represent France, selector Jan Bemelmans has chosen a ladies only team composed of Maxime Collard (Cupido PB), Isabelle Pinto (Hot Chocolate VD Kwaplas* de la Gesse) and Anne-Sophie Serre (Actuelle de Massa). Despite the absence of their supporters, France will be determined to excel at home.

Holders of the title, Great Britain, also victorious in 2017, will particularly be counting upon the 2018 U25s European Champion, Charlotte Fry (Dark Legend), who was outstanding in the Netherlands at the Exloo 3* earlier this month (winner of the Freestyle with a score of 81.560 %). Emile Faurie (Dono di Maggio Old) and Sonnar Murray Brown (Erlentanz TSF) will complete the British line-up.

Sixth on the World rankings, riding Bohemian, Denmark’s Catherine Dufour will figure amongst the favourites in the individual classes and could well repeat her 2018 success. Her performances should contribute to allowing Denmark a place on the podium in the Nation’s Cup.  Led by the very experienced Patrick Kittel (Well Done de la Roche CMF), World no.16, associated with Juliette Ramel (Buriel K.H) and Antonia Ramel (Brother de Jeu), Sweden is also a very serious contender. Also to be closely watched are the Netherlands with Denise Nekeman (Boston STH) and Patrick van der Meer (Chinook), or even Portugal, with their top pair, Joao Torrao and Equador.

If the Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe CDIO5* constitutes the high point of the weekend with the Grand Prix previewed on Saturday and the Grand Prix Special and Freestyle on Sunday,  plenty of activity will be seen in all of the three arenas dedicated to competition. The 2 and 3* CDI’s have strong fields with amongst others, France’s Marc Boblet, Nicole Favereau, Marie-Helene Bretenoux and Jean-Philippe Siat. Also to be followed, as well as giving the opportunity to take stock of the future stars of the discipline, will be the performances in the under 25’s, junior and pony classes to be contended over the weekend before this summer’s various European Championships.

But, whether they are World class riders or still on ponies, they will all share the joy of rediscovering the thrills and emotions of competing at Compiègne’s International Dressage show.