Having just returned from CSIO Jeunes in Hagen, French youth team coach Olivier Bost is particularly pleased with his teams’ performances. The French team returned from Germany with wins in the Young Drivers Nations Cup, two third places in the Nations Cup for children and youth, and good results in the Grand Prix of each category. A CSIO bodes well for the selections for the European Championship, which will be made public soon.
France did very well at CSIO in Fontainebleau, what are your goals in Hagen?
We currently have a policy of training young people for the future. Some of the couples I bring to Hagen won’t go to Europe, but I find it relevant to have them compete abroad to learn how to manage this type of competition and gain experience. I view this competition as a training CSIO, both to gain access to a higher level later, and to learn how to ride with your horse, rank in National Cups and compete abroad.
What conclusions did you draw from this meeting?
Hagen was always the last CSIO of the season before the European Championship. Here’s the military review to try and polish our picks for Oliva. I’m very happy with this competition, winning in Hagen is always pleasant, but winning the Young Riders Nations Cup there with two pairs is definitely better!
In Juniors, the first half was very good and we lacked a bit of success in the second half, but that allowed me to adjust and look at some of the pairings in the situation. They still achieved a pretty good Grand Prix, from 0 to 4 points.
As for the Children, we are delighted that they won the National Cup in Opglabbeek and Fontainebleau and finished third at this year’s Hagen, with more or less different matches. They once managed a great Grand Prix.
There are Young Riders horses that I have chosen to preserve. As a result, some entered their second horse in the Grands Prix. France saw a very good performance by Emma Bodier (Wednesday with the Medoc de MuzeEditor’s Note).
Unfortunately, we are fourth in the ponies. These are not necessarily the courses nor the sequence I had hoped for compared to the beginning of the competition. Now we have to progress to the French championship before actually drawing out the selection outlines for Europe. Some have restructured after the failures of the first day, some have experienced a little more disappointment… The Hagen competition for us is really a means of giving indications for the rest of the season. towards the European Championship.
The options for the European championships are gradually becoming clearer? How are you doing with your tests?
We are still thinking hard. Options will drop this week or next. With all the federal employees, we will meet to think, discuss and try to create the ideal team to go and win medals in Oliva (July 11-17, in Spain, editor’s note). The horse selections will only fall after the French championship Lamotte-Beuvron (from July 9 to 16 editor’s note).
“Hagen is the hardest competition”
What do you think about the level of this year’s Nations Cup?
Every year, the sport develops very quickly and in the right direction. The drivers are getting better and better, we have no shame, the level in France is very good. We also pay close attention to the health of the horses. The courses are better, more refined and that’s good, we’re finally on the right track. We make sure that our riders pay attention to themselves and their preparation, that they focus their energies on their horses. I see that equestrian sport is developing in a direction that is good for people and animals. This does not detract from any of the technicalities of the sport which is becoming more and more refined and demanding.
Some riders are already familiar with the French team, but what are your views on the young people representing the French team for the first time?
CSIO exists to give riders the experience to get them ready for the big championships. Some have won the Young Drivers Cup when it was their first CSIO, others have done very well in the Kids group… The team is a group of young people accustomed to competitions, with a great atmosphere, mutual support thanks to the French Coach with his experience in playing with us abroad on such deadlines. The young people are very well taken care of.
For me, Hagen is the hardest contest because it’s the longest; it starts on Tuesday, we leave on Sunday, it’s like a mini championship. This is an important experience that always creates emotions, whether the racers succeed or fail.
What are you doing to help them manage the pressure of these deadlines?
If they enter these competitions, it is because they performed well in France and are used to handling pressure. It is ingrained in them. Mental preparation is also in place throughout the winter. If they need advice, they approach those who are prepared. The champions of tomorrow have established around them a system that allows them to enter the competition calmly and with a well-functioning framework.
What do you think about your Young Riders team’s victory ?
I found them amazing, they were so enthusiastic after their win that it was very pleasant to live with. There was a challenge with Just World International and Jessica Newman close to our hearts in which young people participated in a project of their own choosing. This course is set in competition which is very interesting for young people. When they won, they focused on the cause of access to drinking water.
“We have sold ninety percent of our very good ponies”
Among the ponies, Emma Gay Le Breton has been in particularly good form latelyt. How can you explain his poor performance at Hagen? Is she the mainstay of this Ponies team?
The first day she was under a lot of pressure, but with a bit of emotion, she reacted well after that. She was a mainstay of the team before coming to Hagen. Now the mainstay has to rebuild himself so it’s going to the French championship and we’ll make a decision then.
Four of last year’s five European Pony Champion horses were sold in the following months, which does not facilitate ongoing results. How do you try to reform a team?
Unfortunately, that’s the game. That is our concern this year, we have sold ninety percent of our very good CSIO and European champion horses in the last three years. We find ourselves with the ponies, or with some who have gone on to play the game like the Vallat family, who kept Daenerys d’Hurl’Vent for Nohlan. We had to rebuild, redo and try to perform, but we lost a lot of ponies, just like France is losing a lot of top level horses. France is a livestock nation, my role is partly to guide the choice of keeping them or not and that is not easy.
Does Nohlan Vallat play a pick with Daenerys from Hurl’Vent or Cogito from Hurl’Vent?
For now, we’re still keeping Daenerys heading to Europes, laus biys will see what the future holds.
Camille Favrot and Ilona Mezzadri returned to the French team for the first time at Young Riders in the Juniors, respectively. What are you waiting for in these two racers?
Camille Favrot has had a good season, I think it’s a good bonus to pick her for Hagen for the final year of Young Riders and it’s great to have her with us. Ilona Mezzadri really never leaves, she has a little bit of a problem, put the horses in order and it all starts again. You have to be in good form at the right time.
How many medals do you hope to win at the European Championships?
As usual, the more the better! We provide medal goals with more or less ideas about groups. The first goal is to win a medal and the second goal is to train these young people to run for the championship and then join the Senior teams. By having competed in national championships or Cups, they gain experience, which benefits the future of sport in general.