WBCYH 7yo championWeisse Duene (Clarimo - Esprit V x Romino) with Ingrid Klimke (GER) Photo: FEI

FRANCE (by Christopher Hector) What I love about the Mondial de Lion which takes place in Le Lion d’Angers – the eventing World Breeding Championship for Young Horses – is that it is so totally unfashionable. Here is a real horseman's event, driven by an understanding of the nature of the horse, and the nature of the relationship between horse and rider. Imagine, two whole days of eventing dressage, no frills or fripperies, not even a flying change to entertain the masses.

This is certainly not the sort of event that will attract the mythical audience of several billion Chinese that seems to be the guiding light of recent FEI programmes. It’s certainly not the sort of event that will attract the rentacrowd mob of rich (soon to be less so) and would-be famous.

Here the old codgers (with the greatest respect) sip their Muscadet as they discuss the pedigrees of the day, they may be a bit old and wrinkled but they can dial up bloodline details on their smart phones well enough. This is a real horse event, for real horse people, and we caught up with a couple who had travelled from England. The wife is a sometime eventer, the passion now passed to her little daughter who is into pony eventing, and tells us she is a Chris Burton fan, and tells us the names of all his horses she has seen. They love their first taste of the Mondial because despite what the FEI may believe, there are there are people who love eventing for what it is, and don't see the necessity of dumbing it down to tr y and make it something it will never be....

It is also a ver y welcoming and friendly event, but a lot more security conscious, un- derstandably, and you can take a deep breath, enjoy the wonderful colours of the au- tumn leaves, settle back and tr y and work out which stal- lion is working with which mares...

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