FRANCE (by Tiphaine Guetre) Following half a day of training for the horses that would be presented during the NASH sales, the Grand Hall of the Pole Hippique in Saint Lô was resplendent in Selle Français colours for the start of the males championship which ran from October 21-25. In fact, to lighten the load for the Selle Français colts, the two-year-olds opened the show one day earlier than previous years.
This new program was aimed at improving the compatibility with the NASH Sales, revealing a common goal of solidarity and interaction between the co-organizers. It also gave the free gaits test its own time slot the following day. This test was previously marked at the same time as the free jumping.
In opening the free jumping test for two-year-olds, Selle Français studbook president Pascal Cadiou said, “We can see already the specialists around the ring. We have noted the presence of professionals representing the horse breeding sector from all parts of Europe, but also from other parts of the world: Argentina, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Holland… Their presence shows that all these countries are interested in our selection. They came to see our young males, most likely to identify and buy, in order to enhance their own bloodlines. And this is only the first evening!”
For the sake of equity, the 37 competitors performed over a three-fence line. Eric Livenais, arena chief for these Selle Français Days, explaine the choice of system which allows each horse to perform under the same conditions. “The overall purpose of the free jumping test is to see how the horses adapt to a given situation, rotate around the fence and find the balance to jump. The judges are then able to detect what qualities each horse could bring to the studbook in case of approval as a Selle Français stallion. The team inside the ring is there to reassure the horses and give them confidence in order to achieve the best jumps while preserving their natural technique. The mind is also a key element in their performance, and an essential quality for their future career as athletes”...