French Team Leader: “I Want to See Good Riding” Skip to content

French Team Leader: “I Want to See Good Riding”

France has never before sent as many riders to a world cup as this year. In the past few years riders from France usually traveled solo to international tournaments but now a real team has been formed under the leadership of Jean-Paul Balz. But not to ride for victory, the team members state.

kopie_von_tillitTillit du Langeren. Photo: Marius Mackenzie.

“We just want to play,” Xavier Gabrion says. He is the owner of the sympathetic mare Tillit du Langeren that had been presented by the Icelandic rider Erlingur Erlingsson in line with its age and training condition in the breeding class of five-year-olds.

“Play and grow,” Jean-Paul Balz puts it. The international FEIF judge and coach focused in the preparation phase only on basic questions.

He created a team spirit, formed a family out of the seven riders from the tri-border region of France, Germany and Switzerland, a group that sticks together and shares everything in the world cup camp.

Basics also means to prepare well for riding tests, and then to focus on the upcoming world championships in Denmark in two years, the team leader explains.

The female French riders attracted attention among the participants in the world cup on two points: they had little experience, and they were unusually smooth in the saddle.

Where the young rider Alice Schofeld lacked in nerves, Nadia des Courtis transferred a quiet light into the oval track with her friendly, positive manner.

Des Courtis, a psychiatrist working in an addiction clinic, is also the breeder of Ós von Árnaholt which competed in T2 and the five-gait test.

The black horse is not a world-class horse in terms of genetic potential. But the in the preliminary round of the five-gait test the two presented an exceptional image: harmonious riding without pressure.

kopie_von_nadia Nadia des Courtis on Ós von Árnaholt. Photo: Henk Peterse.

Although it looks as if she has been educated on warmbloods, the registered trainer of the German-Icelandic horse club grew up completely in the Icelandic horse world.

Her best friend and competition rider Sylvia Ochsenreiter, who has proven internationally successful in tournaments with Blivar vom Birkenlund, has educated and monitored des Courtis and Ós for years.

“Now I have no more time, with three children, my medical work and so far being off the beaten path,” des Courtis regrets. Where there is a lack of coolness and experience, the horse always comes first: “I want Ós to feel well, whatever we are doing together.”

Before the World cup des Courtis was coached by Lucio Bizzini, the former captain of the national football league in Switzerland, who researched on mindfulness.

“For me he represents everything of what we are doing on the horse,” Nadia says. He also taught her to ride on the wave of anxiety and make positive use out of it during the competition.

“I want to see good riding,” the team leader states. “Results are secondary.”

When asked about the ongoing discussion about a change of FEIF guidelines (currently in the work), the FEIF judge is also of the opinion that, “You can find and evaluate good riding in tournaments. But some judges prefer to watch the show.”

Think pink—France embodies ‘la vie en rose.’

Dagmar Trodler reports for Iceland Review from Berlin.

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