At the end of an exciting event at the Haras National du Pin in France that saw the elimination of the first French pair, the French held on until the end of the final cross-country test on Sunday morning. Gwendolen Fer, Ugo Provasi and Stanislas de Zuchowicz took turns returning on time and gave the French team a fifth consecutive title.

In individual competition, Gwendolen Fer won the class riding Traumprinz, while also finishing 4th with Romantic Love.

Sebastien Cavaillon and Sarah d’Argouges were the first to start on the cross-country and had the task of paving the way for their French teammates. Everything was going well until the penultimate obstacle, No. 22, “les bouleaux de Normandie”. A misunderstanding led to the couple’s fall, happily without injury. As a result, the rest of France’s three team members had to complete the course without penalty to hope to win – especially as the Netherlands managed to limit the damage by registering only penalties for time exceeded.

Gwendolen Fer, Ugo Provasi and finally Stanislas de Zuchowicz followed the perfect routes to offer France its fifth consecutive success in this FEI Nations Cup of Le Pin. The Netherlands, supported by the performance of their 4th teammate Laura Hoogeveen, finished second, far ahead of Sweden which stole third place from New Zealand by 0.1 of a point!

Unhappy this season when she was competing for an Olympic selection, Toulouse’s Gwendolen Fer enjoyed her weekend. Victorious with the French team, she also won individually with her second horse, Romantic Love, after a masterful cross-country test. In the lead after the dressage and the show jumping, the German Josephine Schnaufer-Völkel let victory escape after incurring 7 seconds over the time allowed to finish third behind Tim Price (NZL).

Gwendolen Fer (FRA) commented after her win, “I’m really happy. It’s a bit of a continuation of Jardy’s international where Romantic won and Arpège finished 4th. Traumprinz was back this weekend after Vittel. I am delighted with both horses and myself, after a difficult start this year. There was obviously pressure at the start of the cross because after Sébastien’s fall, our three scores counted, adding an extra pressure. In addition, it had been four years since France won. France came back with a bronze medal from the Olympic Games, it was good to keep up the momentum. I am especially happy to wear again the jacket of the French team.”

Second-placed Tim Price (NZL), just back from Tokyo, remarked, “My horse Happy Boy was World Champion at the age of 7. I believe in him a lot. At home, he is very easy and proves to be even better in competition. He won the CCI3*-L last year and competed in his first 4*. I’m thinking of taking him on a 4*-L before the end of the year, Boekelo, Blenheim or even Pratoni.

“The cross-country course was totally different from the one in Tokyo, we cannot compare. It was a very good course. As a rider, you had to have a plan, it wasn’t too hard, it just affected the results just what it needed.

“The organization is very family, we love Pierre Le Goupil’s courses, in general it is beautiful and it is easy for us to come by ferry. For the end of the season, we plan to go to Bicton, Aachen, Lignières, Elkton (USA), Pau and finally Pratoni to spot for the 2022 World Championships. We always try to achieve the best possible performance at the major championships. The horse I rode at the Olympics, Vitali, was a little young and inexperienced. He behaved well but the experience takes time. My goal for next year and Paris 2024 is to have horses ready and well prepared.”

Michel Asseray, National Technical Delegate of the French Equestrian Federation in charge of eventing, said, “This Nations Cup is always important to us because it is the only one in France. We always try to prepare it secretly in order to have competitive couples. The Olympic medal made everyone dream, it boosts. When we chose the team and called the riders at the beginning of the week, we felt a lot of desire to succeed. It’s never easy to pick four out of about 30 riders. Thierry Touzaint did not make a mistake and we are very happy to have won at Le Pin. It is important to us. Even if it is the fifth time, we still feel a lot of emotions. In the team, we decided to put a horse from the Paris 2024 group and more experienced horses, both to prepare the future and to win. We also want to get riders used to running as a team. Wearing the France jacket is a new pressure, and we want to get them used to it. Gwendolen has been through a tough time. She has two high-performance horses who have already competed in the European Championships. Sometimes, we go through complicated phases, but she is a woman who has a lot of mind, who does not give up. By putting her on the team, we’re showing her our trust. We are very happy for her, her horse, her passionate owner Isabelle Méranger. We will see horses at the Grand National du Pin and after a veterinary check-up, we will give our selection for the European Championships in Avenches.”

Complete results here.