Despite the tense human and equine health care threats of coronavirus and EHV-1, the Equestrian Committee of Saumur, organizer of one of the three French major eventing competitions, and its partners have made the decision to maintain their spring event, Saumur Complet and its CCI4*-L, from April 29 to May 2. The 35th edition of the event is a central fixture in eventing athletes’ preparation for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, where France will have a leading place to defend.
Leading up to these Olympics Games, opportunities will be rare for European eventers to prepare: in Western Europe for example, only seven CCI4*-L and CCI5*-L have been maintained on the schedule up until the 30th of June. The last qualifying step for the French riders, who are the 2016 Olympic Team champions, and Rio individual silver medalist Astier Nicolas, the CCI4*-L de Saumur Complet will be run under strict biosecurity protocols in a closed session not accessible to the public. An online platform is being developed to allow everyone to follow the action remotely.
The first edition of Saumur Complet was run in 1986; since then, all the greatest eventers have at one time competed in this region. Triple winner of the competition is the legendary Mark Todd (NZL), double individual Olympic champion in 1984 and 1988. In 1991, for its sixth edition, the competition was won for the first time by France, thanks Marie-Christine Duroy and Quart du Placineau, who were followed by Didier Seguret with Coeur de Rocker, Jean Teulère with Rodosto, Jean-Lou Bigot with Derby de Longueval, Nicolas Touzaint with Tatchou, Maxime Livio with Qalao des Mers and Mathieu Lemoine with Bart L.
As well as a CCI4*-L, the Saumur Complet will also host a CCI3*-S and a CCI2*-L which also allows European Juniors and Young Riders to prepare for their European Championships, which will be held in Sweden at the end of August.
In addition to the closed session to prevent the spread of Covid-19, strict protocols will be put in place to protect the health of the more than 200 horses which are expected in Maine-et-Loire.
~ with files from Blizko Communication