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All Roads Lead to


Warmbloods Today visits the venue of the next Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.


Normandy “I


France’s Horse Country


t’s the grass.” With a big smile on his face, 2002 French World Equestrian Games medalist Reynald Angot repeats himself, “It’s the grass, the rain—this area has produced world champion horses for decades. And now Normandy, France will have a platform to showcase its horses


during the 2014 World Equestrian Games.” Based on facts and figures alone, France’s Normandy (spelled Normandie in


By Pam Forrester


French), a northern coastal province, is truly a region with deep horse ties. It’s home to more than 100,000 horses, 8,000 breeders, 4,000 equestrian events each year and 300 riding centers. Look beyond the statistics and there are generations committed to horses and the world of competitions. Well known names established in the area, for example, are the Pignolet, Goffinet, Navet and Angot families with long time breeding haras (stud farms). The Levallois family bred the Olympic and WEG Kentucky mount of the Princess Laatifa Al Maktoum from Dubai. The Navet family name may be familiar due to Eric Navet’s gold medal win at the 1990 WEG in Sweden. And the Levesque family has produced international race horses for decades in France. Today a new generation from these established


families continues the tradition. The Ecurie Angot (ecurie is French for horse training center) was established in 2008. Reynald Angot is one of four boys in this generation of the family, all of whom are riding in the international arena. Among the most successful in the family are older brother Florian, who rode in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and sister–in-law Eugenie, married to brother Cedric, who rode on the French team in Athens and is two-time Champion Show Jumper of France. Dozens of their current and former competition horses have been born on the family’s Haras de la Granderie and have been raised eating that famous Normandy grass. In a tiny town named Notre Dame d’Estree, Reynald now has his own breeding Haras des Biches (Stud Farm of Deer) where thirty-five horses are being trained daily for competition. Five-year-old Salsa des Biches, a Selle Français that Reynald rides, was born on the Haras and is already jumping in young rider competitions. Brother Florian Angot is looking forward to the WEG Normandy to showcase


the Selle Français breed. Florian rode his Selle Français First de Launay in the 2004 Olympics. “We as Frenchmen need to compete with the Germans who are doing well in breeding and sales. The WEG Normandie will give us an opportunity to promote our fantastic Selle Français horses.” Within France’s horse community, the Selle Français needs very little


promotion. They are a Warmblood breeding phenomenon of the 20th century already boasting a proven track record with Olympic and World Championship wins. Originally called Le Cheval de Selle Français, translated to mean French


14 September/October 2011


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