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the horses at least five times for fitness until they reach that finishing loop. While pilgrims and tourists have been making the

journey to the spectacular site of Mont St. Michel for centuries, there is a hidden gem in the French countryside hosting the three day eventing cross country course. Almost 50 miles south of Caen nestled

among rolling green hills is a majestic French chateau and estate. The Haras du Pin, truly a chateau for horses, has been nicknamed “Versailles for horses.” Built in 1665 by Louis XIV, the main building now houses one of a dozen French National breeding institutions that dot the Normandy region. But this is no ordinary stud farm. This was the king’s stud farm when the King of France wanted the finest horses for his military campaigns, and nothing was too good for these animals. In the eighteenth century, the King’s own architect, Robert de Cotte, added to the now 2,500-acre facility. Some of France’s most famous horses have been bred at the facility, including Penelope LePrevost’s Mylord Carthago HN. Florian Angots’ Olympic horse First de Launay still lives at the Haras du Pin. “Americans remember Normandy because of the D-Day and the WWII beaches

and cemeteries,” says Florian Angot. “Soon they will know about our history and horses.” There is nothing like this kind of history in America. Mont St. Michel may be one of the most breathtaking venues, but history speckles the whole region. The tiny town of Bayeux houses the famous tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings. William the Conqueror left Caen to conquer England in 1066. His ancient fort now houses a history museum. World Equestrian Games 2010 medalist Patrice Delaveau adds, “And our food is excellent with so many good restaurants.” When asked to suggest his favorite restaurant he grinned, and as a Chamber of Commerce representative he said, “There are so many I couldn’t name just one.” A local drink called Calvados uses the native apple and pear trees to create a hearty liquor. And of course, cheese can’t be forgotten when speaking of France. Camembert originated in this area and is still produced on dozens of farms.

High Standards Franck Le-Mestre has taken away an education from the Lexington 2010 WEG. “On

the cross country course, the jumps were beautiful. They used the natural beauty of the region to blend into the landscape. Even at the Olympics, sometimes the colors can be bold and jarring, but at Lexington, it was wonderfully done.” Jumper Patrice Delaveau is still savoring memories of the first WEG held in

the United States last year. “Lexington was fantastic—a great event. As a rider, the footing was good and of course the [silver team] medal win was wonderful.” He knows the pressure is on France to live up to the Lexington event. He hopes Normandy can put on as good a show. Lexington teammate, Penelope LePrevost is also

concerned that her hometown has big shoes to fill. “Lexington was a wonderful city—the footing for the horses, the organization, and the atmosphere. It was hot, but it did not bother us.” WEG 2014 Normandy also brings added pressure to these local riders who are well known celebrities in the region, but Penelope simply smiles and adds, “It will be good motivation for our equestrian athletes too.”

Above, top to bottom: (1) Cross country jump at Haras du Pin. (2) Jumping sidesaddle at Haras du Pin. (3) WEG 2010 medalist jumper Patrice Deleveau. (4) Penelope LeProvost and MyLord Carthago HN. Inset top: Entrance at Haras du Pin. Inset below: Penelope LeProvost jumping at Deauville.

Warmbloods Today 17

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