Thibault Fournier won the Pau Horse Trials on his four-star debut, making him the youngest rider to claim this title.
‘Lost for words’
The 23 year old and his mount, Siniani De Lathus the 12 year old chestnut Selle Français were able to hold their own in a competition filled with top horse and rider combinations.
Going into the jumping phase he needed to have no more than one fault. Unfortunately, at fence number three he had a rail. “Siniani was jumping so well in the warm up area that I came into the main arena almost too relaxed. When I heard the bar fall, it was a definite wake-up call that helped me refocus immediately on the competition. Then I just rode like I always ride, but there was a lot going on in my head.” However he was able to push through the rest of the course flawlessly and took home the top prize.
“I came to Pau to see whether I had the level to compete in a four-star competition against the best riders in the world. I’m overjoyed with what I have achieved here, but I’m especially thrilled with my exceptional horse who carried the whole competition off brilliantly!”
‘One day I’ll get there’
Gemma Tattersall (Pamero 4) came so close to winning her first four-star, and was just 0.4 seconds behind Thibault. She was the only rider to finish on her dressage score, but it still wasn’t quite enough and she had to settle for second place.
“I fell just short of the mark as I have done so many times already,” laughed Gemma. “One day I’ll get there! Perhaps at Badminton next year! Pamero was absolutely perfect and completed three magnificent tests, I couldn’t be happier with the way he performed!”
Final podium rider
Another french rider took the final spot on the podium. Clara Loiseau and Won’t Wait had brilliant rides throughout the weekend and proved that they will be a powerful force in the years to come.
You can watch Les Etoiles de Pau 2018 on Horse & Country when it premieres November 7 at 9pm.