After the dressage test and the cross-country course, the champions of international eventing had a final hurdle to jump this evening at the Domaine de Sers in the show jumping competition. Despite a few twists in the plot among the top 10 during the event, British rider Laura Collet didn’t put a foot wrong with London 52 (Landos x Vernante), her own, Keith Scott, and Karen Bartlett's 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding. Adding another flawless round after her brilliant cross-country ride yesterday, the horse-and-rider pair rode to victory in the only CCI5*-L competition this year.
"It’s the stuff dreams are made of!" Collett said. "I still don’t quite believe this is all really happening. This morning, I was saying to myself that if I had had the choice, I wouldn’t have wanted to ride any other horse than London 52 in this kind of competition! He’s a fantastic jumper. It was his first time competing at this level and I really wasn’t expecting this kind of result at the end of the competition.”
Close behind Collett, her fellow countrywoman Piggy March also rode a prefect show jumping round to finish second with John and Chloe Perry and Alison Swinburn's 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Brookfield Inocent (Inocent x Shalies Pet). “As I said yesterday, my horse was competing in his first five-star competition," March said. "I’m just so delighted with his performance this week. I have great hopes for him in the future. I’d also like to thank the organization team for the exceptional work they did to make this happen. I’m really grateful for the incredible opportunity we’ve had to be able to come and compete here this week, in such exceptional conditions. So, a really big thank you to everyone.”
In spite of a few time faults in the show jumping competition, Tim Price kept his third place in the final ranking aboard Wesko (Karandasj x Kolien), his own and the Windrush Equestrian Foundation's 17-year-old KWPN gelding. "Well of course third place doesn’t have quite the same feel as a victory, but I’m really happy to finish the weekend without any penalties," Price said. "Wesko is old, but he’s a great horse and I’m enjoying riding him for as long as I can at this level. I’ve also made amazing progress since I first competed in this event in Pau!"
French riders Maxime Livio and Alexis Goury, on Phillipe Asclipre and SCEA Ecurie Livio's 11-year-old Selle Francais Vitorio du Montet (Lando x Jenlah des Yvers SF) and the 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding Trompe l’oeil d’Emery respectively, rode two amazing clean rounds, after demonstrating their skills on the cross-country course yesterday, without a single penalty. Taking advantage of the twelve penalty points incurred by Rosalind Canter and the 9.2 points added to Mollie Summerland’s score today, the two young French riders came in eighth and seventh in the final ranking.
"I’m really happy with the progress Trompe l’oeil and I have made since we first competed here in 2018," said Goury. "Our score in the dressage test is much better than two years ago. He rode an amazing cross-country course and jumped wonderfully today. But in this 5* star event in Pau, there were two British Olympic teams to compete against. So, the competition was fierce (laughs)! Trompe l’oeil proved once again that he’s a brilliant horse. I’m really delighted."
"I’m really proud of everyone who made this event possible," said Pascal Sayous, Pau's event director. "Thank you to the spectators who followed the rules, thank you to all the volunteers at Pau Events, and thank you to all my teams at Centaure Production. We’ve been through a lot of times where we thought that none of this would have been possible, but the team kept on working. Congratulations to the riders and drivers - without them, this competition would never have happened. I’m feeling proud, very emotional and tired, but I’m already thinking ahead to 2021 to start over again!"
Full results are available here.
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In 2021 Cynthia Smith recorded 536 hours and 59 minutes of volunteer time, setting the standard with the most amount of volunteer hours recorded in a single year since the creation of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program in 2016. The record-breaking number of volunteer time earned Smith the 2021 USEA Volunteer of the Year title.
Tamie Smith’s year has been nothing short of action-packed as she packed up all 25 of her competition horses and made her way to the East Coast for the first part of the year before hopping on a jet to Tokyo where she served as the U.S. team reserve for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She then stayed overseas and competed abroad for a little while before returning home to the West Coast. While this year has been full of opportunities to show, her aspirations are bigger than just competition. The 2021 Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year has been full steam ahead chasing goals in both her riding career as well as in her impact on the sport’s future.