-15% off your first order*.

Enter your email address to receive your promo code.

*except for the SAFEFIT airbag


      -15% off your first order

      enter your email to receive the code

          A look back at the Tryon EMD with Donatien Schauly

          Thursday, October 4, 2018

          Just back from the World Equestrian Games, we went to visit Donatien Schauly for a little interview, the opportunity for our favourite warrant officer to come back on this first participation in the World Championships.

          In what state of mind did you approach these World Equestrian Games?

          I was relaxed, serene. I put pressure on myself before the games, with the whole qualification system. Even if my mare was qualified, I still had to prepare myself and run well in the events that were used for selection. It's at these moments that small injuries can happen. I had to prepare her for the effort and at the same time not to overdo it during this preparation in order not to tire her.

          Once the selection was made, I was serene because I knew my mare well. I had confidence in her. I did all the tests on the Tryon site in a fairly relaxed way. I was concentrated but relaxed.

          How did you feel about Peony? How did she behave? What are her strong/weak points ?

          Pivoine does not have a lot of strength so this is felt in her movement and locomotion. She is quite fast, which becomes a quality for the cross country but also a difficulty for the dressage. I knew that when I got there I could get everything I wanted from her. I knew that she would react exactly as I wanted her to whether it was in dressage, where I could concentrate on doing precision work, or in cross country and show jumping.

          She wasn't too surprised, despite the atmosphere of the world championships, the stands... Pivoine was even rather relaxed. She sensed that I was pretty relaxed myself. The mare was quite at ease, but quite concentrated all the same. She's an old mare and I've known her all her life. If a session goes badly, I know how to get back on track for the next one. It's important to forget what you've done in the morning, for example, and to be able to start again in a different way in the afternoon. On dressage day, in the morning we had a square with corners marked out by bars on the floor. But she doesn't like floor bars. This made her a little tense, but in the afternoon we left as if nothing had happened.

          How did you manage Pivoine during these Games?

          It was handled as a regular deadline. You don't want to make them feel like it's different from another race. There may be more pressure and more at stake but the way of running is the same. For me, there was no difference in the management of the mare.

          The horses had a little time to acclimatize. We arrived early so that they could recover from the trip and while recovering they had to acclimatize to the difference in temperature, the very hot and humid climate. When we went up at 3pm in the afternoon it was a bit complicated for the horses and even for us. We got there gradually. At the beginning, we used to ride early in the morning and then we would shift an hour or two to start working in the heat. Then everything became clearer because we had our timetable. So we knew whether we were going to be there in the morning or the afternoon. By being an opener, I was able to benefit from good conditions to compete. I tried to be close to her schedule to work on her and to avoid her getting too hot and suffering from the heat. The day of the cross country, it was much cooler than the other days with the storm thing pretty close. It was airy and we were 6-7 degrees cooler than usual. We even had some rain.

          What was the easiest and most difficult test for her?

          Usually the easiest test for her is the cross country. Here, finally, the easiest test was the dressage. On the cross country, the topography was quite difficult for the horses and I know that she is not a good mare for the hills. She did everything well technically but she suffered a bit from that big hill at the end of the course. I had to listen to her on the hill, she went back on despite everything but asked to blow on the way out to fill her lungs with oxygen and regulate her breathing.

          What about you?

          It all comes down to the cross-country event. The concentration under pressure is always difficult to manage. We were on top of our technical game. The big difficulty was managing the stress and pressure rather than the event itself.

          How was the atmosphere there?

          Within the team, there was a very good atmosphere. We lived together for three weeks during the preparation camp in Granville. We all knew each other and we were all respectful of each other. That helps to create a good atmosphere. Everyone wanted all the riders to reach the end, in good conditions and with the best possible results.

          What is your program now?

          I'm still wondering about the mare. We wanted to let her recover and rest. She won't be competing at the end of the season. For the last two years, she's been preparing for the JEM and she's completely fulfilled her mission. She started her sporting career very early, having competed at the Lion d'Angers when she was 6-7. She entered the top level very young and has been doing it for 10 years now. My wife and I were wondering whether we wouldn't take advantage of this great opportunity to finish her sporting career, but nothing has been decided yet.

          For the other horses, I couldn't go to the 5 year old final which was in the same time. I try not to do things in a hurry and to do them in good conditions so that the horses are well prepared for their competition.

          The 5 year old Dgin is staying at the stable for the moment, he is not late so I am not worried. He is a horse that has grown a lot and changed physically this year. He's a horse I value for the future so I want to be patient. He was at Granville with me and showed very good things there.

          On the other hand, I was keen to fine-tune the preparation for my 6th birthday.

          They didn't qualify for the final either. I had a horse that started showing this year, another very good one that won the 5 year olds last year that could have been good but I missed a show when I got sick in July. So I went back to Lamotte Beuvron with them to get them going again. And then I have a 6 year old and my 7 year old who are going to run the CCI* in Lignières in order to give them experience and to perfect their training. Finally, I have another little 6 year old who will compete in several events to catch up.

          I'm also going to work on my show jumping horse, Sprinter, who hasn't done much this year, only 3 shows. For a show jumping horse, that's not much. He ran the Grand National de Jardy and Villers Vicomte. We're organising a show jumping event on thethird weekend of October, so he'll be back on that and then the Grand Nationals or the indoors.

          At the Games, was there a couple that particularly impressed you?

          Several horses impressed me but there is especially one horse that caught my attention. It is about the horses of the English and the neo and especially the horse of the rider Jonelle Price who climbed this famous hill at a phenomenal speed. This proves once again that for this discipline you need horses that are very close to the blood.

          Sydney Dufresne's horse, Trésor Mail, impressed me a lot. He's a great horse, I followed him throughout the preparation and it made me want to maybe try this stallion on Pivoine when he retired.

          What was your best moment in Tryon?

          At the end of the show jumping, when all of a sudden everything ends. The mare has just done a beautiful obstacle course, which was not won in advance because it is a delicate mare on the bars. And the moment the round ends, you can finally breathe and relax 100%. It's a very nice moment.

          Thanks to Donatien for this interview and see you soon for a new article!

          The Seaver Team