Horse riding. At the CCI*4 in Marbach, the podium of Nicolas Touzaint and Gireg Le Coz, “a good omen for the Olympics”

Horse riding. At the CCI*4 in Marbach, the podium of Nicolas Touzaint and Gireg Le Coz, “a good omen for the Olympics”
Horse riding. At the CCI*4 in Marbach, the podium of Nicolas Touzaint and Gireg Le Coz, “a good omen for the Olympics”

A Blue White Red weekend in Germany. Behind the Norman Astier Nicolas, first in the difficult international four-star event in Marbach, Nicolas Touzaint and Gireg Le Coz, two riders from Maine-et-Loire, shone in all three disciplines.

The French left their opponents no chance. There were seven of them who took part in a terrain known to be demanding, the 4* international eventing competition (CCI) organized from May 8 to 12 in Marbach in Germany.

A qualifier for the Paris Olympic Games, this dressage, cross-country and obstacle competition was contested by 48 international riders, including the best in the world. At the top of the final ranking, Astier Nicolas, a rider from Toulouse, based in Normandy. Just behind him, two riders based in Maine-et-Loire, Nicolas Touzaint and Gireg Le Coz.

“I am very satisfied”reports Nicolas Touzaint, who won second place with his large gray horse, Diabolo Menthe, bought by the rider when he was three years old.

Eight years, and hundreds of hours of work later, here is the couple at the highest level, constantly progressing. “I had a very good feeling, I felt him well with me, well on point”says the Angevin rider, Olympic team eventing champion in 2004.

In January, with this horse that he knows by heart, but which has less experience than his other leading horse, Absolut Gold HDC, he won the CCI 4* of Boekelo, in the Netherlands. A first consecration, which seems to have given real impetus to the couple.

Now eleven years old, Diabolo Menthe started late on the circuit and is showing the extent of his potential. “He’s a big horse who has always been a little lax, there, I felt him at maturity last year and we kept him working this winter”, explains the Olympic champion. Since then, Diabolo Menthe has become more relaxed in dressage and faster in cross country… Enough to allow the couple to secure this second place in Germany.

Gireg Le Coz and Aisprit de la Loge also had a great performance this weekend in Marbach. Very in good shape this season, the couple had already come close to first place at Pompadour at the end of March, finally placing second. “I’m very happy, my horse is doing very well, he confirmed it by getting on the podium again”rejoices Gireg Le Coz, originally from Morbihan.

“It has really reached maturity, we have all the settings we need, we repeat what we do at home outdoors”, explains the rider, who himself trained Aisprit, born in Loire-Atlantique 14 years ago. Qualified for the Olympics, Gireg Le Coz and Aisprit are among the couples selectable for Paris 2024.

For the rider, this result is “A good omen for the Olympics, for me and for the entire French collective, it shows that we are a strong team, that the coach has choices, with successful couples, but we have to make our place”, he adds.

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Gireg Le Coz and Aisprit de la Loge took third place in the CCI 4* of Marbach. The rider relies on regularity to be among the riders selected for the Paris Olympics.

© France Télévisions

Nicolas Touzaint, too, remains cautious before Paris 2024. The rider is also qualified, in the running for Olympic selection with Diabolo Menthe as well as Absolut Gold HDC*.

But first, Nicolas Touzaint and Gireg Le Coz are focusing on the next big event for eventing riders: the French championship in Vittel from June 20 to 23. Until then, “It’s all a question of dosage and balance”knows Nicolas Touzaint, and with the horses, “We are never sure of anything.”

Only three riders will be selected by Thierry Touzaint to participate in the Olympic eventing events in Versailles at the end of July. The list will be known a few weeks before the competition.

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