A guest contribution by Charlotte Rimaud who writes her own vaulting blog in French. Thank you for the transaltion!
Why did Noroc take over the Ecurie de la cigogne this year?
The 2015 French equestrian vaulting nationals took place from the 2nd to the 5th July in the Boulerie Jump complex in Yvré-L’Evêque, near Le Mans, where the World Championships have already been organized. Under a terrible heat, the small and bigger vaulters still managed to compete in individual and teams.
I will, by the way, focus on the team competition. In the « amateur elite » category (equivalent to 3* or gold level in other countries), three teams were headed for the gold medal, Essonne Voltige Equestre, Team Noroc and l’Ecurie de la cigogne. The last team I mentioned has already represented France in several European and World championships. Recently, they took the bronze medal at the World Equestrian Games in Caen, Normandy last September. The team members have changed a little since their first international competitions, but their wonderful horse, Watriano is still there for them so is their amazing lunger, Fabrice Holzberger. And let’s not forget their coach: Cédric Cottin. Great favorites for this year’s national competition, they had won the French champion title for the past 5 years.
Sometimes, it seems one brand’s pain is another’s gain and it is the very young Team Noroc, lead by Jacques Ferrari, current world champion in individual, who win the 2015 gold medal. After only 11 months working together, the team’s cohesion amongst the vaulters but also with their horse Wizner and their lunger Sandra Tronchet, was such that they manage to show their best on the two freestyle rounds.
On the third step of the podium is the feminine team Essonne Voltige Equestre, who vaulted with their young horse, Alexandro and their well-known lunger, Hélène Manal. They seem to have a new little flyer in their team and have progresses since the beginning of the year.
Focus on the match for the gold medal
Let’s focus on the beautiful competition between Noroc and the Ecurie de la cigogne (from the East of France). After the compulsory round, the Ecurie de la cigogne takes a good lead over Team Noroc. This, thanks to the big experience of the Alsace-based vaulters. Nor is very good as well, however their small flyer is still too little to manage to get to the Cigogne’s compulsory level. She will get there for sure, she seems very dynamic and willing to do good.
Second step, first freestyle. Noroc unveils its freestyle before the Cigogne and the public is already speechless in front of their lightness, smoothness and the artistic of their program. The Ecurie de la cigogne comes in with a little pressure. Everybody is waiting for the bronze WEG medal. The technical and precise aspect of their freestyle is measured millimeter by millimeter. Unfortunately on their last bloc, they are slightly unbalanced. The judges have took their decision, the resident team’s freestyle (Noroc) gets a better score than the Cigogne’s. Winning the freestyle does not mean they have won the competition, the Cigogne keep the advantage for the 1st round.
It is important to know that vaulters can compete in team but also in individual in the same competition. The ones who do both have to find even more resources to be able to vault well through the four days of competitions, without thinking of being tired. Team Noroc’s members Flora and Manon were the only ones to compete as individuals a part from the team. Manon took the first place in « amateur 1 » (equivalent of silver or 2*) and got selected for the Junior World Championships in Ermelo, Netherlands from the 5th to the 9th August. In the Ecurie de la cigogne team, Robin, Christelle, Cléone and Clément participated in individuals as well. Sunday’s finals, still an extremely hot day, were therefore difficult for everyone (horses included).
Nor comes into the center of the competition circle and made us shiver for 4 minutes. Nothing to say, expect a score superior to 9! The cigogne’s turn it is. Unfortunately, a fall at the start of their program, another one at the end and they can say goodbye to their French champion title for a sixth year in a row.
The pressure is at its highest, all the competition ground is nervous to know who will win the 2015 edition. Noroc is « crowned » new French champion. Nothing is lost for the Ecurie de la cigogne, they now have true and talented friends and rivals. Even if they have not won gold this year, they have won their ticket to the European championships in Aachen.