Fontainebleau, France – April 24, 2022 – Beautiful family story in the French Pro Elite Championship, presented by Equi Generali! At the end of two rounds, Pénélope Leprevost (FRA) and Texas won the coveted title of champion of France, the day after the victory of her daughter Eden Leprevost Blin Lebreton (FRA) in the national Pro 1 event! Silver honors was claimed by François-Xavier Boudant (FRA), at the reins of Brazyl du Mezel (owned by Lionel Maurice) while bronze by Philippe Léoni (FRA) with Miss Marie v’t Winnenhof (owned by Maxime Rius), who came up all the way from thirty-fourth place!
You had to get up early to see the first starters in the final of the French Pro Elite championship compete in Fontainebleau (77). Cédric Longis, accompanied by his team, designed a selective 1.55m course in the first round, with three combinations: a triple in n°5 and two doubles in n°10 and 12. The river, placed in n°6, was followed by a directional which required subtlety from the rider.“After the first day, we saw that the number of couples present was of a good standard. We have to offer a selective final, especially since there are only two days of the event. The heights are those of a championship, the course is quite delicate and light, with distances where you have to gallop and then collect the horse. I think it’s above all a good course for riders, where we’ll see their technique and the dressage of the horses ,” confided the Ile-de-France course designer, who was careful not to predict a potential winner!
Clash of the Titans
Michel Robert, record holder for the number of French champion titles, gave his impression of the final round, made up of 11 obstacles and 14 efforts:“The first round required a lot of precision, we had to keep the horses fresh for the end of the course, but also for the second round. We have exceptional conditions, whether it’s the track, the course designer, etc. All the riders are unanimous in saying that we are extraordinarily lucky. The first two obstacles of the second round will give the horses confidence. The triple consisting of an oxer, a stride, then a vertical, again a stride and another vertical can be a difficulty. Palanque n°6 is one of the highest obstacles on the course, then the riders will then had to choose between six and seven strides to jump the next oxer. The last line ended with a double and an ultimate vertical, which, as we know, can cause mistakes.
The course was not a walk in the park! One of the favorites of the competition, Pénélope Leprevost (FRA) completed a precise second lap to get a clear round, after a first run penalized by a single time point exceeded with Texas, thus taking a good option for a medal with a cumulative score of 3.33 points. The color remained to be determined after Aymeric de Ponnat‘s (FRA) two faults with Hoover then those of Mégane Moissonnier (FRA) and Bacadabra…
Quintara, back in competition this year after one and a half stoppages, also cannot avoid two faults, relegating Julien Epaillard (FRA) in seventh place, leaving the gold medal to Pénélope Leprevost (FRA)!
François-Xavier Boudant and his Selle Français Brazyl du Mezel, clear on the last round, finally took second place.
Philippe Léoni (FRA) completed the podium with Miss Marie v’t Winnenhof, after two performances to one then zero points. Thirty-fourth before the final, the rider made a tremendous comeback thanks to his two beautiful laps.
The weekend therefore ends with a new victory for the female gender, as has also been the case in all the championships this week, but also with a beautiful family story, after Eden Leprevost Blin‘s title yesterday. Lebreton, who flew over the Pro 1 championship. Sylvie Robert, in charge of the event, described the victories of Penelope and Eden as a “beautiful page of history which marks the renewal of the French championships.”
As a reminder, the French Pro Elite champion also guaranteed a team spot for the CSIO 5* of La Baule and the CSI 5* at Equita Lyon.
Final Results – French Pro-Elite Championship
1) Pénélope Leprévost (FRA) & Texas – 2.33 / 1 / 0 = 3.33
2) François-Xavier Boudant (FRA) & Brazyl du Mezel – 1.80 / 4 / 0 = 5.80
3) Philippe Léoni (FRA) & Miss Marie van’t Winnenhof – 5.75 / 1 / 0 = 6.75
Here’s What They Said:
Serge Lecomte – President of the French Equestrian Federation
I congratulate all the riders for their performances and it warms our hearts that Pénélope Leprevost is on the top step of the podium. You are a great role model for all equestrian sports and this title confirms it. I thank the technical team which follows this beautiful championship, with the demonstration that France has its place in equestrian sports. We saw good performances, good horses and good riders, who are all progressing. Congratulations to Sophie Dubourg, national technical director, and to your entire team, for all the work done. I would also like to thank you Sylvie Robert, who succeeded in this fine performance of waking up the Grand Parquet. It needed it for years, many were talking about it and you did, so well done. I think that everyone who came this year will be keen to promote this French championship again. Thanks also to Equi Generali and its president Geoffroy de Barbeyrac for supporting us, and I hope that for the City of Fontainebleau, this will be an argument to further improve the development of this space that is the Grand Parquet, including the Land of honor and the stands that were not used today. These arrangements should enable us to make optimal use of the site. Thank you all. whose main ground and stands were not used today. These arrangements should enable us to make optimal use of the site. Thank you all. whose main ground and stands were not used today. These arrangements should enable us to make optimal use of the site. Thank you all.
Frédéric Morand – Vice-President of the French Equestrian Federation
For four days, we have been in a magnificent environment that GL Events has taken on very well. Regarding the Pro Elite championship, it’s fabulous. All the courses were well thought out, there were no horses in difficulty. It was technical, there were reversals of situation, and emotion at the end with the victory of Pénélope Leprevost, who won this championship for the first time. Kudos to her! The day before, her daughter also won, so it’s a double emotion. We also saw a lot of horses, some of them in the making. The technical management therefore has a bit of work to do with them, to orient them well and that they train as well as possible for the upcoming deadlines and the Paris 2024 Games.
Sophie Dubourg – National Technical Director
We are very satisfied after this weekend of competition. We dared to use the right sports format. The CSI 4* was added late, but we had decided from the start to work with Sylvie Robert. We were afraid in recent years that an international label would erase the national label little. We had complete confidence in Sylvie and her respect for sport to create this event. The correct formula is therefore to ask riders requesting selection in the CSI 4* to also take part in the French championship. There was no refractory. We thank the riders who entered the good horses in this national event. The bet is successful and we obviously hope to perpetuate this format.
Henk Nooren – Chef d’Equipe of France
On behalf of all the riders, I thank GL Events and the FFE, who had the courage to test this, with a huge taste of GL Events for excellence. Thank you to the course designer Cédric Longis for his enormous work and his good routes. We haven’t seen any underperformance in the horses. The “Leprevost” weekend will go down in the annals of French riding!
Pénélope Leprévost (FRA) – French Pro Elite Champion
Eden was amazing yesterday! We always say “Eden is Penelope’s daughter”, but this morning I felt more like Eden’s mother! I got back into my role. Great story, emotionally it will stay for a long time. I’m happy with Texas, which I love. I’ve had it for a year and a half, I believe in it a lot and it fires. It belongs to Eric Levallois, who trusts us. It’s nice, as a rider, to have the support of its owner. He was present at the awards ceremony, which made me happy. It was nice that he could share this moment with his horse. It has a lot of resources, it is competitive and will do some great events. It was my first participation in Pro Elite, and I have two Cavalières championship titles, the last in 2007. At the time,
François-Xavier Boudant – Vice-Champion of France
It’s a great performance, I wanted a medal at the start so I’m very happy. The horse is incredible, he doesn’t look like much but he is always there and does his best for me. The first objective was to succeed in the championship, to then see in which direction to direct the season.
Philippe Léoni (FRA) – Bronze Medalist
This morning, I was thirty-fourth before the final. This is what is magnificent in our sport. Today, I concentrated on achieving a double clear round, which was my objective. She’s a fantastic mare who has been rejuvenating me for six months. I am very happy, and congratulations to Penelope and my friend FX. I took a break of four and a half years, because it is not easy to lead a high-level career in parallel with an active professional career. I’m lucky to have a team around me and extraordinary horses that allowed me to do this. The passion never leaves, I love this sport and the horses. So it’s a surprise today, my mare has proven her qualities. This is happiness. I have experienced less exciting championships, today there were all the best French riders.
Source: Press Release (translated & edited) from FFE – Fédération Française d’Équitation
Photos: © FFE / PSV Photo / ZG Photography