Credit : GRANDPRIX Classic
Thursday 10 January - 17h25 | GRANDPRIX
Last autumn, the regional government of Fontainebleau, France put out a call for expressions of interest to manage the historic Grand Parquet equestrian stadium, about 70 kilometres southeast of the French capital, Paris. GRANDPRIX, organizer of many events at the site since 2013 – including the 2018 Longines FEI European Championships for Children, Juniors & Young Riders in the three Olympic disciplines – is one of those to have answered the call to propose a project related to the necessary modernization of the site and support of the local government of the financial cost of its maintenance. This project would involve many players in the industry, including elite French rider Philippe Rozier, an Olympic show jumping champion.
Fontainebleau's location relative to Paris
Vincent Goehrs, president of GRANDPRIX, describes his vision for the Fontainebleau site as follows: "It seems to us that the Grand Parquet has reached a turning point in its history. This stadium is part of the history of French equestrian sports but can not live on on its past alone. After the upgrades done in 2011, it is now essential to work on the condition of the sports facilities and respond to the expectations of riders and the requirements of horses. Having organized events over the past six years in the three Olympic disciplines at the site, we are ready to take on the challenge proposed by the authorities in Fontainebleau if our proposal is selected. Failing that, we hope wholeheartedly that the site will be entrusted to a company which will make the necessary investments in its modernization, above all in the equestrian sphere. I understand that the Grand Parquet has to diversify, and I agree with that objective, but it must above all remain a reference point for equestrian sports and a focal point for our sector." Equestrian competitions all year long GRANDPRIX proposes to convert the Grand Parquet into a leading equestrian centre for all, at every level and in every discipline. To that end, GRANDPRIX plans to directly organize 14 weekends of competition in 2020, to which will be added the major current events put on by other organizers, from show jumping to breeding. In addition to this strategy of hosting events throughout the year, GRANDPRIX proposes the creation of a CSI4* on the site in the summer of 2021 to reinforce the venue’s international profile and highlight the Fontainebleau region. An ambitious investment plan and job creator To make this development policy possible, GRANDPRIX is proposing among other things the enlargement of the site in order to be able to host Grand Prix-type events if inclement weather affects conditions at the site’s existing competition grounds, as well as the construction of 200 additional permanent stalls and an expansion and improvement of the parking areas. In addition, the project presented by GRANDPRIX envisions the creation of 22 full-time jobs. Starting in 2020, it is expected that staff will be recruited in areas such as event organization, communications, administration, training and education, maintenance and development, and reception. A training centre for the horse trades, and much more... GRANDPRIX proposes that the Grand Parquet become a training centre in its own right. Two types of training are foreseen. First of all, diploma courses recognized by the state related to the different disciplines of jumping, eventing and dressage. Secondly, vocational training which meets the needs of the equestrian market such as groom and stable manager. This training activity can also be oriented towards the general public. Thus, GRANDPRIX will develop in partnership with the company Equicoaching a range of training seminars. Equicoaching is the French leader in innovative training for managers using horses. The company offers training modules on trust, decision-making, emotional intelligence and stress management in business. For all these topics, the horse, which functions as a mirror, is an integral part of the process. Large companies like Total, Enedis, Renault, Danone, Orange, Unilever and Clarins are already using Equicoaching to train their managers, and the aim is to make the Grand Parquet a reference point for the hosting of these training courses in France. Philippe Rozier, a sporting and technical pillar A big admirer of the Grand Parquet site, Philippe Rozier, whose titles include Olympic Champion in 2016 in Rio, will oversee the technical and sports development of the site. In addition, as part of this training and knowledge transfer activity, GRANDPRIX will organize master classes each month, led by first-rate speakers. Philippe Rozier will be one of the pillars of this activity. A workspace open all year round to professionals GRANDPRIX also wishes to open the Grand Parquet site to professional riders who would like to base themselves there year-round. For them, the benefits are numerous, and comparable to those received by companies when they operate in shared spaces: quality infrastructure, shared operating and maintenance costs, collaborative projects and skill-sharing, and enhanced networking. This offer reserved for professionals will offer rentals of sets of a minimum of ten stalls. An on-site veterinary clinic to ensure the best care To promote this process of development, diversification and sustainability of the Grand Parquet, GRANDPRIX is proposing the installation of an equine veterinary clinic. With this initiative, it will be possible to guarantee the safety and optimal care of horses coming to compete at the site, and thus improve the attractiveness of the Grand Parquet on the international stage. This clinic will also be able to offer a local care unit to the many horses located in the region. The construction rules of the National Forestry Office would be fully respected. A versatile site geared towards leisure and business The GRANDPRIX proposal also aims to develop non-equestrian events at the site. It will privilege nature-oriented events like foot races, orienteering and obstacle courses, which correspond well to the topographical features of the Grand Parquet. Hunting and nature activities, as well as events around gardens and plants could also be envisaged in this beautiful green setting. In the end, the priority is to reinforce the Grand Parquet as a meeting place for stakeholders in the equestrian sector and open it up to an ever-wider audience of nature lovers, all in the economic and social interest of the Fontainebleau region.
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