Credit : Scoopdyga
Friday 01 March - 23h02 | As told to Lucas Tracol
Team gold medal winner and individual silver medalist at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, team bronze medalist at the Malmö Europeans, winner of the 2017 world championship for seven-year-old horses and bronze medalist last year, France's Astier Nicolas wants to shake things up in his sport. The 30-year-old rider based near Deauville in the Normandy region would like to have a stronger string of horses to be able to ensure a constant place at the highest level. GRANDPRIX offered Astier Nicolas a platform to express his views.
"Thank-you for giving me a forum to express things which are necessary for a positive continuation of my career. I am indeed looking for an experienced mount at the high level that I could take with me to challenge for the podium at the next Olympic Games and World Championship.As we know, Vinci de la Vigne was sold in December. We have no regrets; this was a good sale that was planned. Apart from that, there have been no major transfers in my stable this winter, except for some young horses certainly who are extremely promising, but still too inexperienced for major events. I need to attract strong and experienced horses to my stable, to remain among the best. I came back from Rio de Janeiro with two medals (Team Olympic gold and Individual silver), I brought a horse up to the seventh place at the World Equestrian Games (Vinci de la Vigne, in September in Tryon – ed.), but despite this tremendous record, the situation remains complicated. Frankly, Lewis Hamilton did not become Formula 1 world champion last year with a two-horse-power car ... That being said, I would not denigrate the horses I currently have, because I have an extraordinary team... but young! My string today is almost exclusively composed of young horses, of which ten compete in SHF (young horse - ed.) circuit, and four others who are between seven and nine years old." Continued below.
"Heading into the Olympics in 2016, I knew I would have to face a renewal of my horse team eventually, but I thought the Rio medals would help me more. I could clearly sense the interest of different owners, some of whom have become real allies in my quest for the very high level. I above all do not want to denigrate what we have built, but excellence is demanding and has a cost.Our sport costs more and more. Admittedly, eventing is ten years behind show jumping, but are going in the same direction. We are more than ever obliged to work with people who have substantial means to invest. Big titles, a stable that works well, young horses who have performed well – in particular, with a gold and bronze at the Mondial du Lion Young Horse World Champonships – are no longer sufficient. For the very high level, we need financial partners. I am now 30, and at that age, one does not find a million euros under one's pillow.Very good horses cost money and we must stop making people believe that we will build dreams with a few euros... This is no longer the reality. To be at the highest level, I need an experienced mount that I can take to the top. Such a mount is, despite my titles, inaccessible without the accompaniment of a financial partner.In France, we have seen stables successfully accompany high level riders in jumping, such as the Clarbec stud farm or the Coudrettes stud farm. We should be inspired by this model for eventing. Moreover, I do not think that we can talk about large differences in profitability between these two disciplines, as ticket prices for the high level in jumping are very high. It is necessary now to turn to people who are passionate about the sport sport if we want to receive support to compete at a very high level. Horse racing can be profitable but sport much less when it not focused on the business side. The price of eventing horses has exploded in recent years. While some countries are always ready to invest for the high level, in France, with the importance of breeding, we are more focused on promotion and marketing. The Anglo-Saxons have a culture of 'pleasure investing' in all sports. They are looking for the thrill of victory and not necessarily profitability. They also understood the benefits in terms of public relations and sports communication."
\"Every winter, I integrate four three-year-old horses into my system, in order to put the odds on my side of having home produced generations. While I started (I\'m only 30 years old), I must obviously be able to rely on horses of high level, and so teach them the skills they lack. Even this system offers no guarantee, as there are sales, injuries, and some horses may disappoint.\"
Thursday 28 February - 16h24
Monday 04 March - 14h06
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