France dominated the weekend’s three-star Saumur International Horse Trials, securing five of the top ten places on their home turf, including the top four placings overall.
The outright winner was Maxime Livio and Qalao des Mers, who moved up a place in each phase to take the overall title with 41.20 penalties.
The show jumping phase proved influential, with only five combinations going clear from 41 starters.
French riders filled the next three places, with Donatien Schually second on Cadiz with 48.40, Thibaut Vallette and Qing do Briot third with 48.60, and Karim Florent Laghouag fourth on Entebbe de Hus (50.0).
Australia’s Chris Burton and Graf Liberty also finished on 50 penalties in fifth place, with the USA’s Doug Payne and Crown Talisman sixth with 54.20.
Ireland’s Camilla Speirs with Bridget Speirs’s diminutive Irish Sport Horse Portersize Just a Jif climbed 13 places to finish seventh overall. The combination, who survived a spectacular fall on cross country at the 2012 London Olympics, showed no hesitation on Saumur’s track, coming home clear within the time to improve to eighth place after starting in 20th following the dressage phase.
New Zealand rider Jonelle Richards moved up from 61st place after the dressage to 41st following the cross-country, and placed 23rd overall with 77.0
Of the 72 starters, there were only 41 completions, with four withdrawing before the showjumping. Earlier, another 15 retired on the cross-country, with nine eliminations at that phase. Three other combinations withdrew after the dressage.