The latest edition of the FEI’s official magazine, FEI Focus, shines the spotlight is on the upcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy.
The Games will be the largest sporting event in France this year, on the back of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping and Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Finals in Lyon, with eight world championships held at spectacular venues including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mont Saint-Michel and the historic Haras du Pin.
A Life in a Day talks to Mathieu Collet, Venue Manager of the Games Village, and reveals what a typical day holds for the man in charge of the 110,000 m² area where about 30,000 people are expected daily. “Our aim is to create a place where people will want to come again and again – to sit down, to have a drink, eat, meet people and make discoveries,” Collet says.
All those travelling to Normandy will want to discover exciting new things, and the attractions of the Alltech Pavilion and the FEI Pavilion both feature in the magazine. FEI Focus also goes behind the scenes and checks out preparation work on the stables, which were extremely well received at this month’s test events in d’Ornano Stadium, and how the well-being of the 1000 competing horses will be assured. Normandy is renowned as an important gastronomic region in France, so the Organising Committee also gives tempting insider recommendations for great restaurants in the area.
A touching piece tells the stories of two vaulters: South Africa’s Bongani Mvumvu, who clearly remembers what it meant to have nothing in his early years, and young Lambert Leclezio, the only Mauritian vaulting athlete to have reached such a high level. Both will represent their countries for the first time at World Championship level thanks to FEI Solidarity funding that helped them on the road to Normandy, financing their training and travel to qualifying events. “FEI Solidarity was 100 per cent behind me and I really appreciate it,” Mvumvu says.
Back to the past and Memory Lane travels to 1990, the year of the inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games in Stockholm, and shows that some things never change. “We worked like hell for the last six months with lots of late nights and early mornings,” remembers Wiveka Lundh, now Sport Director for the Swedish National Federation. “Colleagues became family,” she says.
The other side of gives an insight into the multiple Olympic, World and European medallist William Fox-Pitt. “The first persons I send text messages after a competition are my wife, my horses’ owners and my mother, if they are not there,” Fox-Pitt says.
Seen from the outside looks at how non-equestrian athletes view the equestrian world. “I am staggered at the communication between rider and horse – it gives a whole added dimension of complexity,” says Jonathan Edwards, Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth Games gold medallist and triple jump world record holder.
The latest edition also features stunning photos from the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final and the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Lyon, and Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping at Coapexpan in Mexico, which made a memorable first appearance on the Nations Cup calendar thanks to a crew that worked overnight to repair extensive damage caused by an earthquake, hurricane-force winds and torrential rain.