Horse Riding – CCI 5* of Pau: Gaspard Maqsoud, the rising star

Horse Riding – CCI 5* of Pau: Gaspard Maqsoud, the rising star

There is no doubt that his short and light size prepared him to pursue an equestrian career. On the other hand, it contradicts his first love: rugby, which he embraced from the ages of 6 to 11 before realizing the truth. The young knight smiled: “The guys on the other side of the road are starting to get really strong.” And I received an offer to try horseback riding: my mother, who was an agricultural high school teacher, had a colleague who owned horses. I started walking, without any fuss. »

In just a few sessions, the 30kg wet Laval resident was bitten by the virus and stepped up his practice up to three or four times a week. The rhythm, combined with the competitive temperament he developed at rugby school, quickly led him onto the competition pitches. First in show jumping before moving towards completion.

Important meeting

The results are not expected. In 2009, Gaspard Maqsoud was crowned French junior champion in Rodez. A few weeks before an important meeting in his young life, with the gold medalist of the Olympic team from Athens, Cédric Layard. “He challenged me during the competition at Gardi. Sitting near the quarry, he praised my journey before offering me to go and work on his infrastructure. I was very impressed, and finally I jumped at the chance: I was still a student but I started going to his house during the school holidays.” »

His relationship with the international tricolor served as a real launching pad allowing him to land across the Channel with the holy beast of the field, New Zealander Andrew Nicholson, who was then world number one. Thanks to his hard work, the Frenchman learned his skills there, discovered Zaragoza who would become his flagship mare and went on to compete in CCI 4*s. His strong performance caught the attention of Thierry Tozan, who opened doors for him to the French national team. First on the CCIO 4*-S in Aix-la-Chapelle and Pin-au-Haras before the pair graced the mantle in the planetary final of Pratoni del Vivaro, where they signed off on the best French result (sixth place).

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“There’s what you need!” »

In 2023, his preparations were disrupted by a broken collarbone. But the Surrey-based rider was soon back in the saddle to enter the European Championships, in which he finished eighth. “Tournaments are great, they are moments where teamwork makes sense, where we get closer to the spirit of rugby. But for me, 5* has a higher dimension. So I am very excited to race in Pau, to be able to compete against the best riders, against very good horses, in Great tours. »

Registered with two of his loyal horses, Zaragoza and Can-Do 2, the Main is therefore setting out to face his final challenge in this pre-Olympics year. If cross-country and horse racing, like his compatriot Maxime Livio, will allow him to consolidate his position at the top of the standings, his first attempt was marred by some critical errors that do not cast doubt on his desire to finish in the top five. The trot was very good. There is progress compared to Europe. But there were some small mistakes: and that leaves the business prospects for this winter. Now it’s time for cross country, on Saturday: there’s what you need on the course! »

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