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1. Firstly, how did you get known as 'The French woman on a mission?
That is a very good question! Some people gave me this nickname. Perhaps because I’ve always done things my way, not trying to be like others, and I’m always looking to search, understand, and discover new things in the relationship we can build with our wonderful companions (horses).
2. How did your dressage career start and when?
In 2006. Kind of by coincidence, or maybe destiny. It was a matter of meetings that changed the road I had chosen at the time.
3. What are your thoughts on coming to The Horse of the year show? Which is also your UK debut with your new venture.
I’m very happy and excited about it. I have always loved the UK and keep one of my best competition memories there with Hicksteads CDIO. I think the British people are real horsemen.
4. At what age do you/can you start training a horse without a bit?
This is different for every horse. I started Aslan at 3 years old because he was incredibly smart, brilliant and had enough self-confidence. Some others need more time to understand the self-carriage. You always have to stay open minded and to listen to your horse, as they are the only one able to tell you what they are ready for.
6. What was the best part of your time as the French pony dressage team coach?
Clearly I kept lots of amazing memories but the European Championships in 2013 held in Arezzo really is the best one. We were such a strong and united team, the kids, parents, coaches, everybody was standing as one. It was an amazing week, which was the result of a long year of hard work to build a strong and deep team spirit.
7. What was it that got you in to riding with just a cord around the horses’ neck and what was the process to this stage.
There wasn’t a process. One day I woke up and I knew I wanted to try this new thing with Mistral. It was the same when I tried with the halter, bareback.
8. You spend a lot of time travelling, is this something you really enjoy and where is it you mainly go?
I was doing a lot, but now that I have my family things are very different. My priorities have changed now and that has altered my way of life too. But I loved it a lot for the several years I was doing the travelling. I was lucky enough to get the chance to travel everywhere, which meant I met a lot of wonderful people, as well as performing in the best places. I was mainly going to Germany, but I also went to France, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Austria. It has been an amazing journey.
9. Having competed on Nations cup teams and a European championships, where does that stand in your career achievements and highlights?
It’s a big part of my story and my construction. I would probably never have reached the same things without this high level competition experience, and the research that goes with the opportunities.
It’s another chapter of my life and a part of me, as are the artistic shows. Without any of this I would never have met my incredible Mistral without these competitions. It’s like a completed puzzle.
10. How have the Haygain products contributed to you and the horses?
We have been using Haygain for two years now. For the first few weeks my horses looked at it in a weird way! Then they started to love it so much and now don’t eat ‘normal’ hay anymore. The quality is so much better by using the machine. We are really happy with it, that’s why we bring it everywhere with us.
Mistral, 18 year old Lusitano stallion who has competed at International Grand Prix competitions, European Championships, CDI5* and been on Nations Cup teams.
Sultan, a son of Mistral. 12 year old Lusitano gelding who is performing in the liberty shows all over Europe. Currently doing all the Grand Prix movements ridden and also from the ground in freedom.
Jericault, a 3 year old stallion. Another son of Mistral. I believe he is my
Pirate, a 7 year old Welsh section A gelding. He is the biggest personality of the stable with his 95cm height. Performing at shows and master classes.
Happy Ballerine, a 6 year old KWPN mare and Valerius, a 6 year old KWPN stallion. Both of these two are working in the direction of the Grand Prix competitions for the next few years.
Follow Alizée and her amazing group of horses here