The sound of hooves, a few whinnies, especially the scent of hay and dung… It’s hard to imagine that we’re on the Champs-de-Mars, right in the heart of Paris. However, it is there at the foot of the Eiffel Tower that Saut Hermès has settled down for the second year in a row; the Grand Palais, the traditional setting for equestrian competition, being under construction as part of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. From Friday 17 and until Sunday 19 March, a hundred horses from all over the world compete in ten jumping events obstacles, including seven CSI 5* (international jumping competition), the highest level.
Audrey Morandat crosses the white stables set up for the occasion, a few meters from the main track. For four years, she has been the groom of the French rider Simon Delestre. His mission: to take care of the frames of the former world number 1. “These are my babies, I live almost twenty-four hours a day with them”, said the 29-year-old Drômoise with a smile. For this edition of the Saut Hermès, the Lorrain took three horses. Among them, Hermès Ryan, with whom he won twice, in 2018 and 2019, the prestigious Grand Prix Hermès, the flagship event that closes the meeting.
But there won’t be a pass of three: the little chestnut – he measures only 1.60 m at the withers – retired from sport last year, at the age of 17. The horse, whose real name is Ryan des Hayettes, is only present for a last lap of honour. On Saturday March 18 at 4:40 p.m., a tribute is thus organized by his sponsor, Hermès International, where he will be given a reward and a video reviewing his victories will be projected.
“We were like an old couple”
Audrey Morandat remembers her last competition, the 1er July 2022 at the Monaco Grand Prix. “The day before, we said to ourselves that if he had a good result, we would stop himremembers the young woman. We wanted to get him to the top, still in good health. » Simon Delestre and his mount win. The team breaks down in tears. “I immediately got on well with [ce cheval]he’s a little clown who always tries to make the starcontinues the groom. I remember the victories, but above all a lot of moments of complicity in the box. »
Bought at the age of 5 by the rider from Lorraine, Hermès Ryan quickly proved to be a “exceptional horse” : determined, always ready to go on the track, with an exceptional heart and faculties. Two years later, he became champion of France. Then launches into the big bath at 9 years old, an early age for a competition horse. With an impressive track record, the chestnut was the main architect of Simon Delestre’s world number one armband in 2016. That year, the latter stole the Grail from the one everyone thought was unbeatable, the Briton Scott Brash , who had held the title for twenty-seven months. “The only thing he misses is the Olympic medal [favori, il s’est blessé la veille de la compétition à Rio]. It’s a shame, because he deserved it.”regrets Simon Delestre.
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