Belgian show jumper Gudrun Patteet became the third woman to win a Longines Grand Prix in the Longines Masters series, following Pénélope Leprévost of France in 2011 and Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander in 2018. Leprévost and Tops-Alexander both took the title in Paris, but Patteet has now secured one for the women in Lausanne.
Perhaps it was the brisk mountain air or the magnificent view of Lake Geneva that gave Patteet an extra boost of inspiration, for it was a ride as perfect as the setting. Second place went deservingly to Italian Giulia Martinengo Marquet.
Despite being the only two women out of seven riders qualified for the Longines Grand Prix of Lausanne jump-off, the women were the superior gender this afternoon in Place Bellerive. In such a pristine, idyllic setting, all who participated in the Lausanne leg of the Longines Masters felt lucky to experience it. As all the riders will attest, it is a dream to return next year. Equally charmed by the sport and the one-of-a-kind scenery were the spectators: 18,000 to be more specific, which included 2,500 VIPs who also came out to enjoy this beautiful show which ended in the celebration of a special pair, Gudrun Patteet and Sea Coast Pebbles Z.
First on course we saw a tremendously athletic horse, in which energy burst forth with each step. According to Eric Navet, the former champion of France three times over who watching the horse from the sidelines, it’s what made all the difference in this Swiss test. Patteet spoke in agreement about the 13-year-old gelding’s spirit and speed on course: “That I won today was because I have a horse who is naturally fast, so I saved time everywhere on course. I turned short and his athleticism took care of the rest. It was also a very well-constructed course (designed by French Gregory Bodo – Ed). In the first round there were little questions everywhere, but obviously the course suited Pebble and he managed them really well.He’s a horse I’ve been riding since he was eight-years-old. Now, he’s 13. He’s exceptional, though he can be a little bit special at times. Beyond that he’s very good. In the stable he’s a very nice, calm horse, but as soon as you climb on him he’s very hot. His lifestyle is tailored to him. He is never stuck in the stall, he spends his life outside with a small shelter-shed where he comes and goes as he pleases,” said Patteet. “I always have to think of different jobs, outings in the forest, etc. At the show, I never emphasize the dressage. We go out and jump a few fences and then head in the ring!” Head in the ring, and then win…
A woman’s relationship with a horse is also too on the emotional level. The Italian “Aviator” (she rides in the Italian Air Force uniform for her service), Giulia Martinengo Marquet is always happy to have a respectable result with Elzas: ‘‘I am absolutely not frustrated have finished second in this Longines Grand Prix because I am proud of my horse who was already super in Rome and St. Gallen. With my husband, we train the young horses ourselves and Elzas came from this program. Another reason I don’t regret it is Lausanne is a great show and it is already wonderful to be here. So second place is really fulfilling,” she said.
This feeling was affirmed by the first man in the standings, Belgian rider Nicola Philippaerts, who was 1.85 seconds behind with his horse Katanga v/h Dingeshof. “I am very happy to have been able to make it here. It was this mare’s first 5* Grand Prix and she did really well,” said Philippaerts.
He was one of two happy Belgians. The other being Christophe Ameeuw, president and founder of EEM, the man who brought the beautiful concept of the Longines Masters to the shores of Lake Geneva, which gave the impression the course was on a boat. “At each leg of the Longines Masters, my priority is to promote the sport,” began Ameeuw. “This setting, one of the most beautiful in the world, has allowed us to do that. Today I am particularly pleased to see two women and one man on this podium. It’s a reminder that riding is the only Olympic sport in which men and women compete equally. It was our first time here and I would like to thank our Title Sponsor, Longines, the city of Lausanne, and the Canton de Vaud, all of whom made it possible to have a successful event. I would also like to thank all of our other partners and exhibitors who accompany us on all three continents. The most beautiful validation that we succeeded in meeting our goals is the enthusiastic response from the public.” We now know that the Longines Masters Lausanne has a bright future ahead. This is the only the first edition, and we already can’t wait to return to the lake.
The Swiss riders have also enjoyed good results in the Longines Grand Prix 5* of Lausanne. Walter Gabathuler, a veteran at 65-years-old and 1975 and 1983 Swiss Team member, where he was a part of the first team to win the European Championship title, exuded happiness with his two clear rounds on Silver Surfer. He fell fifth between his two fellow Swiss, Paul Estermann, fourth with Lord Pepsi, and Niklaus Rutschi, sixth with Cardano CH. Steve Guerdat did not have the outcome he hoped for, he opted to retire the inexperienced Janus VB after having some trouble early in the course. Swiss superstar Bryan Balsiger and AK’s Courage also left the course with two down. Previous World Cup Winner, Beat Mändli with Dsarie and Yannick Jorand with Cipetto had a better score, catching just one rail each.