Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt has been selected to set the tracks for the 5* International Horse Show of Lausanne, Sept. 8-11 on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. With the incredible depth of course-designing talent in Europe, this is quite an unusual honour.
“I think it was a little bit by luck ‒ and I’ll take the luck,” Vaillancourt said, laughing. The originally-scheduled course designer was unable to fulfill his duties, and some thumbs-up from top riders sealed the deal. “When I was in La Baule [assistant course designing] this spring, the manager spoke with several riders, especially from North America like Eric Lamaze, and he also spoke to Henri and Katie Prudent, and asked their opinion because someone had brought up my name. They were very complimentary, so the management decided I would be a good fit, because a) I speak French, and b) I’m not French. The fact that I’m a Canadian did not create any conflict, so there would not be any hard feelings among the European course designers.”
Vaillancourt is hoping this will open some doors for course designers on this side of the pond. “We don’t get asked to come over to Europe as much and I think we have some very qualified course designers in North America. The opportunity does not come by very often. I think its a wonderful thing and if I do a good job maybe we will get asked to come over more often.”
Vaillancourt was the highly acclaimed course designer for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games held at the Caledon Equestrian Park. He was inducted into the Jump Canada Hall of Fame in 2009 in the Rider category for his many accomplishments as part of the Canadian Equestrian Team.