Béatrice Daviault had a childhood dream – to win the Running Fox CET Medal National Final.
“It’s my little-girl dream; I’ve always dreamed of winning the CET Medal at The Royal, so it was a goal I’ve always had,” said Daviault of Saint-Damase, QC.
When she ended up placing second in the Running Fox CET Medal Final on November 8th at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON, Daviault was ecstatic.
“I wasn’t expecting that at all,” said the 18-year-old. “The riders are so strong in this class that I thought I couldn’t have a chance, but I trained so hard for this. I was so happy when I finished second. Being second to Sam Walker is kind of like winning. He’s unbeatable.”
It was the first time that Daviault had competed in the Running Fox CET Medal National Final, but she’d previously shown her mare Lia in the junior jumper division at the iconic Toronto fixture. She and Lia also showed in the junior jumpers at the 2018 Royal, winning the division’s welcome class held the same day as the final phase of the CET Medal Final.
Daviault started her CET Medal Final journey by placing fifth with a score of 80 in the opening flat and gymnastic phase held on November 7. She then placed fifth in the following day’s jumping phase with an 81. Her combined score put her in fourth place in the standings and into the final four to test for the top placings.
“I didn’t think I would be called back for the test, so I was just happy to be able to ride in the test,” Daviault said.
A flawless test round, where her flying changes stood out in their quality and her inside turns flowed smoothly, moved her up to second place.
“I was surprised and amazed,” she said.
Daviault’s victory was a bit bittersweet, though, as The Royal was her last show with Lia, her 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. She’d been riding the gray mare for two years and said, “She was very special to me. She was nice and easy to ride. She’s pretty calm. In the ring, she’s so calm, but she’s always super stressed at the in-gate; I don’t know why. But that’s just her, and she’s so good once she goes in the ring.”
It was by chance that Daviault discovered her love of horses at age six. Her cousin had a birthday party at a stable with pony rides.
“I asked my parents to have my birthday there too. We had a free lesson with the party, so that’s where it all started,” she said.
“I think it’s a way for me to disconnect from school,” continued Daviault of why she enjoys riding. “I like the chemistry that you can have with the horse. The horses become a friend to you. And I really like the feeling of jumping, too! I do spend a lot of time in the barn with the horses. I try to spend half an hour, at least, with my horse before I ride and at least half an hour after.”
During her pony years, Daviault rode with Catherine Lefebvre at Stables Méliès. In recent years, she has trained with François Lamontagne. When Lamontagne opted to focus on a potential berth for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, Daviault worked mostly with Marie-Claire Savard.
“For this year, I set my goals with Marie-Claire,” Daviault said. “It was our goal for me to qualify for the CET Final, and then I finished first in the Regional Final from Quebec. My goal was to finish in the top eight at the Royal.”
Daviault is part of the Alliance Sport-études program at Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe in Quebec. She’s hoping to attend medical school in the future. Considering her schoolwork to be just as important as her riding, she doesn’t go to Florida to compete during the winter season. When Lamontagne’s horses leave for Florida from his Saint-Eustache, QC base, Daviault moves her horses to a farm closer to home to keep riding all winter.
Between school and riding, Daviault doesn’t have much spare time, but she spends time with friends from the barn and from school. Cooking is also a passion for her, and she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen.
“I used to model, but I don’t really have the time with school and riding,” she said. “I liked taking the pictures and I like the industry, but now it’s a part of my life that’s done.”
With her equitation and junior years now behind her, Daviault will focus on honing her skills further in the jumper ring. She’s leasing a horse to show at the 1.30m and 1.40m level this year and looking for a new horse with the goal of competing in the Under 25 classes in the near future. The Cheval Québec Excellence Support Program has listed her in their “Catégorie Espoir” as a young talent, and it’s easy to see why.
Reprinted with permission from the January 2019 edition of The Warm-Up Ring, the official news of Equestrian Canada’s Jumping Committee.