Very good news: Thierry Rozier will be in Lausanne with his two leading mares! His two ambitious objectives: to achieve a strong performance, particularly in the Longines Grand Prix, as in Paris, and to prepare for the European Championship in Rotterdam, which will take place two months later in the same configuration as the Longines Masters of Lausanne.
Since your fifth place in the Longines Grand Prix of Paris, you have been performing well in Grand Prix competitions. Can we say that you and your horses are in good form?
Yes, everything is indeed fine and, as I repeat quite often, I’m trying to arrange a good schedule for my mare in order to prepare her as well as possible for the competitions. Since our performance in Paris, the first big fixture of our 2019 season was La Baule.
Do you already know which horses you’re bringing to Lausanne? How are Venezia d’Écaussinnes and Star?
Regarding Venezia, her last big competition was La Baule. I had arranged a schedule so that she would be in the best possible shape and ready for this competition, knowing that I would probably participate in the Nations Cup. So, I made a schedule based on all these elements and it worked well because I got a double clear round in the Nations Cup. What satisfies me all the more is the fact that two days later I was able to participate in the Grand Prix—Venezia was in good shape and behaved very well, and that really comforted me.
I am really happy with Star. She is a mare that I have only had for three years and she was a rather late developer. She made her first circuit when she was six. She was very shy and did not have the temperament or the head for big events. Last year, I took her to some great competitions with Venezia. It wasn't easy for her at first because these are important fixtures, but she played the game, so I'm really proud of her. This weekend, she just did her first GP at 1.60m on which she made a small four points. I am really happy with her behavior, so it is really encouraging for the future. She will be able to accompany Venezia to the 5* competitions without suffering from a sporting point of view, which is very important.
These are the two mares I’ll bring to the Longines Masters in Lausanne.
How are you training your horses – and yourself – for this new stage of the Longines Masters?
Following La Baule, Venezia successfully passed a veterinary check-up. I gave her a three-week break so she could clear her head. She hadn't lost any weight; she came back very well from that big event. She will resume competition in a fortnight at the CSI4* in St Tropez, then she will go directly to the Longines Masters of Lausanne.
As far as I'm concerned, I'm not going to change anything. From now on, I have my little habits with my mares. I prefer not to focus on particular events in my preparation, I simply try to improve again and again! It is true that the Longines Masters of Lausanne is an important fixture in Venezia’s schedule. For the moment, we are following her preparation program and it seems to be working rather well. I don't want to put pressure any on, I let the mare do the talking. We are really following a training schedule, and she makes me understand if she is in form or not after each competition.
What does the Longines Masters series represent to you?
Lausanne is a place I really appreciate, and which has now been chosen by a friend, Christophe Ameeuw, and his EEM team. Also, it is partly thanks to him that I am lucky enough to have Venezia, since she comes from his stud farm. It's a great story and I'm delighted to be part of this circuit.
The Longines Masters series means a lot to me. Christophe Ammeuw has always given me the chance to participate in his competitions. I always say that I only like to participate if I have a chance to perform well. I feel I have to be ready to ride the Longines Masters. I want to have the best possible chance in the competition. Whenever possible, I have been present, specifically at the Longines Masters of Paris. So, it is really important to me to be part of this series. Unfortunately, I can't do all the stages. I was invited to New York, but that didn't correspond at all with the competition schedule we had planned for Venezia, which was to prepare for the outdoor season in April. You have to be wise about your horse and sometimes you have to be able to say no. We included the Longines Masters of Lausanne in Venezia’s program some time ago, as it is both a great event, but also an excellent preparation for the rest of the season, and possibly for the European Championships [which will be held on sand, as in Lausanne - editor's note]. This last objective has not yet been set, but if all the lights are green for the mare and we are selected, we will go and do the best for the French team.
What are your next goals?
Among the major outdoor events to come after the Longines Masters of Lausanne, we may be aiming at Aachen CHIO before the European Championships. We will need to participate in a few more major events to prepare for the Championships. After the summer, we will set out on an "indoor" objective, and I hope to be able to finish the year at the Longines Masters of Paris!