He is the rising star of French course design; French riders and equestrian sports enthusiasts are getting to know him, and Christophe Ameeuw decided to present him to the world for this new edition of the Longines Masters of Paris. Course designer Gregory Bodo, who discreetly designed a few courses for the first Longines Masters of Lausanne in 2019, will also design the courses of the Paris edition, taking place from December 5 to 8 at the Paris-Villepinte Exhibition Center. It’s an "immense honor" and a "sign of recognition" for the one who, in just three years, became an established name with his resolutely modern vision that respects equestrian sport.
In French show jumping, a certain name has quickly become unavoidable. Are they a rider? No, a course designer! He designed his first CSI5* courses just three years ago, but he has come a long way since then. Gregory Bodo, a marketing professor, is undoubtedly the star pupil of world show jumping. A perfect start for Bodo who will be course designing the courses of the Longines Masters of Paris 2019.
You will be the course designer for the Longines Masters of Paris 2019. How will you approach this new challenge?
GREGORY BODO: In June 2019, I was given the opportunity to be the course designer of the Longines Masters of Lausanne. That first experience with the Longines Masters series gave me a better understanding of the DNA and the purpose of this prestigious circuit, which fascinates the greatest riders in the world with its top level sport and show production. The Lausanne experience was positive and Christophe Ameeuw then asked me to take part in the Longines Masters of Paris 2019. I was honored and humbly accepted. It’s a great honor to succeed great course designers like Frank Rothenberger and Uliano Vezzani, to name but a couple, and I appreciate my luck: I designed my first CSI5* course just three years ago, and my inclusion in the Longines Masters of Paris is a sign of recognition and confidence from the equestrian world that I won’t betray. Everything will be done to provide top-level sport and an outstanding show.
Three years after your first CSI5*, you’re a course designer who is obviously appreciated by riders and organizers. How would you define the "Bodo style"?
G.B.: I wouldn’t define it because I don’t think there is a "Bodo style", nor would there be a "Peter, Paul or James style". Some values dictate the way I build a course, but they do not make up a particular "style". The most important of these values remains the respect of the physical and moral integrity of the horse. My courses must never over-exert the horse with combinations and distances that are not really fair on the horse. On the contrary, I look for fluidity of pace, without a break in rhythm. So, I’ll never look to create faults; I prefer to play with the time allowed, to impose a more sustained rhythm than expected, but which will remain natural for the horses, without breaking them.
Gregory Bodo - Biography
Gregory Bodo has been a course designer for more than twenty years. His passion for course design was evident early on as he drew his first courses at the age of fifteen for events at the neighboring pony club. At eighteen years old, he was appointed as the Regional Course Designer; in 2009, he became a Level 2 International Course Designer; in 2012, he moved up to Level 3, and since then, he has been able to design courses at some of the most important international contests (except the World Cup final, the European and World Championships, and the Olympic Games which require a Level 4 Honorary Distinction). In parallel with his work as a course designer, which has taken him, in 2019, to 32 events (including 22 international events), Gregory Bodo is a marketing professor at a business school.