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France FTW in First FEI Eventing Nations Cup of the 2024 Season 

©FEI/Massimo Argenziano

The French could not be beat at the first leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup 2024 series in Montelibretti, Italy. 

Five European nations went head-to-head in the CCIO4*-S event, but the French were victorious with some smooth cross-country navigation that led them to an overall team score of 122.70. Italy secured second place on a 144.50 score and Switzerland was close in third on a 145.30 score. 

Benjamin Massie finished in first place overall, leading his team to victory on the young French-bred Figaro Fonroy, a 9-year-old chestnut gelding (Huppydam Des Horts x Nenette Fonroy) to finish on a 39.40.

“I think we all agree that the course was tough enough for the beginning of the season,” Massie said of the Montelibretti course. “It was not so twisty and quite fast. The ground was really nice but technically speaking it was tough for the first of the season.”

His teammate, Maxime Livio, ranked No. 8 in the world, was second place with a 39.60. The 36-year-old rider used the outing as prep for the upcoming Paris Olympic Games. While he has competed in two FEI World Championships, Paris would be his first outing in the Olympics. 

“I think it is a really important circuit because it’s very helpful for all the nations to prepare new teams and try some combinations,” said Livio. “For us, it is a super nice week because we are competing together as a team and representing our nation is always a pleasure. For sure there are some riders preparing for the Olympics among us and I think all of us will go to another Nations Cup during the season.”

Luc Chateau, from France, was the only competitor to jump a double-clear round with his horse, Ego Des Cabanes, a 10-year-old bay gelding (Quel Homme De Hus x Koriano Des Fontaines). Mathieu Chombart rounded out the French team with his mount, Big Boss Meio, a 13-year-old grey gelding (Mylord Carthago*hn x Octavie De Normandie). 

“I think Montelibretti is a good place for competition,” Chateau said of the competition. “We have a good cross-country on beautiful grass and the weather was very good all week—it was perfect.”

Riders from eight nations made the entry list of the Nations Cup opener in the province of Rome.  Australia, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland presented eligible teams for competition. Last year, France took second place in Montelibretti. 

The next leg of the FEI Eventing Nations is in Chatsworth, England, in May. 

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