The Olympic selection race has officially begun for the French dressage team.

“We decided to start our Olympic selection process here at the CDI5* competition of the Printemps des Sports Équestres,” shared Jean Morel, Head of Selection and Manager of the French Dressage Team.

“The conditions here are the same as those we will find in Versailles [where the Paris 2024 Games will be held]. It was a tricky competition to ride, with wind and moving flags; so, it was really valuable, because we were able to observe how the horses behaved.”

Pauline Basquin, France’s highest ranked dressage rider at world no. 13, delivered the best performance on the day for the home nation, dancing to a 79.890% score on IFCE Sertorius de Rima Z.

“I’m delighted,” said Basquin. “Sertorius has shown great consistency over the last few competitions. Today, he was very focused again, easy to ride and very much in step with me. I’m very proud of him; he always gives his best for me in the arena.” 

The 14-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Sandro Hit x Siolita) has competed internationally under Basquin’s saddle since 2018 and was her partner at both the 2022 World Championships in Herning, DEN and the 2023 European Championships in Riesenbeck, GER.

In the past six months, the pair has twice cracked the 80 barrier in the Freestyle. Their personal best score of 80.815 was achieved in the CDI-W in Lyon last November. They repeated the feat last month in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, earning an 80.550.

“Pauline is increasingly consistent in her performance and in terms of points; she is performing as well in the Grand Prix as in the Freestyle to Music. She doesn’t make mistakes any more. Now, it’s a question of seeing how we can pick up some extra points,” said Morel.

“The selection race has just started; at the Printemps des Sports Équestres, we managed to have five riders in a CDI 5* competition; that’s really important, and it’s not often the case.” 

Great Britian’s Charlotte Fry and Everdale took the victory in Sunday’s Freestyle on a score of 82.340. NED’s Emmelie Scholtens and Indian Rock finished third on 81.815. (Full results here.)