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Kevin Staut: New year, new beginnings

Tuesday, 05 February 2019
Interview

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Kevin Staut with Edesa's Cannary, one of his new top horses through his collaboration with Grégoire Oberson and Eddy Sepul. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

After six years at Haras des Coudrettes, Kevin Staut is ready to turn one of life’s pages to create a new chapter. Since joining Emmanuèle and Armand Perron-Pette’s stables in Normandy, the 38-year-old has won team gold at the Olympic Games, team silver at the World Championships and become a mainstay of the French team. WoSJ met up with Staut to learn more about his next adventure, and where he hopes it will take him. 

“Emmanuèle and Armand Perron-Pette of Haras des Coudrettes have been fantastic owners, they did a lot for me,” Kevin starts. “They have also done a lot for the equestrian sport in France, and have had big success with the horses they have had – ridden by Patrice (Delaveau) or me. However, over the last years they have also done a lot of breeding and now their first offspring come five, six and seven – at an age to get a good education and be competed. They also want to develop their own trading, the idea is to not only be the buyers anymore but also sellers. Their focus is shifting, and they would like to work different in the future.”

“My perspective is that I would still like to be able to focus on the top sport,” Kevin says. “I would like to stay at the highest level possible. It’s around this I would like to build up my string of horses. That is my starting point.”

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Over the last decade, Kevin Staut has become a mainstay of the French team. Here he celebrates the French team gold at the Olympic Games in Rio. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

It has been a long process that has lasted nearly one-and-a-half years, and eventually Kevin made the decision to set up his own stables at his family’s yard close to Deauville. “I was offered to stay at Haras des Coudrettes and have horses from other owners there, which was really kind of them. However, I found that it was not ideal. Many people still thought I was only riding the HDC horses, because my base was with them. That made it hard to develop new partnerships,” Kevin explains.  

“That is part of the reason that I decided to set up my own stable. I wanted other owners to be comfortable to send me horses. On the other hand, I have been lucky to keep up my cooperation with Haras des Coudrettes. Currently I compete Ayade de Septon Et HDC, For Joy van ‘t Zorgvliet HDC and Vendome de Anchat HDC – but they are all stabled at Haras des Coudrettes. Emmanuèle employed two members of staff that used to work with me before, they know the horses well and how to manage them. They are all older horses, I don’t have to spend time to educate them – I can just come for the technical part when they have to jump before a show for example. That’s it, and we try to give a good plan for the horses when I am not there.”

The Staut-family’s stable has been their home for nearly twenty years, and is 10 kilometres away from Haras des Coudrettes – which makes the new set-up stress free. “I live at our farm now, and have a house there. I am really happy, my grandmother as well – her grandson is back, she can cook for me and spoil me,” Kevin laughs. “I love Normandie, I love Deauville, so I really wanted to stay in the area although I did consider moving abroad again. I moved a lot in my life and will always make a priority for my sport. However, since I came back to Normandie to work for Haras des Coudrettes I started to have a lifestyle I enjoy so my preference was naturally to stay here.”

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Kevin Staut with For Joy van't Zorgvliet HDC, one of the horses he still competes for Haras des Coudrettes. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

“For me this change is about moving from one idea to another, it does not matter where you do it from – but it needs to be done with high-quality horses, good people around you and a really good system,” Kevin says. 

“The stables at home are really nice, but pure natural. I don’t have the permission to build an indoor, so I only have an outdoor. It’s a healthy environment for the horses, pure air and close to the beach. I have a capacity for ten horses and want to keep it small, I would like it to be manageable – I don’t want to start an industry. I don’t want a big quantity of horses, I want to have time to do my job as good as possible and focus on the sport. 

New for Kevin is also his collaboration with Grégoire Oberson, who is based one kilometre away. “Last year, Grégoire gave me a few horses to ride like Lorenzo and Cannary. I felt that in addition to doing the top sport, I had to work closer to a dealing system which is why the opportunity to have a collaboration with Grégoire came at a very good time. Nowadays, the top sport and trading go more hand in hand than ever before. Look at Stephex Stables with two riders in the top fifteen, or Stal Tops, the Philippaerts and Lansink Stables. It’s not like before, with the dealing part separated with horses to sell and the sports part with horses to compete. At Grégoire’s stable there is also the structure for customer care and trial of horses, with an indoor arena for when the weather is bad so it is ideal.” 

Photos (c) Kevin Staut Kevin's new base is at his beautiful family farm close to Deauville, and close to nature. Photos (c) Kevin Staut.

“I wanted to be connected to a dealer involved in and motivated for the sport,” Kevin continues. “Someone who wanted the sport to promote their trading. Grégoire works with strong people, like Eddy Sepul – who owns Lorenzo and Cannary. They are both interested in writing sports history before selling the horses, which is what I would like to do. Hopefully, we can also manage to create a group of investors to secure some of the horses for the sport. I would like us to buy the horses at a good age, when they are eight or nine, educate them and bring them up in the sport for a couple of years before we sell – that is my vision. Grégoire also has good opinions, and helps me in the management of my horses. He is a big asset to my system.”

Kevin also works closely with his long-time friend Frederic Bouvard, that he used to ride with during his time at Haras de Hus. “Frederic is based in Belgium, and we have a few young horses together that he competes. He is also a very important part of this.”

Adapting to the evolution of the sport is important to Kevin, and he sees the changes he is making as necessary steps to not fall behind. “The sport is not the same as it was five years ago. We have to adapt our system to what is happening around us. I don’t think I could have stayed in the idea about the pure sport with pure sponsors. Haras des Coudrettes and Haras de Clarbec – two of the biggest private sponsors of French showjumping – have won the most important medals and competitions there are to win, and their focus is changing. If I would not change too, then maybe I would have missed out on something.”

After a decade at the top of the sport, Kevin is not looking to slow down any time soon. “Ten years down the road, I hope I still do the sport at the highest level. But, I don’t want to sell myself – I want to stay a horseman, stick to my values and to do this in a way that brings happiness to the horses and people around me.”

 


Text © World of Showjumping

Photos © World of Showjumping and Kevin Staut

No reproduction without permission, copyright © World of Showjumping

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