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WoSJ Exclusive; Haras des Coudrettes HDC – a French showjumping force

Monday, 26 November 2012

Three top French riders are flying the HDC-colors; Patrice Delaveau, Kevin Staut and Olivier Guillon. Photo provided by Haras des Coudrettes. Haras des Coudrettes HDC owns some of the world’s greatest showjumpers of today’s circuit; Silvana HDC, Ornella Mail HDC, Orient Express HDC, Reveur de Hurtebise HDC, Carinjo HDC, Cheyenne 111Z HDC, Estoy Aqui de Muze HDC, Lacrimoso HDC, Poète de Preuilly HDC, Marquis de la Lande HDC... And the list of fantastic horses goes on and on, as Haras des Coudrettes has stepped up on numerous occasions to make sure top horses stay within France’s boarders – keeping and adding equine partners for big names like Kevin Staut, Patrice Delaveau, Olivier Guillon and Franck Schillewaert. With HDC Competition Jump Five being launched this year, Haras des Coudrettes has taken new steps to develop further – and WoSJ sat down to talk with the people behind HDC: Emmanuèle and Armand Perron-Pette.

Emmanuèle Perron-Pette is a very lively woman, and brightens our day by telling us that she was told by her son not to leave the showground before she has spoken to us. And thus she had no choice but to, she laughs while telling us. From she was four years old and until she was twenty Emmanuèle was a successful junior and young rider. In her twenties she left the sport though; “to study, work, work, marry, have babies and work, work, work ” as she puts it while she smiles.

HDC - the three letters are associated with some of the best horses in the world. Photo brovided by Haras des Coudrettes.But as we all know, horses have a way of never leaving our lives and two decades later they reappeared in Emmanuèle’s life. “I had quit the sport totally, but twenty years later my sister persuaded us to take a holiday in the middle of France where there would be horses for the kids – and I said ok. When we got there I actually got on a horse to ride. It was a quite young horse, a four year old and at the end of the week I bought the horse! Horses are like a drug,” she laughs of what would turn out to be a new beginning in the world of showjumping for the entire Perron-Pette family. “It was like pushing a button, as it was something I knew very well. Then my kids started riding, and later I started up a place together with the assistance of a professional friend , Julie Gadal – we had one horse, and then bought two and then three young ones,” she smiles.

“Then I met Patrice again – we knew him on the French circuit when I was younger. Patrice only had Katchina Mail at that time. We had a horse called Baritchou DBT that we gave Patrice to ride. After that, we decided to help Patrice to get back and stay on top level by getting Ornella and Orient Express. Then we went on to support Olivier, who is a good friend of Patrice – there was no strategy involved in that decision – it was strictly friendship. Then we met Kevin as we bought Silvana on Patrice’s suggestion to keep her in France. These three guys – Patrice, Olivier and Kevin – are in fact pretty similar. First of all they are, of course, three top riders but they also have the same values, the same way of being and the same approach to horses:  they are very compatible. There is real friendship there also, so in the end we decided to work all together and to create the company HDC Competition Jump Five – so we can be stronger and work as a team,” the Perron-Pettes explain about the latest HDC development. “We are all going to stay in Normandy where everybody will move next summer when the new place that's under construction will be finished,” Emmanuèle explains.

Kevin Staut competing Silvana HDC. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.So, how is life as owners for some of the best horses in the world we ask? “We enjoy being this kind of competition partners, but sometimes it like being kids watching a horror movie. I must admit that sometimes I get so nervous seeing our horses compete that I can’t even watch. I have my hands covering my face, asking others to tell me what’s happening,” Emmanuèle laughs. “We are pretty good taken care of as owners, but then again we don’t expect much except for getting the accreditation to get easily into the arenas on competition sites. That’s basically it.”

With such great horses in the stable, it must be difficult to pick a favorite – but we ask nevertheless. “We never answer that question,” Armand and Emmanuèle laugh “Of course we have favorites, but we are not sure we are going to tell you,” but they do anyway and confess that at the moment they have four – Silvana, Ornella, Orient and Reveur. “Ah, but Cheyenne is so pretty and Carinjo so great also, and Estoy so courageous and powerful and …,” Emmanuèle continues and it’s obvious that all HDC horses are favorites no matter what. “It’s really difficult to answer such a question, because you know, to compete at that level, all horses are really special characters. None of them are classic. They are all ‘unique’ and have temper. They are really …special,” the Perron-Pettes explain.

Patrice Delaveau on Orient Express HDC. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.One thing is to buy them, another is to find them, and how does that happen? “The five of us receive a lot of videos of horses coming from everywhere. We first have a look at the videos, and if one of us likes it, he sends it to the other for advice. If it passes, one of the team-riders goes to see and rides the horse. Then if it fits, we immediately send our vet for a complete check. Then after our vet report, we go together on a second try and maybe a third one. Some owners of good horses send them to our stables for 3 to 4 weeks to allow us to test their horses, that’s the best way for us to get to buy it … but the horse has to be good …We always go with the riders to look at the horse, for the simple reason that they will ride it for 5 to 8 years but then, they will live with us for the next 15 years in our garden! So we better like them! But luckily we have the same taste, and usually look for the same qualities; strength, enough blood, and character – and they must also be willing with a good temper,” Emmanuèle explains.

“In my generation the ‘stars’ where the horses – like Jappeloup or Milton was. It would be great to get that back. Silvana, Orient and Ornella have many fans. That is the reason why we have created their own websites. All the 5* horses are the heroes of the shows. They make kids dreaming and attract them to our sport. It is important to keep the magic for the young generation,” Emmanuèle says.

HDC has really understood the importance of branding, and the three letters of Haras des Coudrettes are now associated with some of the best horses and riders in the world. Quality, elegance, persistence, teamwork and passion are some of the words that pop in to our mind when thinking about HDC. Not to forget commitment! What Emmanuèle and Armand have done for French showjumping, is something very few can match.

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