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L'Eperon Magazine

It was in 1992 – back when I was 19 – that I started to write for l’Eperon. I was a student and I called Emmanuel Jeangirard, in charge of the breeding section of the magazine, to ask him about searching through the archives of the magazine. I was looking, to improve my knowledge, for information about the previous approval sessions of Selle Français stallions. Having pestered him several times without success – he was already a very busy man – I finally offered to come and do the research myself at Issy-les-Moulineaux. It was then, after a brief meeting between the two of us, that I started to write small articles on breeding (horses, of course) to see… For the next edition, somewhat by chance, I offered to write about the first French pony show jumping Grand Prix Championships at Saint Denis de l’Hôtel, and then the first pony Cycle Classique final at Fontainebleau and in this way our partnership began.  Nobody was specifically looking after the pony side of things, and as sport ponies were really starting to take off, the job was there for the taking. 

I doggedly followed the Grand Prix circuit for the three disciplines, all the internationals, in France and overseas, all the principal breed Championships in France and elsewhere, all the stallion approval sessions, and all the European championships from 1993 up until today. I was at all the meetings… and often on a plane. I discovered the studs and approval sessions in Germany (in the most important regions), Holland, Ireland, Great Britain, Sweden, Denmark, and in Belgium – in ponies, but also in horses.  My exposure to the horse world overseas – rare in horses and totally non-existent in ponies at that time – allowed me to develop a sharp and critical eye for our practices and the ways of doing things in France.  It also drove me to write in English for several years, until a lack of time prevented me from doing so, for Breeding News.
I am conscious that my articles have upset the establishment, inconvenienced, sometimes shocked – voluntarily – and of course, displeased certain people.  Nevertheless, I know that my papers are very well read by the pony world -  ‘a lot more than you’d think’ I’m often told – and that my ideas have advanced the selection of the French sport pony.

I have known the pillars of l’Eperon: the different sports editors who have come and gone, certain of whom have helped me progress in journalism, such as Nathalie Fey, who gave me a leg up, and whose exceptional writing full of appropriate humour I enjoyed enormously; Céline Gualde, for her high standards and attention to detail; the current Christelle Iraola, for her talent, her combination of strength and frailty at the same time; the irreplaceable editorial secretary Marie-Hélène Merlin on whom the magazine depends, who lets nothing slip and who I particularly appreciate, she knows, even if we only speak together a few times per year and see each other even less; and it goes without saying, the formidable boss Xavier Libbrecht, who I latched onto a long time ago for my expenses!!! Until I decided, once I had the means to do so after my student’s life, never again to present him with another article having tried in vain several times over the years to get him to reserve a few pages for the pony in each edition. I still I hold a certain admiration for his political sense, his vision, his analysis of situations, his critical mind, his editorials of course, and finally for his love of and unfailing devotion to the magazine.
I couldn’t finish without mentioning Emmanuel Jeangirard, my great friend at l’Eperon, from whom I have learnt much, who is tact itself and who, behind a great calm and discretion, does not want for judgement, humour and whose advice is always reasonable and precious.
In short, l’Eperon is a team and an atmosphere that I have rapidly grown to know and love and which, despite several decisions to stop due to a lack of time, I have been unable to give up.

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