Palace of Versailles – Artist impression of the Olympic Competition Arena

ESNZ high performance general manager Jock Paget has had a sneak peek at just what the Paris Olympic Games will look like at the magnificent Palace of Versailles . . . and he’s confident it will be every bit as impressive as the grounds on which it’s being hosted.

The Palace and Park of Versailles are a UNESCO world heritage site and were the backdrop to the cross country test event recently and by all accounts it is going to be a cracker.  Jock, who competed at the 2012 London Olympic Games which were held on the UNESCO world heritage site at Greenwich, says plenty of work has already gone into preparing for the 2024 Paris Games.

“London was the most amazing Games I have been to and this will certainly be right up there,” he says. “The cross country is going to be great viewing. The horses will be galloping across pontoons and along the canals – it will be something you don’t experience anywhere else in the world. The ground will be like galloping on a golf course.”

He’s expecting a lot from cross country course designer Pierre le Goupil who recently designed at the European Championships. “There will be three water jumps, two pontoon crossings and a lot of 90 degree turns to get into galloping lanes so you need the right horse and rider combinations out there,” says Jock.

“Pierre is a very good designer and I really rate him. His courses are always innovative, have great style for distances and look fun to ride.”

Jock, along with ESNZ head eventing coach Sam Griffiths and ESNZ chief executive Julian Bowden attended the two day operational event, along with representatives from more than 20 other national federations, an FEI delegation, key equestrian technical officials and others. It was hosted by the Paris 2024 Organising Committee and GL Equestrian Events.

Jock praised those behind it, saying each day had been filled with information and a chance to pick up valuable knowledge before the Games. Of course a lot of the focus has been on the welfare of the horse and ensuring the best conditions possible.

“Everything there will be very close and well organised. It’s been great for our own planning. Walking around you begin to realise just how amazing it will be and it is guaranteed to create some incredible sport.”

The Games will run from July 26-August 11,2024.
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By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by FEI