A solid foundation
To have ideas and desires is one thing. To put them into motion is another. To make them last requires expertise. But not only that…. Because without a team spirit, without solidarity, without this zest of soul that underlines the identity of any sport event (or not), a venue on its own would not suffice. Even if amongst the most beautiful.
Celebrating its 6th edition, the international Jumping of Megève, which was held from 12-17 July this year, has proven to have become an unmissable meeting point of the summer season. An event organised by the members of the association Megève en selle (Frédéric Muffat, Pascaline Freiher-Scharapan, Maud Lenoir et Astrid Tulliez), backed up by their team which is increasingly operational each year. Four acolytes, four volunteers, passionate about horses, involved in their “village” who in 2010 decide to launch an association dedicated to the promotion of the equestrian sport in Megève and throughout the entire department.
The goal: create and organise show jumping events, more precisely CSI*** events open to all. As scenery, the unique setting of the resort. What remained was to convince the elected members, the locals and to find the rest of the actors to participate in this equestrian play.
“Today we can rely on all the active forces of the town and everything has been put into motion by the town hall to provide us with additional comfort each year. It is a magnificent adventure, full of beautiful encounters despite the work!” entrusted Frédéric Muffat, President of the Jumping event. Friendship as a starting point and as an ongoing thread… And the audience has it right; around 25’000 visitors, neophyte or advised, French tourists or foreigners come to applaud almost 350 riders (over 20 nations), 500 horses throughout 30 Pro & Amateur competitions spread out in a CSO, CSI* and a CSI*** which already attracted top names in the discipline such as Michel Robert, Nick Skelton, Laura Kraut or Simon Delestre held over 6 days at the esplanade of the Palais de Sports. This year again, with four competitions counting for the World Ranking and 170’000 euros prize money the event was at a top level, comprising a six bars competition rising up to 2,12m on Saturday and the Sunday Edmond de Rothschild Grand Prix won by Olivier Robert et Quenelle de Py, thereby putting in agreement the 15 participants of the jump-off.
Sportsmanship and shared conviviality amongst not only amateur riders and professionals of the CSI* and its three circuits of increasing difficulty, but also between the younger riders and senior riders. This year the third edition of the Top 15 in partnership with CWD took place, a competition installed into a circuit over four stages, open to 50 riders from the Rhone Alps or Burgundy, placing a special emphasis on the younger participants through a ranking for under 21 year olds. It is thus sport, festivities and commitment as the Jumping event has again associated itself with « Cœur Vanessa », in the battle against cancer. We have understood it, Megève is a firstly about the spirit; to turn a sport event into a festive get together and to develop a connection between people, regardless of their sportive level and from whatever horizon. Finally, it is a team that rests on solidarity and brotherhood, reminding us that in a world where values are heckled, sport unites, again and always.
Yes, Megève is made of a solid foundation.
Encounter with Pascaline Freiher-Scharapan, vice president of the Jumping event.
What does one learn over 6 years’ experience?
Pascaline Freiher-Scharapan: To watch the weather forecast! More seriously, to learn to surround yourself with the right people (in 2011 for example with the arrival of Laetitia Tissot-Fontanet, coordinator and undisputable kingpin of the Jumping event!), to trust different teams that operate on the ground, whether on a technical level or for the arena. We are increasingly sophisticated with regards to security problems for example. A few annual meetings allow each of us get into his role and to be operational on the D day. Today we have a strong team, without counting the 30 volunteers who give everything.
What is the strength of your association Megève en selle?
P.F.S: Our solidarity and our direct or indirect connection to horses. I was a skier throughout 15 years whilst being passionate about horse riding. When we met with Frédéric Muffat, whose daughter showed at events, in Geneva at a national event we thought: “And why not us?” ….what followed, you can see here!
What are the solid foundations of this event today?
P.F.S: It is an event that was built up step by step with local people. Whether Frédéric Muffat or myself, we are from the “village”. It is an advantage when acting as interlocutor with the elected members, hoteliers and locals who support us.
Rightly, how do you imprint a “Soul” into an event?
P.F.S: Certain professional riders tell us that it is their “vacation” event, which is a pledge of conviviality when you know their planning throughout the year! We are fortunate to benefit from an exceptional scenery and our main goal is the openness towards a novice, enthusiastic and participative public. This alchemy between riders, who enjoy coming here, and the public who are curious to attend such a beautiful sport gives this event a friendly and festive spirit.
This desire to open up the Jumping event to the public, is it also a way to democratise/or to render Megève, a resort under an elitist image, accessible?
P.F.S: Both, even if there has always been an equestrian tradition in Megève! This desire to create a convivial event has always guided us through our steps and today, amateurs and professionals can set foot in the same arena, enjoying the giant screen in front of a constantly increasing public. The presence of partners who are not institutions in Jumping proves that we have won our bet, to show an event in Megève where authenticity, passion and excellence mingle.
Tell us about the novelties of this 6th edition
P.F.S: We aim to respond to the expectations of the riders, not the public. We have increased the prize money of the Grand Prix to 60’000 euros (almost the equivalent than at a CSI****). Sure, this was at the detriment of a covered warm up arena but you have to make choices. Our new partner and official Timekeeper, the manufacturer Jaeger-LeCoultre has rewarded the challenge of best male and female rider with a Reverso watch. We also wanted to make a small gesture to slalom and the mountains with the Prix du Champion or Knock-Out, sponsored by Jump Fax, a parallel competition which brought about a real enthusiasm among the public.
Is the calendar still a brain teaser?
P.F.S: Always! We have to aim for a slot in July whilst juggling with other events. We are always opposed to a 5 star. We learned to be fatalistic over 6 years!
Any projects for the 7th edition?
P.F.S: Improve the quality of our service, of our welcome and especially to not lose our soul!