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In Brief: Marie Charles (18) from France

Name: Marie Charles
Age: 18
From: Compiègne, France

Biography of Marie Charles

I was born in Compiègne, one of the most beautiful areas for horse training in France, in August 1999. I am an only child. my high school diploma with distinction last year and currently studying at the University to become a PE teacher. I wish I could get a part time job as a teacher and combine with training and riding.

Endurance World Marie Charles. At a waterpoint.Notable achievements / palmares

FFE Ranking 1st Combination Horse-Rider 2017 with TYAH and second French Young Rider and 4th French Endurance Senior Rider. 5 victories this year, especially in Montcuq CEI3* Pontchateau, Plourivo CEI1*; 3rd in the French Young Rider Championship CEIYJ2*.

When did you start riding?

I started riding when I was eight, I began to ride ponies. My parents offered me my first endurance horse when I was 12 years old, Mercure de Taf a twelve-year-old performant horse, who finished ninth in Florac. It was my master in endurance races and taught me a lot. I did all my races from 20 to 90km with him, till my first victory in a 90km National race. When he retired, we bought two other horses: Tyah when she was seven (my best mare, first French 2017 horse thanks to her victory in Montcuq; present in French Young Riders team with me in 2015), and Aigoual Taj Mahal when he was also seven (present in French Young Riders Team with me in 2016 and 11th at the Nations Cup CEIO3* in Fontainebleau, winner last month in Pontchateau).

Does riding run in the family?

My Mom rides since she was eight years old. She is a teacher and she was a former jumping & cross-country rider, and she first bought an endurance horse, pure Arabian, when I was 11: Omega de Taff. She discovered endurance and make me love this discipline. However she is not a professional rider and only rides national races. She is always with me as a crew for my races. My father is a former high-level skier and ski instructor. He doesn’t ride, but helps us to take care of horses and joins me to all my races as my favourite crew. We love to take care of our horses all together.

Why horses?

I have always loved animals, all animals but especially ponies. I always wanted to ride, as young as I was. My parents thought it was too dangerous, especially cross country, they tried to make me learn something else: dance, and even to sing or play music… it all went horribly wrong! Then, when I was eight, they finally accepted to register me in a riding school. It was like a revelation.

Endurance World Marie Charles. Full action.Why endurance?

Because it’s a daily challenge. No error allowed: training, food, shoes, each small detail is essential. You ride hours and hours, you and your horse, as a single entity. The best way to be in harmony with nature and yourself. Endurance conveys key values: Complicity, humility, attainment, persistence, courage, efforts, and work to progress and perform.

Does Marie Charles ride her own horses or she rides for somebody else?

I have two personal horses: Tyah and Aigoual Taj Mahal and I also ride my mother’s horse in international races: Vaquero du Riou. I train my horses with my mon. From time to time, (more and more recently) I get the opportunity to ride horses for professional owners or breeders, who trust me, in France and abroad. I love to discover new horses, new people and new places. It is very rewarding and allows me to gain experience. I especially appreciated to ride for the first time in the desert last winter, and to discover Pisa and Euston Park last summer. It were great experiences.

Does Marie Charles train horses?

Yes. I train my horses myself, with my Mom. It’s essential for me to be the one who trains my horses and takes care of them daily. I have a lot of complicity with my horses. It’s very important to perform. So far, we have no facilities. We rent fields and we train in the Compiègne forest. It’s difficult and we lose a lot of time. Eventually, we will buy a farm, with fields, to open a training stable this summer, hopefully. I am looking forward to living with my horses….

What else does Marie Charles enjoy?

I enjoy sport in general and I am studying to become a PE teacher. I practice all kinds of sports at the university. Particularly I like running, climbing and skiing.
I especially appreciate skiing. I also love animals and nature. I live in the country, I spend a lot of time in the forest, training horses, or enjoying good times with my dogs. I like to spend time with friends and meet new people to share my passion with them. Being a French girl, I also like good food and gastronomy! Especially discovering new tastes. My wishes for 2018 (or the future…) is to do my best and get selected to participate in the World Equestrian Championship or European Championships. Once In hope to have the honour and luck to participate to a famous and mythic race the Sheikh Mohammed Cup or President’s Cup or Tevis Cup.

Endurance World Marie Charles. In the village.What is your biggest sporting accomplishment?

All my “first time races” were the biggest accomplishments of the moment: from my first 20 km with my own horse (Mercure de Taff), to my first 160 km CEI3* which, by the way, was my first ever victory. I never dreamed the day would come I would be able to succeed.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

Usually, I don’t train. I have rides in the forest. I take pleasure with my horses, I try to give them pleasure to canter and do long time rides. I don’t want them to have the impression they work. From time to time, I do a long canter work, to achieve a race preparation, but with fun. I want to avoid the routine to avoid getting bored.

What would be your ultimate achievement, or did you reach that already?

I dream of being part of the French Team….

What is your diet like?

I take or lose weight, according to races… usually I am very thin, it is very useful for Ladies or Young Riders races. Though for regular races I have to add so much weight that I attach weight to my saddle and wear a weighted jacket.  I do not want to use a weighted saddle pad, which crushes the horse’s back. For Montcuq race, for example, I gained 7 kg, and I lost it for following race…. I ate a lot of proteins, but also cheese, chocolate etc.… Usually, I try to eat organic and fresh food.  My Mom takes care of my diet. 😊

Do you have any recommended resources to share?

Nancy S. Loving: Tenir la distance. One of the best books about endurance according to me.

How have you experienced your breakthrough, how did it feel, and where did it lead to?

I’m not fully aware … Admittedly, I did a nice season, I am very proud, because my family and I worked hard to reach those results. I’m proud of my horses, who gave me the best they could do.

Endurance World Marie Charles. I love with the horse.What is the best advice you were ever given?

Still take good time and have fun, don’t become obsequious. At the same time, be attentive to everything, take care and listen to your horse.

Is it the sheer nature of competition that drives you or the love of the game, or the pure social aspect of being with friends?

I love competition! Always do my best. My Dad is a former ski competitor. He gave me this taste of challenge, to look up to surpass myself. Although, in Endurance, you first have to look at another human being: your horse. It is difficult, yet so rewarding when you succeed. I am so quiet when I ride. Phlegmatic… But I must gain confidence.

Did you ever accept the possibility of not accomplishing what you wanted?

Of course! I learned young to fail! Twice I finished first at the French Young Riders Championship CEI2*, however my horse and I were eliminated at the last veterinary control.  First time, I was so sad…yet I analysed the race with my parents and coaches, I understood my mistakes and I progressed. I think this first failure (and people around me) permitted me to ride as I do now.

What do you like / dislike about training?

I love spending time with my horse and my Mom, alone in the country…Paradise! even when it is raining…

 

Photo credit: Jean-Marie Sparrow, Pierre Jambou and Thomas Fouquet.

In Brief: Marie Charles (18) from France

Name: Marie Charles
Age: 18
From: Compiègne, France

Biography of Marie Charles

I was born in Compiègne, one of the most beautiful areas for horse training in France, in August 1999. I am an only child. my high school diploma with distinction last year and currently studying at the University to become a PE teacher. I wish I could get a part time job as a teacher and combine with training and riding.

Endurance World Marie Charles. At a waterpoint.Notable achievements / palmares

FFE Ranking 1st Combination Horse-Rider 2017 with TYAH and second French Young Rider and 4th French Endurance Senior Rider. 5 victories this year, especially in Montcuq CEI3* Pontchateau, Plourivo CEI1*; 3rd in the French Young Rider Championship CEIYJ2*.

When did you start riding?

I started riding when I was eight, I began to ride ponies. My parents offered me my first endurance horse when I was 12 years old, Mercure de Taf a twelve-year-old performant horse, who finished ninth in Florac. It was my master in endurance races and taught me a lot. I did all my races from 20 to 90km with him, till my first victory in a 90km National race. When he retired, we bought two other horses: Tyah when she was seven (my best mare, first French 2017 horse thanks to her victory in Montcuq; present in French Young Riders team with me in 2015), and Aigoual Taj Mahal when he was also seven (present in French Young Riders Team with me in 2016 and 11th at the Nations Cup CEIO3* in Fontainebleau, winner last month in Pontchateau).

Does riding run in the family?

My Mom rides since she was eight years old. She is a teacher and she was a former jumping & cross-country rider, and she first bought an endurance horse, pure Arabian, when I was 11: Omega de Taff. She discovered endurance and make me love this discipline. However she is not a professional rider and only rides national races. She is always with me as a crew for my races. My father is a former high-level skier and ski instructor. He doesn’t ride, but helps us to take care of horses and joins me to all my races as my favourite crew. We love to take care of our horses all together.

Why horses?

I have always loved animals, all animals but especially ponies. I always wanted to ride, as young as I was. My parents thought it was too dangerous, especially cross country, they tried to make me learn something else: dance, and even to sing or play music… it all went horribly wrong! Then, when I was eight, they finally accepted to register me in a riding school. It was like a revelation.

Endurance World Marie Charles. Full action.Why endurance?

Because it’s a daily challenge. No error allowed: training, food, shoes, each small detail is essential. You ride hours and hours, you and your horse, as a single entity. The best way to be in harmony with nature and yourself. Endurance conveys key values: Complicity, humility, attainment, persistence, courage, efforts, and work to progress and perform.

Does Marie Charles ride her own horses or she rides for somebody else?

I have two personal horses: Tyah and Aigoual Taj Mahal and I also ride my mother’s horse in international races: Vaquero du Riou. I train my horses with my mon. From time to time, (more and more recently) I get the opportunity to ride horses for professional owners or breeders, who trust me, in France and abroad. I love to discover new horses, new people and new places. It is very rewarding and allows me to gain experience. I especially appreciated to ride for the first time in the desert last winter, and to discover Pisa and Euston Park last summer. It were great experiences.

Does Marie Charles train horses?

Yes. I train my horses myself, with my Mom. It’s essential for me to be the one who trains my horses and takes care of them daily. I have a lot of complicity with my horses. It’s very important to perform. So far, we have no facilities. We rent fields and we train in the Compiègne forest. It’s difficult and we lose a lot of time. Eventually, we will buy a farm, with fields, to open a training stable this summer, hopefully. I am looking forward to living with my horses….

What else does Marie Charles enjoy?

I enjoy sport in general and I am studying to become a PE teacher. I practice all kinds of sports at the university. Particularly I like running, climbing and skiing.
I especially appreciate skiing. I also love animals and nature. I live in the country, I spend a lot of time in the forest, training horses, or enjoying good times with my dogs. I like to spend time with friends and meet new people to share my passion with them. Being a French girl, I also like good food and gastronomy! Especially discovering new tastes. My wishes for 2018 (or the future…) is to do my best and get selected to participate in the World Equestrian Championship or European Championships. Once In hope to have the honour and luck to participate to a famous and mythic race the Sheikh Mohammed Cup or President’s Cup or Tevis Cup.

Endurance World Marie Charles. In the village.What is your biggest sporting accomplishment?

All my “first time races” were the biggest accomplishments of the moment: from my first 20 km with my own horse (Mercure de Taff), to my first 160 km CEI3* which, by the way, was my first ever victory. I never dreamed the day would come I would be able to succeed.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

Usually, I don’t train. I have rides in the forest. I take pleasure with my horses, I try to give them pleasure to canter and do long time rides. I don’t want them to have the impression they work. From time to time, I do a long canter work, to achieve a race preparation, but with fun. I want to avoid the routine to avoid getting bored.

What would be your ultimate achievement, or did you reach that already?

I dream of being part of the French Team….

What is your diet like?

I take or lose weight, according to races… usually I am very thin, it is very useful for Ladies or Young Riders races. Though for regular races I have to add so much weight that I attach weight to my saddle and wear a weighted jacket.  I do not want to use a weighted saddle pad, which crushes the horse’s back. For Montcuq race, for example, I gained 7 kg, and I lost it for following race…. I ate a lot of proteins, but also cheese, chocolate etc.… Usually, I try to eat organic and fresh food.  My Mom takes care of my diet. 😊

Do you have any recommended resources to share?

Nancy S. Loving: Tenir la distance. One of the best books about endurance according to me.

How have you experienced your breakthrough, how did it feel, and where did it lead to?

I’m not fully aware … Admittedly, I did a nice season, I am very proud, because my family and I worked hard to reach those results. I’m proud of my horses, who gave me the best they could do.

Endurance World Marie Charles. I love with the horse.What is the best advice you were ever given?

Still take good time and have fun, don’t become obsequious. At the same time, be attentive to everything, take care and listen to your horse.

Is it the sheer nature of competition that drives you or the love of the game, or the pure social aspect of being with friends?

I love competition! Always do my best. My Dad is a former ski competitor. He gave me this taste of challenge, to look up to surpass myself. Although, in Endurance, you first have to look at another human being: your horse. It is difficult, yet so rewarding when you succeed. I am so quiet when I ride. Phlegmatic… But I must gain confidence.

Did you ever accept the possibility of not accomplishing what you wanted?

Of course! I learned young to fail! Twice I finished first at the French Young Riders Championship CEI2*, however my horse and I were eliminated at the last veterinary control.  First time, I was so sad…yet I analysed the race with my parents and coaches, I understood my mistakes and I progressed. I think this first failure (and people around me) permitted me to ride as I do now.

What do you like / dislike about training?

I love spending time with my horse and my Mom, alone in the country…Paradise! even when it is raining…

 

Photo credit: Jean-Marie Sparrow, Pierre Jambou and Thomas Fouquet.

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