Mark Todd Bridging the Gap riders take a trip of a lifetime to the Cadre Noir
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MTBTG european trip 2017 21 Nov 17

Mark Todd Bridging the Gap riders take a trip of a lifetime to the Cadre Noir

At the beginning of November, seven lucky participants of the British Eventing Mark Todd Bridging the Gap (MTBTG) training series took a fascinating trip to Saumur in France for a behind the scenes look at the famous Cadre Noir.

Organised by the former French Junior and Young Rider team trainer, and now head trainer at the French Equestrian Centre, Philippe Mull and MTBTG Coach Gill Watson, the three day trip gave the Bridging the Gap trainees and supporters, Clare Chamberlayne, Patricia Pytches, Rachel Robinson, Emilie Chandler, Rosemary Overton, Hetta Wilkinson and Deborah de Groot – along with Coaches Gill Watson and Lizzel Winter, an honoured look at the training methods and research projects being held at the riding academy.

Gill Watson commented; “Philippe arranged an amazing three days, sharing with us their training methods and ongoing research projects. We were very privileged to be allowed such an amazing behind the scenes insight into all that goes on at the Cadre Noir. Everyone was so generous with their time and expertise.”

Rachel Robinson, who took part in the Mark Todd Bridging the Gap series this year, added: “[There was] a great camaraderie between us all, we were massively privileged to get the ‘In the know information’ and the research they let us see. Only through Philippe Mull and Gills’ friendship was this possible, he arranged a fabulous trip, including riding techniques and personality profiling to assist teaching and training.

“The best bit was when we walked into the hallowed Cadre Noir library, we were being shown the 18th century history books, but I got distracted to the DVD library, I ran my finger along the spines, pulled one out and read it…. Gillian Watson, Jumping training - that is hero status!”

CCI4* rider Emilie Chandler, described the trip as “inspirational” to be “shown such an in-depth insight in to the French equestrian training system.”

Continuing; “One of my favourite parts of the trip was watching the horses from the Cadre Noir work in hand, and the incredible horsemanship shown. A huge thank you to Gill Watson and Phillippe Mull, it really was a once in a lifetime experience.”

BE Accredited Coach, Clare Chamberlayne, echoed her peers to say: “The trip was fabulous, and we were hugely privileged to have been allowed such amazing behind the scenes access to all that goes on at the Cadre Noir. I find it incredible how generous everyone was with their time and their expertise. As a coach, as well as a rider, it was beneficial on so many levels. To see not only the way they work their horses, but also the research projects that they have going on. I'm amazed they were prepared to share all this with us.

“I will definitely try and aim some of my horses in the direction of Saumur next year. Thank you to Gill for liaising with Philippe and making the whole thing possible.”

Considered to be one of the most prestigious horsemanship schools in the world, the Cadre Noir was founded in the early 1800s as a group of instructors at the Cavalry School; today they are responsible for training and research at the French National Riding School.

The BE Bridging the Gap training series, which is sponsored by Keyflow and the Mark Todd Collection, aims to 'Bridge the Gap' between under 21s/Young Riders and World Class, providing coaching support to those who fall outside of these categories and help them to move forward and achieve their goals. The series includes training around the UK with experienced BE Accredited Coaches Gill Watson MBE and Lizzel Winter, along with course walks at specific 2*, Advanced and 3* events.