Two Merens mares from the Gesquis kennel, in Aston in Ariège, have won everything at the French driving championships. Shows that place Ariège in the heart of France.
Irka des Gesquis and Daphnée des Gesquis, two 4 and 9 year old Merens mares born in the heart of the Gesquis horse farm in Aston, have excelled at the French Driving Championships in different categories.
On 1 and 2 October, the national finals for young horses and guide ponies (called the SHF circuit for children aged 4 to 6) are scheduled in Lamotte-Beuvron (Loir-et-Cher). The best teams met in Lignières (Cher), at the horse and donkey center on 13, 14, 15 and 16 October. This time the competition revolved around dressage, riding and the marathon. In these disciplines there is the circuit of the French Equestrian Federation (FFE) and that of the Sfet, the French company of equines at work.
“A discipline little known to the general public”
“Driving is a discipline little known to the general public. We do races between March and October, with qualifying phases. You must obtain a minimum number of points to be able to participate in the French championships. There are several levels: 1st bonus, 2nd bonus or nothing ”, explains Maëva Larue. With Mathieu Carrière, his partner, they are inseparable from the success of the breeding which Mathieu’s father, Célestin Carrière, has headed for more than 40 years.
The least we can say is that the two mares achieved their goals in a wonderful way, despite their lack of experience. “I have been training Irka des Gesquis only since January and she is already doing well. The same goes for Daphnée des Gesquis who this year held his first race in Uzès (Gard), obtaining the first bonus in both races, Maëva Larue specifies. She then qualified for the French Championships on her first outing. “
The two mares from the Ariège cattery have flown over the French competition against high-level competition. “Daphnée, whom the Rouzaud family entrusted to me for work, was crowned French champion in SFET handling and third in the marathon against fifteen participants from all over France. On the FFE circuit, in front of sport ponies, she finished second in dressage and ninth overall after marathon and maneuverability. 22 ponies were entered. For her first participation at this level she is very encouraging ”, enumerates the rider.
Several victories and a record
Irka des Gesquis also flexed her muscles to show the full extent of her abilities. Although the mare measures over 1m49, size that places her in the horse category, compared to what is best at this level (such as thoroughbreds), her talent has allowed her to reap huge rewards.
“The mare ended up as runner-up of France in maneuverability with the SFET harness. She signs a double behind Daphnée des Gesquis. She in SHF she ended up as vice-champion of France in dressage, champion of France in maneuverability and received the mention of elite SHF ”, she adds. This equates to the best score in the competition. This last distinction is rare, as in the entire history of the breeding only three Meren have received this mention. Irka des Gesquis is even the one who has obtained the most points in the history of the competition.
A way to talk about the local breed, the Meren and to show the full extent of the work done by the Gesquis breeding. “Championships qualification is one thing. But achieving these results is more than satisfying and you take some pride in seeing that hard work pays off, ”he rejoices.
The Gesquis breeding, financially supported by the Municipality of Aston, the Region and the Councilorship, does not intend to stop so well.
The breeding wants to promote the Merens breed beyond the borders of Ariège
The Gesquis stud farm, which counts 35 horses, continues to promote the local breed and show the breadth of its capabilities. A family that does not lack ambition.
For over 40 years Célestin Carrière has been at the head of the Gesquis stable. Located in the heart of nature on approximately 30 hectares, in Aston, above the Cabannes, the setting is heavenly. But if the estate offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding woods, it is above all a den of champions, nuggets, raised all year round with the only password, passion.
“Célestin Carrière raises the Meren for the love of this breed. He did monstrous genetic work, says Maëva Larue. Competition results come as a bonus. They underline our work and the qualities of this Ariège breed. There are no more races in our department and Merens breeders at this level are rare.
In the Gesquis breeding, we see things on a large scale. Like the two Merens mares, horses are considered true athletes. “We have a coach from the north of France, an osteopath, a masseuse, etc. This is all very important. With my partner, Mathieu Carrière, we have been evaluating the Merens for more than two years ”, specifies the driver. Seaweed wrap, specialized diet, recovery, preparation (up to five training sessions per week during the competition period) are all the basic work that is done on a daily basis.
All foals are born on the estate before leaving for the pasture from late May to November. Bred with heart and passion, some horses are then sold, to the delight of the new owners.
lens of the world
Recent results at the French championships push Ariège breeding to aim even higher. More than just a pleasure horse, the Merens seems to be able to compete with the gratins of equine breeds. And if performing in France is a great success, Maëva Larue begins to dream of bringing Merens to international success.
“In 2023 there is the World Championships for young horses. Irka des Gesquis can claim it in the 5-year-old horse category. Our goal is to be able to qualify him. We will train him for this. It would be a great performance “, announces the horse rider.
Recent results show that Merens has her place in the French leagues. As for the breeding of the Gesquis, it has a bright future ahead of it.