Morgan Barbancon On the Road to the 2012 Olympic Games
The 19-year old Spanish Grand Prix rider Morgan Barbançon Mestre is well on her way to be selected on the Spanish Olympic Team after a victory and second place at the 2012 CDI Compiegne and two top five placings at the 2012 CDIO Rotterdam, where she faced stiff competition from an experienced delegation of multiple Olympians.
With the acquisition of the international Grand Prix horse Painted Black (by Gribaldi x Ferro) in August 2010, the young Spanish set aside her youth riders' ambitions to focus with a tunnel vision on one ultimate goal, the 2012 Olympic Games. After a successful season in 2011 in the Under 25 division Barbançon made a seamless transition to the senior riders group and has constantly been placing at the top of the field at every single competition she entered.
Leading up to the Olympics Barbancon has competed at the CDI Drachten, CDI Addington, CDIO Saumur, CDI Compiegne and CDIO Rotterdam to build confidence and as Olympic qualification shows. Not avoiding strong competition she has constantly measured her level against other legendary riders. At the CDI Compiegne in France, begin June, Morgan faced country mate Beatriz Ferrer-Salat on Delgado for the first time. Morgan won the Grand Prix with 75.532% and placed second in the Special behind Ferrer-Salat with 72.867%, proving she's up to the task to meet the world's greatest.
"Painted was nice to ride in Compiegne," Morgan remembered. "I had a nice feeling and the Grand Prix was really good. He was forward and very attentive to my aids."
Last weekend Morgan and Painted Black met her Dutch challengers at the CDIO Rotterdam, where the entire Dutch A-team had gathered for their last Olympic selection trial. In the CDIO Grand Prix, Morgan placed third behind Tinne Vilhelmson and Edward Gal on a score of 73.660%, while in the Kur to Music she was fifth with 77.025%.
"Painted Black was even better in Rotterdam than Compiegne," Barbancon explained. "The training at home has been going really well. I have been understanding many things that I could apply to my riding the tests and improve my skills."
With trainer Anky van Grunsven back in the show ring, Morgan has had to deal with her own warm-up. For the Special in Compiegne she was helped by Twanny Smits, but in Rotterdam Morgan was on her own for the first time, which was a scary moment.
"The first day in Rotterdam I was kind of freaked out and didn't know how it would go, but Anky reassured me and it helped me to calm down," she admitted. "Thank god I had her for the last 20 minutes which is actually quite a lot. On the second day I was all by myself and I was so worried since it had gone well on the first day. Sjef and Anky had promised they wouldn't let me down and they didn't! Sjef came to help me while Anky was riding."
Morgan explained that the new warm-up situation has been a great learning moment. "Of course it's an extra pressure, which isn't so nice, but it was a great experience for my self-confidence and if it happens somewhere else I will now be prepared."
The Spanish Olympic team will be announced by the Spanish Equestrian Federation either today or tomorrow, but there is little doubt that the team will be constituted by Spain's three highest scoring riders of the moment: Beatriz-Ferrer Salat on Delgado, Juan Manual Munoz Diaz on Fuego and Morgan Barbancon on Painted Black. The fourth, reserve rider will be named after the CDIO Aachen.
Morgan will skip Aachen this year and fully focus on her last training month before the Games. " Aachen is too much for the horse, so now it is big time training towards the Olympics. I am really excited about it!"
Scores 2012 CDIO Rotterdam - 2012 CDI Compiegne
Morgan Barbancon Sweeps the Board in Kur Tour at 2012 CDIO Saumur
Painted Black sold to Morgan Barbancon
Spanish Dressage Committee Works Towards 2012 Olympic Games