Alexandra Barbancon Mestre Ready for the Big Time with Don Lorean
Seventeen-year old Spanish Young Rider Alexandra Barbançon Mestre is ready for the big time and wants to make the move to the Under 25 Grand Prix division this year with her newest acquisition, the 13-year old Oldenburg gelding Don Lorean.
The multiple Spanish youth team rider is skipping the 2013 European Young Riders Championships in Compiegne and will focus on making the transition to Grand Prix level at her new coach Andreas Helgstrand's yard in Vodskov, Denmark. Alexandra is in the fortunate position to have Grand Prix schoolmaster Mr Q teaching her the feeling of piaffe, passage and one tempi changes, while her 10-year old Dutch warmblood gelding Webbe (by Jazz x Krack C) is slowly being introduced to the level at the same time.
In order to enable a smooth transition to the highest FEI level, Barbançon has expanded her strong of horses with the confirmed and internationally competed Grand Prix horse Don Lorean. Formerly owned and shown by British WEG team rider Fiona Bigwood, Don Lorean is a sympathetic and highly athletic Don Larino x Rouletto offspring. Alexandra and 'Don Lori' clicked from the start.
"The first time I tried Don Lorean I did most of the Grand Prix exercises. I understood him quickly and I felt confident enough to experiment," Alexandra explained. "Doni is very experienced and knows his job, yet he is sensitive. He really has his own character. For example he wants to look "tough" when someone walks by his stall and puts on a fierce face, but actually he's such a sweetheart."
Although 17 and still entitled to ride four more years at Young Riders' level, Alexandra is eager to make the jump to U25 to embrace a new challenge. She is proud of the successes her sister Morgan booked in a short period of time at Grand Prix level. Making it onto the Spanish Olympic team with Painted Black, Morgan rode down the Olympic centerline in London at the tender age of 19.
"We decided to already ride U25 this year, because we simply found the perfect horse for that," Alexandra stated. "My family and I really did not want to loose time and with horses. Once they are ready, it's better to start directly. I'm really looking forward to riding at that level and learning from Don. He really makes riding fun!"
However, the level-headed Alexandra did add that, "everything is happening quite quickly, so I would be lying if I said I would never ride Young Riders again. We'll just have to see what the future brings."
While Don Lorean will be showing Alexandra the ropes in the Grand Prix ring, she also takes pride in bringing Webbe up to that level.
"He has shown talent for Grand Prix and it would really be an achievement to be able to ride him in the U25 level well," said Alexandra. "I've had him since he was six and he didn't know much. I believe we have come a long way and I'm looking forward to the future."
As both have completed their exams in school at the end of June, Morgan and Alexandra recently moved to Denmark for a two-month stint during the summer holidays. They are staying with Andreas at his equestrian centre Møgelmosegaard.
"Andreas has a guest house where we are staying," said Alexandra. "It's nice to be close to my horses. I can kiss them good night every day."
With her tunnel-focus set on riding in the Under 25 division at the 2013 European Dressage Championships in Herning, Alexandra has set out a clear path and goal for August.
"I really think it would be a fantastic opportunity to be able to ride at the same shows as many great riders and I can be busy watching them and learn," she said.
Photos © private - Astrid Appels
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