Morgan Barbançon has relocated her horses from her home town Geneva, Switzerland, to Massenhoven, Belgium. The move marks a new chapter in her equestrian career, establishing herself further as an independent rider, trainer, and horse dealer.
The 30-year old Morgan Barbançon is a double Olympian and currently France's highest scoring Grand Prix rider.
Following a successful career in the pony, junior and young rider ranks, Morgan represented Spain at the 2012 Olympic Games, 2014 World Equestrian Games, 2015 World Cup Finals, and 2015 European Championships on Painted Black.
After the retirement of Painted Black in 2015, Morgan represented Spain again on Sir Donnerhall II after 2.5 year break from major international championships. They competed at the 2018 World Cup Finals.
Born in Paris to French father Thierry Barbançon and Spanish mother Carmen Mestre, Morgan initially grew up in Geneva, Switzerland.
Her equestrian career, however, has taken her across Europe depending on the trainers she worked with at the time. Her youth career started in Germany with Jan Nivelle and Jan Bemelmans, while she moved to The Netherlands to study at university and train with Anky van Grunsven, who coached her on Painted Black into the Under 25 and senior Grand Prix ranks.
At the end of 2018 Morgan moved back home to Geneva to begin standing on her own two feet. She was first coached by Dorothee Schneider, but two years ago switched to Gareth Hughes, whom she identifies as instrumental in her recent progress as he unlocked a new level in her riding and competing.
Last winter she spent in Wellington, Florida, where her boyfriend of three years, Belgian international show jumper Jos Verlooy, who was competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival. The Florida experience worked magic on her career because in combination with Hughes' training, Morgan consolidated her connection with her three Grand Prix horses - Habana Libre A, Deodoro and Bolero - and won 7 CDI classes at the Global Dressage Festival.
In order to kept growing as a rider and professional, Morgan felt the need to have her horses more centrally located in Europe with easier access to the shows. Furthermore prices for hay, feed, shavings, etc in Switzerland have been going through roof, so an option abroad became more appealing by the month.
Morgan discussed a move of her equine string to Belgium with her life partner Jos Verlooy and the couple has found a solution in Massenhoven, Belgium. At the start of July, she began relocating her horses and clients there, while Jos continues to operate his jumping business at his father's yard in Grobbendonk, Belgium.
"I'm standing on my own two feet now, independent from my parents," Morgan told Eurodressage. "I will focus on my own riding as well as training clients and selling horses."
Morgan has, for instance, been coaching Turkish Grand Prix rider Rotem Ibrahimzadeh as well as Natalie Lankaster from the UAE, amongst others.
With the Dutch warmblood Habana Libre A (by Zizi Top x United) she represented France at the 2023 European Championships in Riesenbeck and finished 14th in the freestyle final with a 79.521% Kur score. She is aiming for her third Olympics on home turf in Paris next year.
Photo © Astrid Appels
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