Today we would like to introduce one of the most harmonious couples we've met, Alizée Froment and Mistral. She’s shown like no other rider that it’s possible to use one’s seat in such a way that Grand Prix movements can be executed through bitless riding. We have met several times now – at courses, trade fairs and at Alizée Froment’s home, which we visited to make the wehorse films about her. We filmed at her parents’ stables in the South of France. In this article you can read what that was like and how she became the rider she is today. It’s early morning in the South of France. The air is still cool, the roads are dusty as the hot weather has left the earth dry. Alizée Froment’s stables lie just outside a small village. The first thing one sees are paddocks and the open stalls where her mother’s ponies live. A strip of precisely mowed, bright green lawn runs between the arena and the stables, where her stallions peer out from the open windows framed by sumptuous, wine-coloured curtains. “I enjoy beauty”, says Alizée Froment. The flower she wears in her hair – her distinctive feature – is also integrated into the stalls’ design: where the curtains are gathered, there are silk flowers.
Alizée Froment's multiple talentsHere, not far from Nice, is where Alizée Froment worked and developed into a world championship talent. Today she guest stars at major horse shows, executes Grand Prix movements using only a neck rope and thrills spectators at liberty dressage events, costumed like a princess in a flowing gown. What many don’t know, however, is that this bitless riding star has also competed in dressage at Grand Prix level with her Lusitano stallion, Mistral. Alizée Froment schooled the stallion herself and brought him to the Dressage European Championships for Young Riders where they competed at Grand Prix level. For five years her focus was on international competition, and during this time she also rode Di Magic OLD by Dimaggio at the 2012 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses, winning the consolation final. For several years she was the national trainer for France’s pony dressage riders but gave up this work because she no longer had the time to commute between appearances, seminars and her pony riders. Her calendar includes trips to far-off places such as Moscow, Lausanne, Barcelona, Malmö, and Chicago.
Sport and showThis parallel activity of competitive sport and shows isn’t the only surprise. When Alizée Froment is riding bitless, using only a neck rope, the silhouette of the horse remains unchanged. Both of her stallions, Mistral and Sultan, maintain movement of energy through the body without falling apart. She executes a half pass precisely, switches from a strong canter into a canter pirouette or has her horse perform a passage. She simply can. We have come here, after travelling countless hours in a car full of film equipment, to learn her training techniques and how she came to do all this. We, being the wehorse film team, and myself as author. The plan is to make an educational video about Alizée Froment as well as a profile article of the bitless riding celebrity for the magazine publication, Reiter Revue. We want to discover the elements of her training that make this ease, this lightness, possible.
A grey stallion stands tied in front of the stables. This is Sultan du Coussoul, and he is a PRE horse, short for Pura Raza Española. He is nine years old and a son of Mistral du Coussoul. Alizée Froment is standing on a stool and massaging his back. Her team, consisting of two young women, are bandaging the grey’s legs and grooming his tail. Each of their movements are well-coordinated, with one gesture quietly leading to the next. Alizée Froment coos a few friendly words to the horse. As much as she likes decorative flowers and opulent stage costumes, here everything is planned with thoroughness and precision. Nothing is left to chance.