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That alone should be enough to put on your CV, but Maxine Livio has come so very close to taking the prize twice before.
He finished second here in 2014 - his first time at Pau - and took the runner-up spot at Luhmühlen in June this year.
He said: “I’ve finished second at this level before, so finally to win is very special. I’ve had a marvellous time at Pau”
Michael Jung, the 2016 and 2012 individual Olympic gold medallist, held the lead after Cross Country on FischerRocana FST, but knocked two fences on the 11-year-old mare, moving down to third place, and handed the win to Livio.
He might have had a sense of déjà vu, as he narrowly missed out on winning here last year. It all came down to one fence that he toppled, handing victory to France’s Astier Nicolas, who went on to win team gold and individual silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
At Pau, we generally see younger, less experienced horses from elite riders, as they like to rest their top horses after the Olympic Games.
“Zero to Hero” wouldn’t be a bad way to describe him, as his family has no connection with horses at all! It was when he started taking riding lessons as a small child m he got bitten by the horsey bug and started competing, and winning.
He trained at the Ecole Nationale d’Equitation de Saumur, and spent time with François Roemer and Nicolas Touzaint before setting up his own stable, Ecurie Maxime Livio, near Saumur with his girlfriend, Jumping rider Mathilde Montginoux.
On his way up the ranks, he competed on French team at the FEI Junior and Young Rider European Eventing Championships, and made his senior championship debut at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2014.
He really came into the spotlight when he took second place at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau aboard Cathar De Gamel in 2014.
So, what does all this mean?
Well, this was just the first leg out of 6 that make up the FEI Classics™ Series. You can see more about this HERE
After each leg, the top 10 are awarded points, the winner being the one with the most at the end.
There reason there are only 8 is because Michael Jung and Nicola Wilson competed twice, and they both made it into the top 10
Text by Catherine Austen & Paul Stretton/FEI
Photography by Eric Knoll and Trevor Holt