Lambert Leclezio was just 11 when he tried vaulting for the first time – a gymnastic dance performed on horseback...
The Mauritius lad quickly became known around the world in the vaulting arena, and since his teenage years, he began competing in, and winning, international events. Winner of the Longines Rising Star Award 2014, we caught up with him to see what he's up to these days...
What age did you begin vaulting and how did you start?
I started vaulting at the age of 11 at the club I rode at. I remember I had to stop gymnastics as I was going to college and there were no gymnastics lessons there, so I decided to try vaulting when my riding instructor wanted to try it.
I tried a beginner’s class but didn’t really like it because it wasn’t challenging enough. Then, one day, I saw a more advanced class and my vision of vaulting changed. A few days later, I started officially vaulting and only a month later, I one my first vaulting competition against much more experienced people!
How many hours would you spend learning a new move and how do you stop yourself from becoming impatient?
This year, we are training for around 25 to 30 hours a week. We train on the floor, in gymnastics halls with mattresses and lunges. We train on barrels and of course on our horses. But before we try a new move at a canter, we go through a lot of preparation. The move must be perfectly executed on the ground and on the barrel before we do it on a horse.
It is sometimes difficult to stay patient, yes – especially in compulsory moves. They are very technical and costing a lot of time. Gaining 0.5 on a move can take months or more. In the end, people don’t know how much work is behind a small evolution. What motivates me is seeing my evolution during the season.