Looking back on their career together, Athimon speaks highly of his charge: "I have had him for 10 years and he is an absolute warrior. He’s mentally very strong and the most incredible horse, unbelievably reliable."
Leclezio, his final rider on the competition scene, also paid tribute to Poivre Vert, praising their short but enjoyable relationship:
"I had the honour to finish his career. He is an amazing horse and by far the best I have competed with. I spent one year with him, it was short, but really intense."
Vaulting, an FEI discipline since 1983, has often been described as gymnastics on horseback, due to the level of skill artistry involved.
Essentially, Vaulting consists of a horse cantering on the lunge on a 15-metre circle, while either an individual, pair, (pas de deux) or team perform a series of set movements.
Although Germany have dominated Vaulting for many years, to have a horse like Poivre Vert able to produce the best result at the highest level, no less than three times, is some feat. He has put the French Vaulting team on the map.
Poivre Vert’s sire is thoroughbred Royal Feu and his dam, Symphonie Vert SF, (Selle Francais).
The 15-year-old gelding is considered a credit to the sport of Vaulting, raising the profile of the discipline in France and winning two gold medals with two different riders in the process.
Leclezio took gold for France in the Individual Male Freestyle Final, keeping the dominant Germans at bay.
Leclezio earned the win with a score of 8.744 points after four rounds, beating Germany’s Jannik Heiland and Thomas Brüsewitz, who claimed second and third, respectively.
The talented 20-year-old moved to Saumur, France to improve his sporting aspirations. It clearly paid off, resulting in his partnership with Poivre Vert.
Leclezio said: "It’s very difficult. I have no words to describe what we did – I’m very, very happy. I want to take a moment to thank my lunger and the horse because it was his last competition."
Praising Athimon and Poivre Vert, and the incredible work that they have done together over years.
He added: "He really deserved to show on this because he’s just at the top of the game and he’s allowed me to win this competition.
"The most difficult thing is to stay calm when entering the ring and today we did a good job with it and we didn’t let the pressure of this competition get too much."
While Poivre Vert carried out his trademark, consistent canter on the lunge, Leclezio could concentrate on his execution, artistic impression, and control.
He said: "It is the accumulation of hard work over the past four years,. Every day waking up with the end goal of the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in mind. It is a real honour to win here for France."
At the end of his performance, Leclezio got a standing ovation from the Tryon spectators. It was his partnership with Poivre Vert and Francois Athimon that allowed him to perform with such confidence.
Watch Poivre Vert's stunning gold medal performance with Lambert Leclezio at this year's FEI World Equestrian Games™ below: