Today we’ll meet a very special pair of riders who will compete this year at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles. They are Estelle and Laurene Navet, daughters of world class French show jumper Eric Navet! My trainer David Sterckx introduced me to Eric Navet by calling him “THE French Champion”. David shared with me the deep respect he had for this incredible horseman. This fact was illustrated clearly when I learned of the long list of championships, Olympic medals, World Equestrian Games medals, French and European Championship successes and so many more accolades that are listed against his name. This kind of success does not come without a deep level of connection to his equine partners and to the sport.
I met Eric Navet for a magazine interview in 2015 and heard first hand of his tremendous success in the show ring but also how important true, committed horsemanship has been to his success. During that interview I met Estelle and Laurene for the first time too. Eric and his wife Ursula have undoubtedly imparted a deep love of horses and sport to their two young show jumping daughters. They both are already very successful in the show ring here in southern California. As a family the Navet’s will compete at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles this year. I caught up with the girls recently to find out what they are most excited about when they come to the Longines Masters of Los Angeles.
How are you both preparing for coming to the Longines Masters of Los Angeles?
EN: Going to a few shows before the Longines Masters. And, flat work, I want to keep my horse happy and in a good working mind. I do not want to push him too much before the show.
Do you have any lucky charms?
EN: I try not to actually. Because when I was riding ponies as a little girl you know every rider has at least once in their lifetime a favorite horse show pants or breeches. The thing is though I was growing up so much, so fast that I could never wear the same breeches…My lucky charm is my horse.
What are your favorite things to do in Los Angeles?
EN: We get to ride more here than in France!
LN: I think what I like is that we go to the same shows as my Dad. When we’re at the same place he can train us more. In France we go to different shows, smaller shows so it’s nice when we are together.
EN I like to go to Malibu. It’s very nice and there’s lots of people but it’s really beautiful. And, I like to go to Beverly Hills to see all of the luxury stores! You know the kind that we only see on TV. It’s fun to walk and see what they really have. It’s a different world!
What are you excited about when you think of competing at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles?
LN: The world best riders will be there so its very interesting to watch. It’s an indoor show, so it’s enclosed and has great ambiance.
EN: I really like the atmosphere. It’s is really special. When my Dad rode at the Masters of Paris in 2009 I went to help groom. I loved it. Its very good for us to see the top level riders, how they are working the horses, their management, to see the way they ride, and I think we learn a lot by observation. It’s also really good for the sport here in California. It’s nice to have something so professional, so organized, more classy also. All the top shows in Europe have that and its nice to have it here in California. This is what we need most here for our sport here in California.
Do you have a goal for the show?
EN: I never hope too much because it never happens! (Both girls laughing)
LN: It’s true! I just want to try my best and enjoy it.
EN: Me too. I want to do it the most professional I can do it as an amateur. To do my best for my horse and I but also take a lot from observing and talking to people. If I can talk to a few of the riders would be a great opportunity. Just going there to show is an immense opportunity for us. It really opens our eyes to the sport.
Who are your favorite riders you are hoping to see at Longines Masters of Los Angeles?
EN: There are soon many!
LN: I would say Marcus Ehning, Marco Kutscher, Steve Guerdat, Scott Brash. From the French riders, Patrice Delaveau and Penelope LePrevost.
EN: Every top horse and rider have something to show us. Like Beezie Madden’s style I love! But I can also love Christian Ahlmans’s style which is completely opposite. The thing is its a bit hard to find the key to what I want for my style.
LN: We must take the good things we like from each rider and create our own riding style or opinion.
EN: Yes, I agree. They all have something exceptional and they are all in the same place. Seeing the top level riders is the point to going there and observing them. We can see their differences and see what’s working.
What does it mean to ride at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles?
EN: A dream! A dream come true.
LN: Exactly! We kept thinking the last two years we were hoping to go one day. Or maybe next year we can go? And it’s like wow it’s finally happening. We’ve never done the best big shows and it’s like, WOW!
EN: It’s a dream. It’s a class show. The best riders, the best horses, the top level. Everything thing is so perfect in that show. Every detail is worked. Everything is so clean and decorated. Everything is so perfect. It’s very special. It’s a special event.