A cross-country fall claimed the life of Thaïs Méheust at the French National Championships for Young Horses in Haras du Pin on Saturday, September 7.
Méheust, 22, was competing in the seven-year-old class with Chaman Dumontceau, who fell at the second obstacle.
Méheust was one of France’s rising stars on the international eventing circuit competing in eight FEI Eventing European Championships in the Pony, Junior, and Young Rider categories. She earned five team medals, including gold at the FEI Eventing Young Riders European Championships 2016 in Montelibretti in Italy and again on home soil in Fontainebleau 2018, her final year in Young Riders.
Soon after becoming French Junior Champion in 2017, she moved her top mount, the 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding Quamilha, up to three-star level to finish fifth in the CIC at Le Pouget in November that year.
In May of this year, she made her FEI Eventing Nations Cup team debut at Houghton Hall in Britain along with compatriots Cyrielle Lefevre, Francois Lemiere and Thomas Piejos.
She was drawn to eventing at a young age after watching her older siblings compete. She was based at her family’s Ecurie de Cerisier Blue stables in the small village of Cailly-sur-Eure, where she trained a string of four to five horses while also attending law school at the University of Rouen.
“The news of Thaïs’ tragic death has come as a great shock to us all,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said.
“We had the opportunity to get to know Thaïs when she participated in the Youth Panel which we hand-picked for the Sports Forum in 2018, representing not only the discipline of eventing and France, but the next generation of equestrian athletes worldwide.
“Each of the panelists was selected for their experience and their commitment to the sport and all of us at the FEI were truly impressed by Thaïs’ passion, her maturity and her enthusiasm. She was a tremendous ambassador for the sport, really committed and willing to work hard to achieve her goals. The global equestrian community has lost a shining light and our hearts go out to all who knew her.”
In an interview last year, Méheust said that her dream was to represent France at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
A memorial service is being held at 2pm on Wednesday, September 11, in Irreville. Méheust’s family has asked those attending wear “something other than black”
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