From preparing for the Arqana sales to the Ecole Blondeau
Jade Odoul: portrait of a determined student from the south of France
Jade started riding when she was 6 years old and knew even then that this was what she wanted to do when she was older. She came from a family that knew little about horses but not being put off, she went to the local equestrian centre every Saturday to lend a hand with feeding and helping the instructors.
She always had the same thought at school: to work with horses.
After her exams (baccalauréat) at the Yssingeaux agricultural college, Jade went to the Haras de Houlbec in Normandy, where she worked two weeks at school and two weeks at the Haras (stud farm).
"The intense rhythm taught me all the basics of grooming, looking after the stable yard which included care of the horses, working with long reins and being an international showjumping groom. I really enjoyed the experience even though I had to summon up the energy to do the schoolwork. Only 50% of students actually gain their qualification, and I'm one of them!"
Jade had firm ideas and she wanted to experience the racing world. She joined Philippe Prévost-Baratte's stables in Normandy where she worked as a rider/groom for six months. She then went on to the Haras de la Louvière, also in Normandy, where she refined her experience in racing with the preparation of youngsters for the Arquana sales: walking the yearlings in-hand, showering them and picking up their feet, all of which she thoroughly enjoyed.
Jade remembers the first time she saw Nicolas Blondeau. It was during a course at her agricultural school at Yssingeaux, and she had to push her way through to get a peep at what he was doing, as this was not part of her work. She told herself that one day she would have to look at the Blondeau method more closely.
Since 1 October 2014, this little brunette with a lilting voice has been studying for the BEB3 (Ecole Blondeau diploma) and the Ecole Blondeau is brightened daily by her good nature.
Jade joined the Ecole after a 2 day assessment and hopes to finish her training with an instructor's qualification in January 2016 so that she can set herself up in breaking-in and re-educating young horses. Jade says "It's very important to have the training, particularly for a woman in racing or indeed anywhere in the horse environment. You have to prove yourself in a man's world, and I can assure you, I've always known that!"
When we asked her what she would remember about her time at the Ecole Blondeau, she replied instantly "That's easy! I gained 40 years of horsemanship in a year with the bonus of avoiding 60,000 accidents in the future!"
"The contacts I've made with people like Eric Berthou and Jean-Pascal Landais are really important to me. They gave me lots of advice on how to set myself up in the future and on mistakes to avoid. I have been so fortunate to meet them".
There were things missing in my relationship with young horses and thanks to Monsieur Blondeau, I've found them. I have noticed that whenever there's a problem, it's not the horse at fault; but more often it's us".
We wish Jade all the best with her course and long career with horses!
For details of what Jade has done at the Ecole Blondeau (training and taking responsibility), please do not hesitate to contact me:
Emmanuelle Moreau +33 (0)2 41 50 70 50
Chapiter 1: Interview with Nicolas Blondeau.