Isabelle Lissarrague says her horse is 'just eight years old', so she plans to nurse him around the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Endurance Cup event. Yet she is only 18 herself.
Isabelle Lissarrague will show off her riding genes in 160km race
DUBAI // Twenty international riders will compete in the annual 160km Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Endurance Cup this weekend.
The youngest of these, 18-year-old Isabelle Lissarrague, is hoping that Saturday's competition, held at Dubai International Endurance City, will offer a good training outing for her young horse, Pacxie de Paute.
Despite her own youth, the French horsewoman is something of a seasoned competitor in endurance circles and has been riding since she was six.
Lissarrague was part of the silver medal-wining French team that competed in the Youth World Championships in Abu Dhabi last year and took part in her first international endurance event in Spain at the age of 11.
"My horse is very young, just eight years old, and so I will just be nursing him around the course," Lissarrague said yesterday. "I will be aiming to go 18 or 19km per hour.
"The biggest challenge in events here is the sun. It can be quite hot, but I have competed here before so I know what to expect."
Lissarrague's mother, Barbara, will be able to offer her daughter some valuable tips having won the world title in Dubai in 2005.
"I am lucky to be from a riding family, and both my mother and my father are involved in the sport," said Lissarrague, who will take on an as yet unnamed member of the UAE Royal family as well as Cecille Miletto, the reigning world champion.
Miletto and her husband, Laurent Mosti, who is also competing, train 10 horses at their French endurance facility for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, an accomplished endurance rider.
Dubai Equestrian Club, the race organisers, are also expected to announce which member of the Royal family will compete in this event.
In September, five UAE riders, led by Sheikh Mohammed, won a team gold medal in the 160km endurance race at the World Equestrian Championships in Lexington, Kentucky.
The team, which included Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed, Sheikh Rashid Dalmook and Ali Al Muhairi, dominated the race, which featured 100 riders from 58 countries, from the start. Sheikh Mohammed, a former European Open champion, also took second place in the race.
Sheikh Hamdan finished third.