I don’t care that Man Crush Friday isn’t a thing. It’s a thing now. Because Julien.
I’ve been working in Equestrian Journalism for several years now across a variety of sports, and I’ve noticed a common theme throughout the disciplines: The French riders love their horses.
I mean, yes, we ALL love our horses, but the French – it’s something else entirely. It’s not Big Mac love. It’s Eiffel Tower Love. It’s the most romantic, over-the-top, can’t-live-without-you love. Exhibit A: the Longines Masters most recent episode of “Ride of My Life” featuring Julien Epaillard:
“I was born into a horse family, I’ve known this way of life since I was a baby,” Julien says. “The fact that I had a horse and shared something with it every day made me really understand this was my calling and that I wanted to go in that direction.”
He continues: “First, to be a good rider, you need to love horses. It is essential: we train putting the animal first as far as possible. Then I think you need to be very patient. You must really bond with the horse and that cannot be achieved in a day.”
He concludes with this final demonstration of love over competition, daily life over glory:
“I live my dream every day. I am surrounded by horses, which is very humbling because whenever you are making headway you get a slap. I really think that if I can keep doing this job for as long as possible at any level, as long as I am with horses, I will be happy.”
There is something so heartening about hearing this level of gushy love about the job at such a high level. May we all endeavor to experience horses, competition, this sport with such sentiments.
Go Julien, and go jumping.