Grand prix rider Margie Engle has a new ride in the form of USA Normande, a 10-year-old mare who’s successfully competed at CSI****s throughout Europe and the United States.
Owner Nicolas Paillot recently agreed to sell part of USA Normande to Engle, a longtime friend. When she visited Europe, Engle would often stay at Paillot’s farm, Paillot Equestrian in Chamant, France, and that’s where she first saw the mare as an 8-year-old.
“I remember seeing [Paillot] schooling her, and I thought she was a nice mare,” said Engle. “She looked like a good jumper and very careful with good technique.”
Engle was interested in the Selle Français (Made In Semilly—Islea Normande, Urbain du Monnai), but Paillot wasn’t looking to part with her yet.
In the years since, USA Normande has competed with Canada’s Yann Candele, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Palloit, earning good placings in CSIs in Spain and France.
“I just really appreciate Nicolas [Paillot] and [Anne Caroline Valtin],” said Engle. “They’ve always been good friends, and they’ve been very supportive with us and very hospitable when we go and stay there. I just hope it’s the beginning of a great partnership. Hopefully it’ll be a successful one.”
USA Normande will remain for sale unless Engle can get some of her clients together to buy out Paillot’s share. Engle said she plans to get to know the mare and compete in a few smaller classes before aiming for the HITS Saugerties CSI***** (New York) in September.
But first on Engle’s to-do list with the mare? Find a barn name.
“She just got here [Aug. 15], so we’ve been calling her ‘USA’ and then sometimes ‘Normande.’ I’m not sure what Nicolas calls her, but we’ve called her both,” said Engle.