All the major events have a history, a mixture of friendships, passions and common desires. The one in Le Grand Complet is the perfect illustration of this. We have to go back to 1995 in a typical French bistrot in Cherbourg (northern part of Normandy), and a discussion between friends fans of eventing and festive atmosphere to see the birth of the history of Le Grand Complet. The small group takes the crazy gamble of creating a competition at the gates of the capital of Cotentin, the northern part of Normandy. This is how this unique event, organized by the Ustica association and a handful of irreducible Normans, was born. “Ustica is the name of one of the best mares we have ever owned,” explains Pierre Le Goupil, who is now designing the cross-country course. “She put us all on horseback and took us on our first eventing class. It’s a lot of good memories! ». It will be called “Le Grand Complet”, a brand now registered and known around the world. Ustica, an association based in Martinvast, on the verge of Cherbourg since its creation, brings together dozens of volunteers. Some families are even in the 3rd generation involved in the event, grandparents, parents and children mobilizing each year with the same fervor.
A human adventure
A family story
We can’t talk about Le Grand Complet without mentioning the Le Goupil family. Patriarch André participated in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City in eventing, with the help of his groom Bernadette… who became his wife. Together they settled at the Carneville Farm, at the gateway of Cherbourg, on the village of Martinvast. It was here that what became in less than a decade the BIGGEST equestrian event in Normandy and one of the most important in France and Europe. First at the regional level and then at the national level, the competition passed the international milestone as early as 2000. With more than 15,000 visitors, Le Grand Complet is one of the most important events in France.
Longtime director and man-orchestra of the event, Pierre Le Goupil now devotes himself to his company building fences and designing cross-country courses around the world. Guillaume Blanc, a loyal friend and volunteer, international technical delegate, took over the position of Sports Director in 2017. Valérie Moulin, also a long-time volunteer and equin osteopath, now chairs Ustica.
A few dates
- 1995: 1st regional edition.
- 1997: Le Grand Complet organizes a national class.
- 2000: organization of the first international.
- 2002: obtaining the FEI World Cuplabel, major year with the victory of Jean Teulère and Espoir de la Mare a few weeks before being crowned World Champions.
- 2004: Olympic year, Arnaud Boiteau’s victory in Athens, crowned with gold, and then at Le Grand Complet in the FEI World Cup class.
- 2008: 14th edition of Le Grand Complet, last one on the site of Martinvast, 7th FEI World Cup class.
- 2009: no event due to change of site.
- 2010: Le Grand Complet moves, 1st edition to the Haras national du Pin (Orne), 8th FEI World Cup, return of the circuit in France.
- 2012: 17th edition of Le Grand Complet, 5th and final leg of the FEI World Cup circuit (the last ever organized in the world, the circuit having been stopped that same year).
- 2014: no Le Grand Complet this year, the place being left at the World Equestrian Games.
- 2017: Le Grand Complet becomes the only venue of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup circuit inFrance.
- 2018: 22nd edition, Le Grand Complet becomes the world’s no.1 international eventing competition in terms of riders (370).
- 2020 : 24ème édition.