The meteoric rise of Gershua Mathis Portejoie caught the attention of the French team staff.

“I am firmly on my feet, I know that everything is very random with horses, but in any case, today I enjoy the current results,” smiles Mathis Portejois. This 25-year-old rider from the Aubois stables, a family structure based in La Guerche, has just won two tryouts in recent weeks. Ten days ago he placed fourth in the CCI 3*L in Cronenberg (Netherlands). The previous month, he placed second in the Pro Élite de Saumur, ahead of several big names such as Gwendolen Fehr, Nicolas Touzin or Thomas Carlyle.

Dressage specialist before the competition

This service was also noticed by the federal apparatus. “I discovered young talents there with a great future. Stéphane Landois (winner) and Mathis Portejois illustrate our need to expand the circle of tenors,” said Jean-Pierre Bianco, Head of Ouest-France Dressage. Mathis Portejoie’s potential can be measured by the speed of his progress: he only started triathlon three or four years ago. “For safety reasons, we cannot start too high in the category. So I started with amateur level 3 or 4.

Bronze for Mathis Portejoie

And the son of Frank Portejoie rose through the ranks at the speed of a thoroughbred. His biographical details begged him. Mathis was selected three times for the French national team … in dressage. A discipline in which he has long excelled. “A suit is the choice of the heart, delivered by someone who currently ranks 321st in the world. I have always had it deep down in my soul. So why didn’t you practice it before? “My father (who was an international racer) had a pretty bad accident when I was one or two years old, he wanted us to know how to ride and even ride well before we competed in triathlon. »

New member of group 2 tricolor

This extensive dressage experience is a real asset to the triathlon. The starting mark is calculated based on the success in this first test. Cross-country and show jumping only add – or don’t add – penalties to this score. “It allowed me to quickly get into the game,” says Mathis Portejois. In addition, the other two tests are closely related to the construction of the horse (which we work on in dressage). And then, at the stable, we have a field for cross-country. I always did it, even if it wasn’t in competition. »

If an unfortunate fall in Aras-du-Pins stopped him for half a year or a half ago, then the results followed very quickly. Last year, his sixth place in the 4*C du Pouget, “an excellent performance”, opened the doors to Group 2, a roster that could look like a reserve for the French team. “It opened a lot of doors for me,” says the La Guerche rider. I was able to do an internship with a group and meet the best in my field, excellent people with a lot of experience. It was perfect for preparation. »

family work

With Ivan, “a really good horse with real skills for strong jumps and very sensitive and therefore very intelligent”, they managed to make an impression as soon as they returned to Saumur, where the course took place. Including the domestic technical direction. “It’s nice that you like the horse, and it’s nice to know that people believe in us,” he appreciates. Family reward.

“We take care of the horses as a family,” explains Mathis Portejois. As for the coaching part, my sister is there every day, and my father sometimes. My wife takes care of getting him to work on a physical level, she gives him massages, gives him osteoses, etc. We also work with a veterinarian and I have an assistant who replaces me when I go to competitions. That’s a lot of speakers. »

Shine in Lignier to dream of Paris

This whole clan has one goal: to make sure that this horse, “which is getting more and more mature”, is in good shape for the international competition in Linier, almost at home trials. “I think Ivan has real potential in the long formats, I would like Linier to let him enter Group 1 so that, why not, he can’t compete in big tournaments like the Nations Cup. »

Another big event is also included in his medium-term goals: Paris 2024. Then I wouldn’t be disappointed if I didn’t go. I know that France has more experienced riders, but, like any athlete, I really want this. It’s very close in terms of working with the horse, but also very far away, so I try not to do anything based on that. »

avoid stress

If he shines in Liniers and joins Group 1, Mathis Portejois will avoid a busy year in 2023 to integrate and therefore be able to apply for a presence at the Palace of Versailles next summer. And the trainer knows very well that a stressed rider is not sending his steed the best signals to perform.

Ludovic Oregan


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