The 31-year-old from near Paris, who was introduced to horse riding by his amateur rider mother, showed a determination to make a living from showjumping at an early age.
He was 23 years old when, working at Pierre Baldeck’s, when his grandparents bought him a horse by the name of Kraque Boom.
There was no doubting that the rider was a workaholic and that the horse was good, but no one could have imagined what the pair would achieve at the highest level.
Even at the 2009 European Championships, his grandparents still said: "If he finishes in the top 10, we will be very happy."
He did a great deal better than that, completing a masterly clear round that led him straight to the European title.
He has never been out of the world top 10 since winning a silver medal at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington and he has piled up Grand Prix victories.
In the horse riding world, those kind of results have afforded him star status, which he shares with his team-mate and partner in life Pénélope Leprévost.
The pair are the most glamorous couple in the showjumping world, proving that glitz can combine with performance.