The Sichon Stadium has been hosting the competition of the Société Hippique Française (SHF) since 1887. Originally, the ground was simply a meadow. A desire to move the competition from Lyon to Vichy meant that the town had to rapidly build a 600-metre race track around a competition ground on the Sichon site, and a magnificent stand, designed by Gustave Eiffel, was put up in a very short space of time. The ground belonged to the town and was rented out to the SHF for 10 years, but a political change sped up its acquisition by the SHF in 1896.
Ever since, the Sichon Equestrian Stadium has hosted one or more competitions organised by the SHF, each year except when work is being carried out to renovate the ground. 1924 saw the creation of the first Vichy International Competition, which organised pre-Olympic competitions.
After the Second World War, the Vichy Competition diversified by hosting the Concours Hippique International Officiel, a World Cup stage and the Cadre Noir de Saumur. Some of the world's greatest riders were to appear on this ground: Pierre Jonquères d’Oriola, Bertrand de Balanda, Jean d’Orgeix and Marcel Rozier to name but a few.
In the 1970s the agreement between the Town Hall of Vichy and the SHF evolved. The town undertook to carry out the work requested by the SHF which in return undertook to organise several competitions per year of which one was of international level.
During the 1980s, some famous riders made an appearance on the Sichon ground, proving that the competition had great sporting appeal. Among the many great names to appear were Michel Robert, Michel Hidalgo, Philippe Rozier and even Nelson Pessoa. International riders were so delighted to ride on the highly prestigious Sichon ground that they returned to Auvergne year after year to perform.
In 2010, the CSI *** was not held here because of renovation work on the ground. The soil has been changed, to provide exceptional comfort for the horses. The work has allowed the paddock to be enlarged, providing riders with enough space to be comfortable when warming up. The arena's fence has been entirely rebuilt in order to make the ground more secure. The ground is totally drainable, so it will never be waterlogged or slippery for the horses.
The 2011 CSI promises to be a pleasure to behold for both public and riders, who will provide us with a great show on an exceptional arena. DeVichy takes place from July 15 to the 17th.