The écuyers of Le Cadre noir de Saumur in Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent, Pays de la Loire, are merely put, the crème de la crème. They are fairly merely the very best. 

They are so good that 10 years in the past Unesco inscribed Le Cadre noir on the listing of intangible cultural heritage of humanity, for horse using ‘in the French tradition’.

It is a convention that has been honed over the centuries with Le Cadre noir’s journey beginning after the Napoleonic wars when the French cavalry was decimated. 

While tragic, it highlighted the necessity for extra coaching and consequently there was a restructure inside the cavalry. 

In 1815, Louis XVIII created the Ecole des Troupes à cheval. 

Not to be confused with the opposite army faculties in Saumur, this one was opened solely to make sure the very best instructors would practice officers and horses for the cavalry corps. 

These academics had been nice riders from Manèges of Versailles, the Tuileries and Saint-Germain, employed into the army, referring to teachings from the masters Antoine de Pluvinel, François Robichon de la Guérinière and François Baucher.

Charles X renamed it the Ecole royale de cavalerie in 1825 and just some years later the primary carousel was introduced with the écuyers sporting the ‘bicorn’ hats. 

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the college was notably focused on equestrian competitions launched on the Olympic Games and the écuyers of Saumur competed in three classes; present leaping, dressage and eventing. Overall, Le Cadre noir has gained 9 Olympic medals (seven gold, one silver and one bronze).

Training of the écuyers of the Cadre Noir throughout a gala. Pic: Benoit Lemaire / IFCE

During World War One the écuyers had been dispersed throughout totally different models and when the college and the Manège re-opened in 1919, they revealed a brand new, immediately recognisable uniform, one which impressed the title ‘Le Cadre noir’.

The black tunic with 9 golden buttons, black trousers, black boots and a hat (males put on the kepi and the females put on the bicorn) has turn out to be synonymous with the riders.

World War Two once more noticed troops mobilised and the college was cut up in two. The Manège was retained because the École nationale d’équitation below the accountability of the sports activities fee and different buildings had been used for conflict functions.

Léa Bury-Pennachio, a information at Le Cadre noir de Saumur, defined: “Of course, when the military revolution introduced tanks and planes you didn’t need the horses. If you don’t need the horses and the riders, you don’t really need the teachers anymore. Le Cadre noir at this time was there for show.”

The query of the organisation’s existence was raised. Although after a recognised historical past and progress in data, the federal government couldn’t get rid of such an necessary legacy. 

On the periphery there was a rise in equestrian centres and using for pleasure was fashionable.  “This is when the mindset of people changed about the use of the horses. It was not only about using the horse for war or to work on the field, but to use them for sport and leisure,” continued Léa.

In 1972, the École nationale d’équitation was created and Le Cadre noir joined them as instructors, with their important goal being to coach horse using academics.

The merge shifted Le Cadre noir from Military standing to civilian and the college put extra emphasis on making ready for state diplomas within the instructing of horse using and the event of high-level sport. 

An écuyer du Cadre noir demonstrates the Courbette. Pic: Benoit Lemaire / IFCE

The École nationale d’équitation merged with Haras nationaux in 2010 and have become the Institut français du cheval et de l’équitation (IFCE). 

To assure the heritage and custom of Le Cadre noir continues, the army is current inside the establishment. The ‘écuyers en chef’ at all times comes from the army corps, at present Colonel Patrick Teisserenc is on the helm, and there are additionally six army riders among the many écuyers.

The solely strategy to inform the distinction is by the stripes on their tunics and the insignia on their hat. A small golden solar for civilian écuyers and a grenade for the army écuyers.

An écuyer is an elite place that naturally comes with a sure variety of necessities. For instance, it’s essential be lower than 35 years outdated, have an teacher’s diploma, expertise in instructing and should have competed on a world degree. An utility would additionally embrace a letter to say why you might be proper for the position.

Today, there are 33 écuyers – in comparison with 10 through the organisation’s first decade – three of that are girls (it will enhance to 4 in September) and all instructors on the using college are members of Le Cadre noir. However, for anybody wishing to use, vacancies are uncommon as an écuyer can work into retirement. 

Their day can begin at 7:00, taking good care of 5 to seven horses and so they should journey 45 minutes to an hour per day, every single day. All the écuyers have college students and their position is to move on their theoretical and sensible data. 

The variety of horses and college students an écuyer takes care of depends upon their age.

The teachings are a mixture of a number of theories practised over time, with all of them specializing in establishing a harmonious relationship between man and horse.

“The students will be the next teachers. They will be trainers in equestrian centres, trainers for competitions or instructors,” stated Léa. 

One of the college’s most well-known instructors, General Alexis L’Hotte, mixed the ideas of François Baucher and the Count d’Aure and created the ‘calme, en avant et droit’ doctrine.

“It is the foundation of French riding. It is basically the idea of being one with your horse, light and moving forward,” Léa continued. “When you look at the rider and the horse, you are not supposed to see a lot of movement from the rider. You have actions from the rider because the horse will not gallop by himself, but you are not supposed to see much, and they’re supposed to be one with the horse.”

Le Cadre Noir performing within the Grand Manège. Pic: Benoit Lemaire / IFCE

The college itself is spectacular and pre-pandemic, it welcomed 100,000 guests per 12 months from all around the world. 

Totalling at round 300 hectares, there’s a veterinary clinic, farriers based mostly onsite, an amphitheatre, fashionable media library and stables, in addition to seven indoor faculties and 18 Olympic-sized out of doors areas with particular surfaces.

The galas are well-known, the place you may see the écuyers of Le Cadre Noir performing within the Grand Manège and excursions can help you go to the stables and tack rooms.

There can also be a analysis centre with a workforce targeted on guaranteeing the horses are in the very best situation, each mentally and bodily.

The 350 horses on the college are, after all, nicely taken care of. The college owns 270 and the rest belongs to the écuyers or college students.

A horse is chosen by its genes, breed – which might be considered one of three; French Saddle Horses (Selle Français), Anglo-Arabians and Hanoverian horses (German breed) – physiology and morphology. Around 10 to fifteen new horses are purchased every year at three years outdated. 

After which, every horse will spend time with three or 4 écuyers for a variety of coaching and disciplines, till they attain six or seven after they start their position, working with college students and performing.

A horse will stay with the identical écuyers and grooms throughout its profession on the college and when it’s time for them to retire at round 15 to twenty years outdated, they are often purchased. 

The new proprietor should signal a contract stating that the horse is not going to be used for breeding, particularly the mares, or competing and the horse can’t be bought.

Léa added: “If we buy 10 horses in one year, we will put 10 horses to retirement. 

We want the same horses with the same people, this way they are not disturbed and are comfortable. We want the same thing for their retirement. It is not a question of money. We just want them to be in a family who wants them and will keep them until the end. The horses spend a lot of time here. They give us a lot during 15 years, so I think it’s important for us to give them a good retirement.” 

Le Cadre noir de Saumur, 

Avenue de l’École Nationale d’Équitation, 49400 Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent

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