June 24, 2010

Le Cadre Noir de Saumur - June 23

The Cadre Noir is an equestrian display team based in the city of Saumur in western France. The troop was founded in 1828, and gets its name from the black uniforms that are still used today. It is one of the most prestigious horsemanship schools in the world.

In 1972, the National School of Équitation was constituted around the Cadre Noir, which form its core teaching staff. Today, there are about 50 horses and a team of elite riders, usually limited to 22. The members of the Cadre Noir are either under a civilian or a military status. Some of the riders have reached the highest level of international sport, being olympic or world champions.

The equitation on which the school is built was taught by Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere, the French riding master to King Louis XV and author of the book École de Cavalerie, which was published in 1731.

The facilities are unparalleled. They have a number of arenas, some enclosed and some not. This one is so large that you can put seats inside the arena field and still have an olympic size area. The light is all natural.

Although we didn't see a live presentation because Le Cadre was in Toulouse, we saw a video and many photos. It is spectacular!

The Cadre Noir mainly uses Thoroughbreds, Anglo-Arabians, Hanoverians and Selle Français, but also keeps Lusitano horses to demonstrate the 16th and 17th century baroque style of riding. The Thoroughbreds and Anglo Arabians are used for the Grand Prix dressage, and perform individually, pas de deux (two horses), pas de trois (three horses), and dûe quantité (four or more horses). They may be either displayed in hand or ridden.

The Selle Français are used to display the 'airs above the ground.'

Press play button to watch horse get a shower. The water is warm.

These horses are treated with kid gloves. After their shower, they warm up under solar lights so that they don't catch cold.
In addition to Le Cadre Noir and their horses, this is also a teaching school. You must have achieved your Galop 7 before coming here, and the most you can acquire is Galop 9. (Designations of whether you are an instructor or competing at world or olympic levels.)
There are hundreds of horses boarded here and their riders come every day to practice and to learn.

All those horses produce a lot of manure, but the stalls are mucked in a very efficient way. There is a trough in the hallway between the stalls, and the chain-driven conveyor automatically brings the manure to these stations where the manure is then transported to mushroom farms in the area.
The grounds cover 300 hectares. It's huge! Besides the number of indoor arenas, there are also many outdoor arenas and practice areas. Some are used for dressage, and others are used for jumping.
We stayed for a national competition that took place that afternoon.

Press the play button to watch the horse jump competition.

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