Saturday, December 01, 2012

A Proud Frenchman

I couldn't resist this short article by Georges Labouche from Muriel Coativy's website. Muriel ran for deputy in the June 2012 legislative election representing the city of Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, near Lyon.

The author writes about his feeling of pride when he attended the Equita' Lyon, an annual horse show with spectacles, jumping, dressage, and competitions of all sorts, including, interestingly, an Appaloosa competition, all of which took place between October 31 and November 4. Those interested can browse through the Equit' website.

As a former horseman, still riding at 84, what a thrill it was for me to witness the admirable spectacle given on the evening of November 3 at the Eurexpo convention center! However, having already attended so many equestrian events given by the Cadre Noir, the Garde Républicaine, Bartabas and many other teams of haute école (highly advanced dressage), I could not help but applaud warmly the infinitely varied performances of dressage, and the reconstructions of historical scenes, enhanced by sound and light shows of a high technical quality. I felt admiration too for these young horsemen and horsewomen, enthusiastic and competent, their horses following orders after years of patience, tenacity and humility. Finally, what pride I felt during the international jumping competition at seeing two French horsemen win the cup. Hearing the Marseillaise, standing among thousands of spectators, I thought of our beloved France, too often humiliated in other circumstances. Then these words inscribed in large letters on the riding school of the École Militaire in Paris came to mind:

"The profound civilization of a people is revealed quite naturally in its equestrian culture." (Pius XI)

The three proper names mentioned above are briefly defined as follows:

Cadre Noir is an elite corps of French riders and instructors.

The Garde Républicaine is part of the gendarmerie and provides security and guards of honor for elected officials and dignitaries. It includes a skilled cavalry regiment - the last cavalry unit of the French army.

Bartabas is an exceptionally skilled and highly esteemed French horse trainer. He founded the Academy of Equestrian Arts in the Grande Écurie of the Palace of Versailles.

Below, Riders in the Rain by Degas

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man" (Winston Churchill)

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