After the Napoleonic wars, French cavalry was decimated. In 1825 already, to reform the troops on horseback, a Cavalry school was created in Saumur, and its mission was to standardise the use of the warhorse. Then a body of instructors was organised, including grand equerries as well as civilians – from the Schools in Versailles, the Tuileries or Saint-Germain. Considered as the elite of the period, they trained cavalry officer cadets – originating the Cadre Noir in Saumur. Turning to the best equerries of the Ancien Régime [Former Regime] or the Empire was a guaranty for French traditional riding to have a continuity of direct oral transmission from master to disciple.
The Cadre Noir embodies a security for a renewed tradition, which it disseminates as widely as possible through its teaching.
However, at the beginning of the 20th century, when cavalry became mechanised, the issue arose as to the usefulness of the Cadre Noir within the army. The Cadre Noir then decided to be more dedicated to sport, a dimension which has become prominent from the 1970s. The French authorities then further structured riding in setting up a school whose aim is to train for the higher instructors’ diplomas and to train for high-level competitions. Under the Ministry in charge of sports, the National riding School was set up by decree in 1972. It relies on the expertise and the knowledge of the riders of the Cadre Noir, which, in becoming the teaching body of this school, is now entrusted with teaching riding as adapted to its time – military yesterday, sports today – and to train horses adequately. The Cadre Noir thus has moved from military to civilian statute. The Cadre Noir embodies then a security for a renewed tradition, which it disseminates as widely as possible through its teaching.
Website of the National riding school (Documentation Centre)