Military equitation

The École militaire in Paris

The invention of the cavalry charge by Maurice de Saxe, who moved to serve France in 1724, was a complete change in how the horse was being used and the subtleties of dressage ceased to be the most important, as taught in the royal academies at the end of the 16th century. They were seriously harmed when Louis XV created the military school in Paris in 1756, to which were added the military school in La Flèche (1764-1776), then ten secondary military schools (1776-1793).

In 1756, when the École militaire started giving lessons, colonel d’Auvergne, appointed chief equerry until this school was closed in 1788, imposed a military equitation which had no other purpose than being practical.

He left aside the academic suppling exercises to adapt riding to the sole needs of the troops on horseback and changes the position of the military rider who had to ride for very long hours, which must remain natural and easy. His objective was to have a straight horse constantly.

A student of the Viscount of Abzac at the school in Versailles which closed in 1830, the count of Aure gave equitation a direction corresponding to the taste of the days, i.e. country riding. He invented the point of contact on the hand, which causes and keeps the gaits clear, develops speed and makes the horse “sharp”. He dealt with show jumping, hunting and racing. This simplification, aiming at developing quick results, was limited to those acts needed for the common use of the horse with, however, principles as guidelines – and not only the experience of the horse. It has been called " regularised instinctive equitation ".

In 1847, d’Aure took command of the indoor school in Saumur. In 1853, his Riding lesson, adopted officially, was taught at the Cavalry School and to the troops on horseback.

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Website of the National riding school (Documentation Centre)


Ancient collection