France, collection privée. Photo Sylvain Halgand

Training break. France, private collection.

The break was used for the daily exercise of the horses and especially for training young horses: their energy and inexperience would otherwise have endangered any other type of coach, which could not resist any possible shocks or possible overturning. The break was hitched to two horses: the teacher, trained and sure, and the student, the young horse to be trained.
Its French name, squelette, is due to the lack of any body part and its bare, fully apparent structure, as if it were a skeleton. It is reduced to the essential elements — a strong axial shaft connecting wooden, sturdy axles and supporting a narrow platform where the training break's assistants stand, from which they can jump quickly to restrain the horses if needed and to which they can easily return up the large steps.
In the national stud farms, which still have 41 of them, the training breaks are used to train either thoroughbreds or draft horses.