The school airs or high airs, demonstrated by the riders of the National Riding School Mathieu Vanlandeghem, Ludovic Delprat and Vincent Pottier (cabriole, courbette, croupade)

In former equitation as practised from the 16th to the beginning of the 19th century, the training of horses could follow a progression in four stages, each being independent and forming the basis of the next one: breaking in (getting the horse used to the saddle and the rider), simple schooling (outdoor riding or war equitation) for the war horse, double schooling for the high school horse and, as a last resort, schooling through high up (work comprising school jumps).

This latter form of exercises was still performed in the four great European schools, the French National Riding School, the Vienna Spanish School, the Andalusian Royal School of Equestrian Art and the Portuguese school of equestrian art.

The words "school jumps" or high airs mean, as opposed to the low airs or near the ground, the movements during which the horse brings its forehand up above the ground or simultaneously its forehand and backhand.

Such exercises are already mentioned in riding treatises dating from the Italian Renaissance. Trained in the Italian academies, the French equerries brought back the practice which has survived until today, first in the school of the Louvre, then, from 1682 until 1830, in the school in Versailles. Since 1825, the Cadre Noir in Saumur has been continuing this tradition.

It presents three school jumps – cabriole, courbette and croupade; the two latter ones have developed in the 19th century and are now presented in a specific form which makes the school’s reputation.

© Cadre Noir de Saumur