Instructing the king on the exercise of horse riding, by Antoine de Pluvinel. Paris, 1625.

Under the Ancien Régime, equitation was a school of life reserved for the nobility: the king had to know how to ride a horse. European royal courts also enjoyed majestic stables. From the 16th century onwards, academic equitation made its way into France under the leadership of two riders returning from Italy: Antoine de Pluvinel and Salomon de la Broue. They originated the equitation in the French tradition, today inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This learned equitation sought to train the animal with particular regard to prestige and efficiency. On a battlefield, a well-trained horse was a better ally. At the same time, this training stood out from purely military riding due to its aesthetics. In fact, mastering the horse proved an excellent tool for distinction for the nobility. Riding instructor of the young Dauphin Louis XIII, Antoine de Pluvinel would thus open the first Equestrian Academy in Paris in 1594, reserved for the young nobility.


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