The French style is something indefinable between elegance and lightness. In horse riding, this style is expressed both in the way to practice riding, the design and quality of the French saddles.
French horse riding
In fact, it is a particular way of practicing horse riding (an imposed restoration of dressage can be compared to a score of music: only the interpretation varies). The main characteristic of this "French" way lies in a very particular discretion of the "aides" (hands, legs, "seat"), hence its qualifier of "riding lightness". Despite their extreme discretion, however, the aid must be sufficient to obtain a "calm, forward, straight" horse, but also vibrant, flexible and balanced. It is a matter of producing a tension in it, of "gathering" it, and of producing ample and brilliant movements, a relaxation of the fore-hand, a sign of a complete inhibition of resistance. The horse "yields," it consents to its own dominion. Small causes, great effects, in the absolute respect of the horse: thus could be briefly summarized the ideal of equestrian art "à la française". French horse riding is characterized by the "harmony of relations between man and horse", the man having to respect the body and mood of his partner, educated in "the absence of effects of force and constraints ". It integrates the knowledge of human and animal natures and the search for lightness, fluid and flexible movements.
French saddlers, among the best in the world
With Butet, the Parisian Delgrange, CWD, Antares and other big names of saddlers, it is the whole of the French upholstery that gains international prestige. Butet for example, equip riders of international rank like Nicolas Touzaint, in three days eventing, Sarah Chakil, in endurance, or Michael Whitaker in jumping. But also CWD, which equipped French riders with gold medals at the last Olympic Games.
Moreover, the custom-made saddle is an activity where France is world champion. Thus, Antares, for example, is renowned for its know-how and to create saddles at the same time with the measurements of the rider and his horse.
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