Joy? Yes, even if, now, I travel by
horse-drawn carriage only when I dream, I often "hear" a
vivacious and isochronal trot and I "sea", closed eyes,
a horse with pricked up its ears. The work of the driving horse
is easy and the horse likes it very much. I am spoken here, and
in my CD, about the light driving, with a four wheeled car, without
a weight on the horse’s back. "While the rider (who
now drives the horse) is observing the horse, he will be amazed
by the back of the harnessed horse. The back is free and not crushed
by an awkward rider. The horse’s back rises and falls freely
and the joints of its legs also move without any inhibition." (Jean-Yves
Le Guillou, L’équitation respiratoire et angulaire,
Lavauzelle, Paris, 1991). That is still true with the « heavy »,
except in exceptional circumstances.
I think about the work like a slave, in the mines, one thousand meters
down, in the permanent darkness, of courageous horses, pulling wagons
loaded with coal, sentenced to never "to come back up" toward
the light. But this thought, filled with emotion, is fleeting, and
I sea, almost always, an happy harnessed horse. And I find consolation,
for the other thought, the dark one, because I know the miners adored
their companion and they pampered him in order to make his life pleasant
as far as possible.
I chase away this thought and I sea myself as a schoolboy again,
when I was going to the elementary school "Anatole France",
in Le Havre. Then, I admired the powerful heavy horses, when they
joyfully trotted, drawing a wagon, loaded with the delivery man’s
barrels of beer, with a disconcerting ease, in the racket of the
tired with iron wheels. Then, I stopped, stared wide-eyed, dumbfounded
by this sight, full of strength, ease, elegance …
And when I think about my horseman’s past, I have
wonderfully memories of driving. In Canada, my drives
in the forest with my young lady, and, during winter, the silence
of the sleigh, only broken sometimes by a strident sound, when
a skate met with a small stone … The lively trot of my little
horse, Champion, accompanied with the tinkling of the small bells …
An I am happy because, without any vanity, I am satisfied with
my little book on driving, the title of witch being now, for the
version CD, L’attelage ou la joie du cheval, in english "Driving
or the Joy of the Horse" (it was, it is, the title, of the
introductory words). Why ? Because I had written with one stroke
of the pen a book that suits me, after seventeen years it still represents
my driver’s thought and the simple and safety education described,
still seems to me good. I am very happy, because, in riding, during
more than twenty years, I have known the dissatisfaction and I have
desperately searched for a greater welfare of the horse and a greater
welfare of the rider on the horse. Only about ten years ago, I found,
at last, the serenity with the final adjustment of the L’équitation
par l’auto-posture du cheval "Riding
by the self-posture of the horse".
I want to encourage the horse’s lovers to practice driving
and to give them two non-set out and non-exploited possibilities,
or so rarely!
• Interest to harness the young horse before to mount him.
• An unknown way for the driving: to save, gently, the very
perturbed saddle horse.
•Interest to harness the
young horse before to mount him
When you harness a young horse, you take advantage of the great
alertness, of the great intellectual abilities, of the great capacity
of analysis and memorization of a young living being. And without
the danger of a premature mounted work, when the skeleton and tendons
have not achieved their development. The light driving, with only
one person in the carriage, in the prime of youth, doesn’t
present any danger.
And the initiation into driving, begins with … a
work in hand. And you know, this work in hand allows whether the apprenticeship
of the exercises or their improving.
And when arrives the time to mount him, you have a horse not afraid
by the saddle or the girth, he his accustomed to the harness. And,
concerning the horse’s mental development, he his accustomed
not to work, but to learn … Playing with his driver. And the
driver will become with him a rider. And he already knows to walk,
to trot, with the voice, to stop with the voice or with the hand,
to move back … Although his work was light, he got strength
and that permits to ovoid the quick exhaustion of the young horse
when he is directly mounted.
And to have both, a saddle horse and a draft horse, is a source
of great satisfaction and of tremendous pleasure.
An unknown way for the driving: to save, gently, the very
perturbed saddle horse.
The horse is a mild, gentle, charming, sociable, affectionate animal.
When a horse comes depressive and dangerous, the fault always lies
with the man.
We have to save him, it’s worth it! I specify, he has a nervous
breakdown and the fault doesn’t lies with him, he merits to
The rehabilitation of the perturbed saddle horse
The basic directives are simple:
Change the thoughts of the horse, getting
him to do "something else".
Stop to mount the horse (needless to crash
The culprit, or culprits, have to stop
to take charge of the horse (until their own rehabilitation,
if the latter is … possible).
To go back to the basic work with a lot of patience, of affection
("ask few, reward very much"), with an unfailing logic.
The ideal thing for the rehabilitation? Driving.
In that case, driving accomplishes miracles: driving radically
changes the frame of mind of a horse being in despair: work in
hand with the long reins, harnessing. Resumption of the mounted
I hold up as an example a very competent and very likeable driver,
Mr Jean Dillée, who very often did this rehabilitation, author
of Apprendre à mener, attelage à un et en paire (Prest
Edit, Versailles, 1985) :
"In the same way, I took in hand a mare
having the reputation to be non-mountable. I harnessed her a short
while, without any problem, except a lack of confidence in the
mouth: work with the long reins, harnessing alone and by pair.
Mounted afterwards she was well-behaved, easy-going, perfectly
balancing herself and understanding all asked requests. With her
Dominique d’Esmée was champion of France (in "Dressage",
information of JYLG): she was "Reims".
More, I can tell you about "Denis de Vauplain",
exported, great winner in jumping; about "Condor",
in three days event, about "Fariman", an Arabian purebred,
he was training at Maison-Laffite, and selected for the Olympic
Games of Mexico.
To this list, I add "Nigeria", several
times abandoned by big names, and he was the best French horse
in three days event, mounted by Daniel Chevalier. And "Uri",
specialist of the refusal, he wined the "puissance" (test
jumping) at Le Touquet with a jump of 2.26 meters. The next day,
he wined the "Grand prix", mounted by André Chénu.
Finaly, I evoque the career of "Derby" (sir "Uriel"),
very difficult to mount. He learned very well to be drived, used
as teacher harnessed in pair during the winter when he was 3/4
years old … He covered himself in glory, mounted by Manuel
Henry, jumping walls of more of two meters …