So, I think I’ve found the horse lovers mecca which is annoying, as I wanted to set up the equine owners nirvana on my property. The Living Horse Museum has given me a few ideas though!
So it’ll cost you around 17,50 euros for a visit to the Living Horse Museum, giving you access to the 30+ rooms of the museum; a small dressage show/lesson (half an hour) and entertainment show (2006 show is called Swing Horse and is around 45 mins long). It is possible to pay more and also see the Chantilly Castle or less and not see the second horse performance.
‘In 1719, Louis-Henri de Bourbon, the 7th Prince de Conde, commissioned the architect Jean Aubert to design and build stables befitting his rank. Legend has it that the Prince believed in metempsychosis and thought he would be reincarnated as a horse after his death…’
In 1982 under the ownership of Yves Bienaime, founded with his wife Annabel, the Musee Vivant du Cheval, designing and equipping it at their own expense. Today the 31 rooms each focus on something different, but all horse related. There are texts, paintings, models, toys and sculptures covering breeds of the horse, disciplines, quotes, systems (digestive, respiratory, circulatory, muscular skeletal and reproductive), tack and accessories, figurines of the horse in history and more.
The end room has over 30 life size models of horses done up under different disciplines – flat racer, steeplechase, trotter, side saddle, dressage, show jumping, eventer, cossack rider, matador, cowboy, carriage, indian and many more.
Now, it couldn’t well be a living horse museum without some real four legged animals. These perform in the show being under saddle, on a lead or long reined. They are also tied in open stalls for all to see. Breeds include the Adulusian, Friesian, Shetland, Ass, Miniature Shetland, Arab and many more.
And I thought I loved horses – this place is for the obsessee, by the obsessed. To top it off, they have an indoor working area, arena outside, kennels for the hundreds that were kept when the prince had the stables full and many hounds to accompany the horses on hunts. And, its right next door to Chantilly racecourse. Can’t beat it!
“In the fray I risk my life to protect him, just as in the night he watches over me and protects me.” – Al Monzir et bon cheval Al Arime