Category Archives: Horse Related

Musee Vivant du Cheval

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

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Stud Work, TBs

Joys of the Thoroughbred Industry.

Planning on working with horses? Want to run your own property? Experience wise, you couldn’t go past spending a season or three in the stud side of the racing industry. Pay wise – Thoroughbreds are your best bet for a half decent income when it comes to working with horses.

For the past twelve months I have been out in the ‘real world’, working – finally! Before coming to Ireland to study, I spent my days in a small town called Euroa, in Victoria, Australia that seems to house about a dozen studs – I worked at three over this duration.

As someone who wants to breed thoroughbreds for a hobby and run my own horse property, working on a stud is the best way to go about gaining experience. During the breeding season (August – December in Australia) you get practise at handling mares for service, handling stallions, horses for the farrier, treatments for horses (oral and injections), bandaging, foaling down mares, feeding horses and general stable work.

As the year comes to an end, it moves on to the yearling season where practice in preparing horses for sales, grooming, exercising, parading for clients and eventually taking the gorgeous animals through the sale ring (some, for prices in the hundreds of thousands!) is gained.

From December through to April yearlings are prepared and every eight weeks, a new group is brought in and it starts again, introducing them to being brushed, having rugs on, leading correctly.

Following this, it is time for the ‘babies’ to be weaned, and mothers are taken away and they start life without the ‘milk bar’; slowly getting used to people and being handled, having feet trimmed and sometimes, prepared for sales at the young age of five or six months.

Excluding the horse’s actual racing career, working on a stud gives you the chance to see the birth of a foal, it’s first year or so of life and upon retiring to stud, the progeny it then goes on to produce. What more could you ask for?

“Correction does much for the horse, but encouragement does more.” – My ‘home’ and work from August till the end of each year. – Another stud I worked at in Euroa.

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Volunteer With Horses

So you know the cheapest way to get extra horse experience? Can’t quite remember how I found out about it, but I’ll almost do anything to have myself working with horses. So, when I found out about Riding for the Disabled and the fact that they are always looking for volunteers, I thought – why not?

One Saturday every two weeks for about a two year period, I joined up with other volunteers at Riding for the Disabled of Australia in Moorabbin, Victoria to help out with grooming ponies, feeding, tacking up and leading young riders around an arena, over and around obstacles and on ‘trail rides’.

RDA is really a great cause and what better way to get extra hands on with horses, and be able to help out at the same time? An added bonus if you’d like, this would look excellent on the resume but just helping out was reward enough.

As someone who wants to eventually run my own agistment property and riding school, it was a great eye opener and an invaluable experience.

“In riding a horse we borrow freedom” – Helen Thompson

Why not help someone else to a chance at freedom?