After two years of dating…
After two years of missed appointments due to Covid-19, Équitaine is like the sector: back in business. “The equine sector, well supported, withstood the crisis; the establishments have found and developed their clientele and the horses are selling like never before”, assures Pierre-Yves Pose, president of the Conseil des equidés de Nouvelle-Aquitaine.
The third or fourth sport of the country
In New Aquitaine, the sector lists 5,700 farms, 40,000 horses. It mobilizes 7,160 employees and has 63,500 licensed riders in the 1,050 affiliated establishments. “It is little known, but with 650,000 licensees in France, we are the third or fourth most practiced sports in the country”, underlines Cloé Blanchard, event manager for the New Aquitaine Equine Council.
A showcase for a resilient sector, Équitaine 2022 looks like an inventory of the equine heritage of France in general and the region in particular. “This edition puts a little less emphasis on sporting practice, but much more on the relationship between agriculture and the draft horse, the animal and the local heritage with the highlighting of territory horses, donkeys and mules. We have managed the feat of bringing together the nine French draft horse races here, some of which are threatened,” says Cloé Blanchard.
Also noteworthy, thanks to the massive presence of local horse breeders, the presence of all the races specific to the New Aquitaine region, starting with the Landes ponies, the Basque Pottoks, the donkey and the mule of the Pyrenees, in passing through the donkey of Poitou.
“No need to climb to be close”
So many breeds and species that let themselves be approached, petted and put on a show during the parades, or carousels that punctuate the event several times a day, with surprising novelties. Indeed, the 2022 edition highlights, through demonstrations and presentations, lesser known equine disciplines: harnessed or mounted handling, jumping, aerobatics or horse ball…
“We present disciplines such as ethology – the science of animal behavior – saddlery – technique of adapting equipment to the morphology of each horse – or evenEquifeel, course made by a rider, on foot, and his horse. This new discipline underlines the fact that we don’t need to get on the horse to be close to it”, notes Cloé Blanchard.
In short, Équitaine is also an opportunity to discover how man can become a horse’s best friend.