Page:Notes on equitation and horse training.djvu/17

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The example of the Germans was followed by the French cavalry. At the end of Louis XV's reign, the Duke of Choiseul, minister of war, had the King sign a decree, in 1764, creating five cavalry schools—at Douai, Metz, Besancon, La Fleche, and Cambrai. A central school at Paris was to receive the best pupils from the elementary schools after they had passed through a fixed period of instruction. This decree of 1764 was never completely carried out.

In 1770 regimental riding schools were established in nearly all cavalry garrisons. Among these schools the most celebrated were those at St. Germain, Versailles, and Saumur. The one at Saumur, which had been organized in 1763 by the regiment of carbineers, was transformed in 1771 into a cavalry school to which every colonel was directed to send four officers and four noncommissioned officers annually.

Period from 1789 to 1815..— The Revolution suppressed all cavalry schools. However, in 1798, the school at Versailles was reestablished and took the name of National School of Instruction for Mounted Troops. In this new school the instructors did not attempt equitation, but simply endeavored to teach the horse to carry his rider and to travel at marching gaits.

In 1799 two new schools were created, one at Luneville and one at Angers, having the same object and the same organization. The Versailles school was the only one left in 1808, when an imperial decree replaced it by the school at St. Germain, intended to complete the instruction of cavalry second lieutenants after the course at St. Cyr.

Restoration.— Upon the return to power of the Bourbons the Versailles riding school was reestablished and placed under the direction of M. d'Abzac, who was assisted by Messrs. de Goursac and Charrette de Boisfoucaud.

The most noted riding masters of that school were the Viscount O'Hégerty, de Vendière, de Millange, and de Vaugiro. The Versailles school lasted until 1830.