in Du, an enthusiast promotes animal traction and wants it to be recognized as a renewable energy source.

For Jean-Louis Kannel it is obvious that working on the ground with the horses of Comtois. Since 1998, he has been offering training and care for these animals, emblematic of Franche-Comté.

On the day of my meeting with Jean-Louis Kannel in Villers-sous-Chalamont (Doubs), I had to be early. Because it was at dawn, it was at dawn, a strong guy in a hat screwed on his head made an appointment for me.

Comtois horses working on the ground, nature and the rising sun are one. This is harmony. To appreciate the work with Comtois means to show this harmony in its entirety, including the sun.

Jean-Louis Kannel, Founder of the European Center for Animal Traction Resources and Research

Man has always lived in contact with horses, and for good reason. Located in Villers-sous-Chalamont, next to Leviers, it is located in the heart of a land almost entirely devoted to Comtois.

In 1998, Jean-Louis created the European Center for Draft Animal Resources and Research CERRTA. A structure that offers courses in towing, hitching, and even blacksmithing.

But what I am especially interested in this day is learning to be a leader.

The leader is the one who will guide the horse with his voice and guides (long reindeer) to lead the horse where he wants and with precision in tilling the land. A mission that may seem simple, but one that requires a real connection between man and animal.

Passionate about horses since childhood, I can’t resist asking Jean-Louis to order horses. Who, like a good teacher, does not hesitate a second.

Animal pulling is not about reins to lead the horse, but rather about guides. Take them in your hands, carefully and accompany with your voice, you will see, it is not so difficult.

I timidly follow the instructions of the owner. Not without being impressed by the neatness of the imposing Comtois walking in front of me. However, I do not lose my goal: to move a long spruce trunk along a chaotic path dotted with various obstacles.

By inverted cones, I measure the importance of softness and delicacy that this majestic animal should have. I am also aware of the need to get in a good position outside of the turn made by the horse and the importance of lead. Driving a draft horse cannot be improvised, it is learned with great motivation, passion and patience.

When drifting in the forest, the horse should not touch any obstacle, so as not to get hurt, and the drifted wood should not rub the standing trees, so as not to damage them. The whole interest is in preserving nature, respecting it and not spoiling it.

In addition to the training and know-how of the “driver”, the dispositions of the Comtois horse are important. We must not forget that if the endangered breed was saved, it was thanks to the meat industry. Therefore, the selection of samples with the greatest predisposition is very important.

Even if the information does not encourage our horses, which have become a symbol of the region, this is a reality: “Today, almost 80% of contua horses go to the butcher. This is the price to pay to perpetuate the breed and keep seeing them frolic in our grasslands.” Jean-Louis explains to me. Therefore, in order to optimize their work efficiency, breeders select during reproduction.

There are breeding horses, heavier, larger, for slaughter, and we select horses that are prettier, more agile for work.

After coffee drunk in the middle of the meadow, in the middle of Comtois on the loose, it’s time to part. It’s amazing how time flies, in communication with enthusiasts, in the bosom of nature, without stress and next to horses who regularly come to ask you for affection. It is as if time has stopped, or even turned back a little, to the days of horses and carriages on our streets.

Without nostalgia for the past and now lost time, the sweet militant Confederate peasant Peizan remains objective. He knows that it is impossible to return to the past using only horses to till the land, but this does not stop him from dreaming. In the near future, he would just like “This animal energy is fully considered renewable energy and this agriculture is fully supported to save the world.”

The full coverage will open on France3 Bourgogne-Franche-Comté on Saturday, March 19th at 11:25am on “En Terre Animale” and then reruns on throughout the year.

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