This Friday 1uh April, in Saumur, the French Institute for Horses and Riding (IFCE) organizes a symposium within the framework of the French Presidency of the European Union on the theme: horse value in the world after, in France and in Europe. Opportunity to discuss problems to be solved by national horse breeding. Review with Jean-Roch Gayet, CEO of IFCE.
1. Bounce back after the Covid health crisis
“For equestrian centers, deprived of the public and income, it was a disaster. A horse, you have to take it with you, with a person who makes it walk and work a little,” explains Jean-Roch Gayet.
“Small and medium hippodromes have suffered even more than large ones. The races were held behind closed doors, people could not go and place a bet. With the recovery, there is a strong demand for sport horses run by equestrian centers and competitive riders. Everyone wants horses, their value is increasing. But slowly breeding species take time! »
2. Progress in animal welfare
“Thirty years ago, most horses were in a stall, on a leash. Today they are all in a box. We are working on the next step: open the passages between the two boxes so that the horses, which are pack animals, can find each other.
In the race, Ten years ago, at the finish line, spanking, that’s all! Today the whip is a small foam stick and the number of strokes is limited.
Dialogue remains difficult with the extreme animalist who thinks the horse is made to run alone through the countryside. The horse is an animal close to man. farm animal, working animal. »
Race horses, recreational sport horses, working horses: the French equine sector is very diverse. © West-France
3. Fill Jobs in the Recruiting Sector
“In the running and sports fields, there are jobs in tension: they train riders, instructors of equestrian centers, grooms. We have launched the #lechevalrecrute trade promotion campaign.
Studying in public or private agricultural education has many requirements and works well. There are trained people, competent. After all, only one in two young people continues to professionally engage in horse breeding. The occupations offered may not meet the level of remuneration that young people would like. »
4. Ensure the economic viability of the workhorse
“With fuel costing more and more, we may find it interesting to put horses to work. In a coniferous forest exploited by clear cuts, the use of a skidder is unprofitable. On the other hand, to pull quality wood in brittle or slanted environments, we find ourselves there. In viticulture on vines with little space between rows and on slopes, the horse is good for plowing or weeding without damaging the vines. Municipalities have successfully used horses for garbage collection or transporting school buses. There is a crazy market of walking donkeys in the mountains, but there are not enough donkeys. »
5. Accelerating genetic progress through genomics
“When we chip quality horses, we also take a blood sample at the same time to check the lineage. Today we will take this sample a little further and analyze the horse’s DNA. Through performance monitoring and feedback on the genetic quality of running and jumping horses, we can refine the horse genes of interest. When you choose a dam and sire with desirable characteristics, you increase your chances of getting a good foal. We get a generation. »
6. Support the emerging reseller market
“We use the horse to heal or send messages. It works, and it’s been proven in PTSD soldiers, disabled children, old people. In business, intermediary horses are used in management training. This is a growing market. »