The Cadre noir infrastructures
Built in various phases since 1974, the school is established on two large sites, totaling 300 hectares (approximately 740 acres) :
- The Terrefort site, with an area of 140 hectares (approximately 345 acres), on which most of the buildings are based together with the infrastructures of the school
- The Verrie site is used for several international competitions, racing and student instruction.
Today the school has exceptional facilities at its disposal :
- 4 large stables capable of housing around 500 horses
- 7 indoor schools and 18 outdoor arenas of olympic standard with special surfaces
- About 50km (31 miles) of maintained tracks
- Hundreds of natural obstacles
- A veterinary clinic
- A farrier’s forge
- An amphitheatre
- A multimedia library
The site of Saumur in figures :
- 330 horses belonging to the school
- 400 to 500 horses accommodated in the stables
- 180 personnel and 1 500 students each year
- 60 000 visitors each year
- 15 000 horseshoes fitted each year
- 511 tonnes of flaked cereals and 900 tonnes of hay distributed annually
- 6 400 m3 of water each year
- 6 000 of manure each year
About 60 grooms look after the 330 horses belonging to the school on a daily basis. They are aided by a number of automated systems: distribution of water, feed and mucking out.
The flaked and cubed feeds drop into the mangers 3 to 4 times a day at set times. The feed requirements of each horse depend on his weight, hisage, the breed, the outside temperature, but above all his level of work.
The bedding produces 5 to 600 tonnes of manure each year, some of which goes to local mushrooms growers.
- The stables « Bouchet » et « Valat », each comprising 128 stables, were built between 1974 and 1976, and house respectively the competition and school horses
- The Decarpentry stables, finished in 1984, house the horses specializing in Dressage. The Prestige stables, built between 1982 and 1986, accommodate the horses who perform the airs above the ground and those who take part in the Cadre Noir performances and galas. It comprises 50 stables, the « Carrière d’honneur » (the sand arena measuring 70 x 50 metres), and the Grand Manege.
- 40 stables and an indoor school of Olympic standard are dedicated to the Centres of Excellence Pôle France and Young Riders, where national trainers and top level horses and riders prepare for important competitions.
The Grand Manege of the ecuyers
The Grand Manege is used for lessons, international competitions, training and Cadre Noir rehearsals and galas. 83 metres long by 32 metres wide with 1 500 terraced seats, these impressive dimensions, greater than those of an Olympic manège, makes for one of the largest indoor arenas in Europe.
- The surface, sand mixed with fibres, is watered daily. The fibre absorbs the water; the surface remains supple and eliminates the dust.
- The mirrors positioned across the total width allow the ecuyers to observe the way of going and movements of their horses and to correct aids and posture.
- The design is horse-friendly.
The veterinary clinic
The school has its own ultra modern veterinary clinic, equipped with an operating theatre, an x-ray and ultrasound scanning room, a treatment room, 10 pre and post operation stables, a quarantine block to isolate new horses on their arrival, or contagious horses.
Three veterinary surgeons, two nurses and a groom take care of day to day treatments and surgical operations. They guarantee the daily care of the horses, for their general well-being and their performance. The most common pathologies are tendonitis, lameness, colic, and very rarely, fractures. About thirty operations are carried out each year. The clinic is also available to external veterinary surgeons who wish to rent the facilities. Veterinary surgeons and nurses make a daily tour of the stables and each person involved (rider, groom, student) monitors each horse.
The clinic is also at the service of the Centre of Excellence Pôle France, for the veterinary care of the French team horses.
Five farriers work full-time at the school smithy. Here the horses are shod by the English method were the farrier works alone, whereas they work in pairs to shoe by the French method.
« No foot, no horse » is a proverb in the horse world, underlining the importance of good shoeing. At Saumur hooves are trimmed and shod every 4 to 6 weeks. Bought in large quantities, the shoe is heated and shaped to the foot of the horse, it is then attached with chamfered nails. The horse feels no pain because the shoe is nailed to the part of the hoof which has no nerves. It takes about one hour to shoe a horse, and about 80 horses are allocated to each farrier.
Veterinary surgeons and farriers work together to treat tendonitis and lameness. Orthopaedic shoeing is sometimes necessary to correct balance problems and to prevent certain lameness problems.
The main discipline of the school, eventing and its celebrated cross-country course take up a large part in the infrastructure.
The National Riding School is equipped with 50 kms (approximately 31 miles) of tracks with numerous cross country jumps used for training and competition, as well as for student training.
In addition, the school has a gallop track available for horses and riders; one part has a firm surface and the second part is softer, to aid in the preparation of the horses for competition.
Away from the Terrefort site (140 hectares, 345 acres) which houses the buildings, the National Riding School has a site at Verrie (160 hectares) which is used for specific international competitions such as the International Three-Day Event*** or the International Saumur Driving competition, as well as for student courses and training.