Jean-Francois is a former Ecuyer of the famous Cadre Noir located in Saumur, France. During the years 1980 through 1992 he performed with the Cadre Noir, became Professor of Instructors, an international judge, and trained all levels of horses including the airs above the ground. Click on Instruction to learn more about his life at Saumur
Mr. Favier in the reprise des Ecuyers
Dressage is the art of horsemanship and riding. The origins of which can be traced back to the fifth century BC., when the Greek general Xenophone wrote the first book on Equitation. During the sixteenth century, horse training was refined to an art in Italy and France,where it later spread thoughout the courts of Europe.
Corbette, watercolor by Kathy Dusser
In 1680 the French King Louis XIV, moved the royal stables to Versailles. It became a model for other courts. The art of horsemanship improved under the guidance of two great masters, Francois de la Gueriniere, the director of the school at the Tuileries, and Francois de Lubersac at Versailles.
Saumur , located in the Loire Valley, had a prestigious cavalry school. With the French Revolution, and disappearance of the school of Versailles, Saumur remained the only school to keep the French equestrian traditions alive.
The Royal Cavalry settled permanently in Saumur in 1825, and Cadre Noir was created. After the revolution there was a shortage of officers and Nobles. There was a need for trained ecuyers and they where found among the civilian nobles, some of whom had fled the country or managed to keep their heads.
Saumur on the Loire river
Mr. Favier performing with other Ecuyers
Mr. Cordier the first official Ecuyer en Chef, (Chief riding Master), created a new uniform. A civilian, he chose a black tailed coat with gold trim to distinguish his horsemen from the other military officers who wore blue. Sentiments were still running high among the old nobility.
Mr. Favier riding an Anglo-Arab on the left
Over the years Saumur has been graced with many exceptional horsemen. General L'Hotte, head of the Cadre Noir from 1864-1870, had the fortunate experience of training with and combining the philosophies of two great ecuyers of his time, Mr. Baucher (1796-1873), and the Comte d'Aure (1799-1863).
The high school work of Baucher which L'Hotte saved for his own personal use, and exterior work of Comte d'Aure, which he used to instruct the military gave him a varied background. A quote of General L'Hotte states " In place of playing with fear to obtain submission it's better to capture the horse's confidence to obtain his consent".
General Decarpentry, although he was never head of the Cadre Noir, is remembered and known for his writing and numerous contributions to the development of modern competition. A Federation Equestre Internationale judge, he later served as president in 1947. His classic book Academic Equitation has been translated into several languages. There have been countless contributions to the equestrian world from the horsemen of Saumur.
Mr. Favier performing the Capriole-in-hand
French National School of Equitation
Today the Cadre Noir is a part of the French National School of Equitation. Founded in 1972 the Ecole Nationale d'Equitation (ENE) is located at Terrefort and Verrie, about 5 miles from the ancient Manege and grounds of the Cavalry school of Saumur.