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La Musée Vivant du Cheval Near Paris

La Musée Vivant du Cheval, which is also known as The Living Horse museum was founded in 1982 and has become an internationally acknowledged museum of horses.

It was back in 1982 that a horse rider and instructor called Yves Bienaimé decided to create the Living Horse Museum inside the Grand Stables at the Chateau de Chantilly and since its creation, the museum has supported many artists and helped the public to discover the world of horses.

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La Musée Vivant du Cheval Near Paris

The 31 rooms of the La Musée Vivant du Cheval span over a surface of 4,000 square metres and have an 800 metre track and with over 150,000 visitors each year, this museum is one of the most visited equestrian places in the world and a must-see for all horse lovers. 

The success of The Living Horse museum is due to many things including the cultural and educational values it provides to its visitors and to be knowledgeable about horses, it is necessary to observe them.

So from the entrance of the museum, you will see around thirty horses of different breeds and then every day, the horses follow a specific routine, and three times a day, they take part in demonstrations with the rider dressed in the costume.

The Museum Rooms and Horses

The museum is designed to provide the visitor with information and enrich their understanding of horses, their structure and how different breeds vary, but also to find out about the many different equestrian disciplines that are practised throughout the world.

The horses of different breeds such as Spanish, Friesian, Thoroughbred and Shetland welcome visitors in the stables and they can be seen throughout the day being led around or mounted inside the Dome or in the Cour des Chenils, which is the Kennels' Courtyard, that has been transformed into an outdoor training area.

The Andalucian and Portuguese horses are selected to resemble those horses that were ridden by the princes in the 18th century, when these stables were first built.

But you can also get to see Dilraj, which is the first and only Marwari horse in Europe that was originally born in Dunlod, India and he is descended from the pure-bred Indian breed, the Kathiawari.

Now most of you will know that when a horse is afraid, it may react suddenly and this is why you are requested to be calm with no shouting or running when in the stables or near the horses, as you could cause the horses distress and harm, plus you are also not allowed to touch or feed the museum horses.

The Horse Riders

Training to become a professional horse rider at The Living Horse Museum is enriching and nothing short of extraordinary and what the horse riders learn at the Grand Stables is unique in getting them prepared to become future riding instructors themselves.

To even be accepted into this prestigious setting at La Musée Vivant du Cheval, the applicants wishing to join must have an elementary knowledge in the art of dressage, an elegant figure and a nice position on the horse, as one of their tasks would be to take part in the shows.

But the shows are only one small part of the daily routine here, as the riders are in permanent contact with the horses and each person is responsible for the well being of their own horse.   The riders must learn how to live with the horses and every morning they have to groom them, in the same way as the French Republican Guard do, and then the horses are given their first warm up exercises.

The horses have two daily outings, which consist of a relaxing morning walk, and either an exercise session or a physical (and mental) preparation session and these are usually carried out on the wonderful paths of the Chantilly forest that surround the Chateau de Chantilly and the Grand Stables.  The riders have to learn all of these things before they can even contemplate getting involved in the shows to present to the public.

The Shows

It has now become a tradition that on the first Sunday of every month, the riders and their horses provide a fantastic equestrian show, which is fulfilled with gorgeous costumes, music and lights.

Every summer at La Musée Vivant du Cheval there is a completely new theme for a show that features exhilarating equestrian performances, combining the skills and relationships between the horses and riders, and lasts for a packed 45 minutes.

Also every year in December and for the past eighteen years, The Living Horse Museum shares this festive season with a Christmas spectacle for all their visitors, one they will not forget.

Although some of the shows have to be paid for, there are free shows as well, or rather, we would call them demonstrations and you can even ask questions afterwards.  Plus there is also the opportunity of booking for a dinner and show as well.

From the 1st November through to 31st March on all other weekdays it is open from 2pm to 5pm and from 10.30am to 5.30pm at weekends.

In the months classified as summertime from the 1st April through to 31st October the museum is open on weekdays from 10.30am to 5.30pm, yet is still closed on a Tuesday.  However on a weekend and during national holidays it opens from 10.30am through to 6pm.

But if you do not manage to get to see this incredible equestrian show, then you could also opt to see one at the Chateau de Versailles called the Académie du Spectacle Equestre at their Grand Stables and this is also a training centre and has a museum.

The free shows or demonstrations use the Andalucian and Portuguese horses and are held every day except on Tuesdays at 3.30pm and another at either 5.15pm or 5.30pm depending upon the time of year.

Also on a Saturday and during the French Autumn, February and the Easter Holidays there are Shetland ponies that provide a 25 minute show. 

The Chateau de Chantilly and La Musée Vivant du Cheval is situated around 50 kilometres from Paris and you would need to take the Autoroute du Nord or A1 from Paris and take the Chantilly exit.

Address & Contact Details:

Château de Chantilly
La Musée Vivant du Cheval
BP 70243

Telephone: 3 44 27 31 80

For Group Information and Reservations Telephone: 3 44 27 31 80

La Musée Vivant du Cheval

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