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