In Situ : Revue de Patrimoines (Jul 2012)

Les races de chevaux en France au XVIIIe siècle. Et les idées relatives à leur amélioration

  • Bernard Denis

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18


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At first a broad outline of the history of the horse and the Administration of Stud Farms is given until the end of the Ancien Regime. After admitting that horse breeds can prudently be mentioned in the XVIIIth century, the author gives an account devoted to french breeds strictly speaking, which have hardly attracted the attention of the scientists and experts in hippology of the time. The only breeds that counted were the foreign breeds which, by being crossbred, were supposed to improve the indigenous populations. Views relating to the improvement of horse breeds are then tackled. Though they appear greatly questionable compared to current knowledge the pieces of advice given by scientists and practitioners are marked with some commonsense, which could have led to good results. Such was not the case and it was before all because France was backward as regards agronomy. It will not become obvious before the XIXth century and a new crossbreeding period.