At the Terre d’Élevage Calvados festival in Vire Normandie, western riding demonstrations held in Val d’Arry

Éric Voisin (right) watches over his mount’s herd. ©DR

The Terre d’Élevage Calvados festival is about to return, after two years of cancellation due to the health crisis.

The three famous departmental competitions that distinguish the most beautiful cows Limousine, Aquitaine blondeand dutch cousin will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2022 from 10:00 am at the Robert-Auvray racecourse in Vire Normandie (calvados).

So far, nothing unusual… If we omit the great novelty of this 16th edition, which has been planned for “several years”: a demonstration of western riding and cattle sorting.

An exotic sounding name, though well anchored in France, as “in the Camargue, in the Pyrenees”, and in Normandy, of course.

“It’s working riding. It is not a spectacle, but a technical, serious and effective practice that allows managing a herd or quickly recovering a runaway cow. Where some use dogs or quads, we use horses, which are excellent workers for handling livestock over large areas. »

Éric Voisin, President of ANET (Normandy Association for Working Equitation)

specific horses

It is he who, from his estate in Le Locheur (Val d’Arry, Calvados), was responsible for creating the so-called ” horses sheep“.

Of American origin, these “quarter horses” have been selected for generations for “their versatilitymatching a character cold, calmalso with reactivity » in the case of recalcitrant cattle. “Cows are less used to horses than people and are therefore more submissive to them. There is a real dominant-dominated relationship between them, which makes things easier”, develops Éric Voisin.

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Horses are very effective at quickly catching up to a recalcitrant cow. ©DR

Goods he makes available to his neighbor Philippe Marie and his farm in Val Hébert if necessary. His heifers are entrusted to him every spring so that he can “tame them by working on horseback”.

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a gain of Time it’s from guys insignificant, which led Lénaïc Le Gal, associated with Val Hébert and member of the organizing committee of the Terre d’Élevage festival, to invite the creator to a demonstration able to attract both farmers and the general public.

big first

It will be a great debut for the president of ANET, who foresees this meeting with optimism. “I was already used to going to the festival as a curious person. It’s a bit like a departmental cattle show. And then, with our demonstration, it will be possible to associate horses and cattle. It’s a great way to highlight the heritage Norman. »

But also its association, created in 2019, and which had up to one about twenty of members. “The goal was to create several pairs of knights capable of helping the creators. But it is hard; currently only four or five are capable of it. »

That won’t stop Éric Voisin and his horses from impressing the audience at the Virois hippodrome. Two demonstrations are scheduled for Saturday, June 11, 2022: at 11:30 am and 3 pm.

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