The Interactions between Equestrian Activities and Social Change in France Since the 1960s

By Catherine Tourre-Malen

During the last forty years, equestrian activities experienced major shifts in France: massification, feminization, juvenilization of the cavalier population, emergence of leisure equitation, mergers of institutions, diversification of practices, development of riding schools, growth of the private sector, revolution in the methods of teaching, and the spread of animalian sensibilities. Three of them are particularly significant and more so very strongly imbricated in one another: the feminization of sports and equestrian leisure activities, the juvenilization of the cavalier population and the commodification of equitation. These changes which reflect the evolution of the French society, underline the porosity of the equestrian milieu. They constitute an excellent indicator of wider social and cultural transformations in French society from the 1960s onward.

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