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Horse, Tourism and Leisure - University of Angers

Horse, Tourism and Leisure

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Call for papers International Symposium

International symposium : « Horse, Tourisms and Leisures : transformations, permanences and ruptures. » - 9, 10, 11 may 2012 - Saumur

The objective of this symposium is to propose debates at international scales between researchers specialized in the different spheres of Social and Human Sciences, and the public and private actors concerned by the development of the equestrian tourisms and leisures. The intention consist to identify the stakes and challenge for the local development, but also to allow a better knowledge and understanding of the practises and the followers, that require an analyse of the jobs and professional formations evolution, in the field of horseback riding.
In this context, the goal of the symposium is to create a place of debates and exchanges between the Academics, the political actors, and the representatives of institutions, associations and private companies in the equestrian field, all around the world, that would be perpetuated thanks to the recurring organization of the symposium, every four years.


In the context of the leisures diffusion, the increase of the equestrian practices is a fact. In France, the number of riders registered in the Equestrian French Federation had been multiplied by almost five those last twenty-five years, from 1984 (145.071) to 2010 (687.334). The importance of leisure among them is predominant : in 2010, only 10,5% of those licences concern the competition, which means that almost 90% of the riders practise equestrian activities as leisure, in all their diversity. If the profile of the riders seems to be well known (80% of women and 65% of young people of 17 years old or less, in France in 2010), the specificities of the practices must be more analysed, because of the great variety of activities covered by horseback riding, from classical practices, such as dressage, jumping, event, races, to vaulting, harnessing, polo, horse-ball, ski-joering, pony games, endurance, trekking, western riding, cross country riding, equestrian tourism… Besides, all the riders are not referenced, especially the ones who practise cross country riding or equestrian tourism, since those activities don’t require to ride in a club nor to be registered in a federation.
Beyond the ascertainment of the horseback riding development and of the diversification of the modalities of uses, the knowledge and understanding of the reasons and ways of practise, but also of the representations of horse and riding, still constitute a scientific sphere little explored. Indeed, it would be interesting to study the diffusion of those riding offers and practises all around the world. Will we observe some similarities, some phenomena of models transfers ? Or, on the contrary, the persistence of original models of access to the practises, in function of the regional and national cultural specificities ?
We’ll also analyse the evolution of the jobs in the field of equestrian activities and the adaptation of the formation of the professionals, more especially the teachers, the instructors. Does the evolution of the training of the professionals follow or provoke the changes of the riding practises, which progress from military and upper class uses, toward a leisure open to different social categories ? We’ll study more specifically the changes and permanencies observed into the education given in the horseback riding school in the world, by comparing in particular the situation in the countries endowed with a national riding school (France, Spain, Austria…), the ones that are in the process of having one (like Morocco) and the ones without it.
At last, we aspire after identify the social and economic effects of the increase of the horseback riding practises on the territories, by studying the destinations that have traditionally mobilised the representations and activities around horses for a long time (Deauville, La Baule, Saumur, Badminton, Cirencester, Lexington, Jerez, Rabat…), as the ones who are just starting using them. In this context, we’ll analyse the influence of the public policies and private initiatives, by analysing the conditions of their mobilisation and their respective dynamics –the horseback riding being here understanding like a territorial resources. How, in this perspective, the social and economical characteristics of the territories combine with the historicity of the local horseback riding practices and representations, all around the world ?

Three axes of analyse are proposed :

  1. The actors and followers of equestrian tourisms and leisures (image of horse and equestrian practises)
  2. Evolution of the professional formations and the jobs, in the sphere of education and guiding in the equestrian leisures
  3. Horse and equestrian practises : actors of social and economical development for the territories ?

Sylvine Chevalier
sylvine.chevalier @ univ-angers.fr

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