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Leisure Qualifications

What are they?

Leisure qualifications are tests designed to highlight the qualities required of a horse,  pony, donkey or mule for leisure purposes whether for outdoor riding or amateur sport. These provide guidance to purchasers and users who wish to ride with confidence in comfort, pleasure and safety.

The idea was born in 1988 and was launched in 1993 under the leadership of the French National Stud which could no longer ignore the vast majority of recreational riders.

But what is a leisure horse? It is a horse who is not a competition horse or a work horse. It is a horse for riding, trekking, amateur competition, western riding, or for riders in clubs.

The objective of the leisure horse events is to provide horses "adapted to most riders activities." In appearance, the formula may seem contradictory: a horse may not be suitable for all types of riding, even if they were performing as an amateur. In reality, the "label" primarily seeks to certify that the horse has a good caracter and disposition and that it is a good basis for further training in a chosen direction.

Leisure qualifications are open to all horses from 1 to 18 years of age. There are 1 and 2 year old classes in hand, ridden classes and driving classes from 3 years onwards.

In ridden classes the horse, by his behavior, his availability, his gaits and his appearance make you want to ride him, he should provide pleasure to his rider. The three principale things judges are looking for are :

The CHARACTER : paramount, we look for a confident animal, good temperament, available and cooperative with which the rider is safe.

The GAIT: must suitable for leisure use, forward going (especially at a walk), cadenced and balanced.

The MODEL: most important are the back, neck, legs. The harmony of the whole is taken into account without being dominant.


How does it work?

The test is in 4 parts with same horse/rider.

1) a series of 12 behavioral tests.

2) a speed control from canter to stop.

3) riding in a group at walk, trot and canter.

4) presentation in hand (unsaddled) before the jury to judge the model.


Composed of 6 obligatory tests :

- load and unload from a trailor

- giving feet

- mounting

- a visual surprise. Exemple : riding next to a washing line, floating banners, cross-beam with strips, flags, opening an umberella, goats park, sheep, pigs, goat tied to a stake, muck spreader, car, pannel, tarpaulin, flashing beacon, someone with wheelbarrow coming out from behind a hedge, opening a map)

- crossing a ford if there is one (can be replaced by a tarpaulin if necessary)

- crossing an obstacle in hand

The 6 other tests can be picked out of the next exemples: downhill slope, uphill slope, sharp descent, low branches, carpet on the ground, wood stacks, plastic tunnel, tyres flat on ground, bascule bridge with sides, wooden bridge, opening a gate, corridor of bales of straw, carry a bucket between two tables, tangled branches(mikado), maneuverability in S, back between two poles on ground, bell, whistle, drum, running tractor accelerating, etc..

The course is structured so that there are two tests assessing the franchise, 2 tests assessing the submission and security, 2 tests assessing control and maneuverability.

Each test is noted from 0 to 5.

An animal hesitating on it's first try can be confident on the second try. It will be favorably judged for it's learning ability.

At three refusels the test is noted ZERO.

Depending on the number of points gained the couple will can obtain the category Elite, Selection or Qualified. They cannot become Elite if they have a 0 note in one of the first three obligaory tests. If the horse is dangerous he will not be allowed to take part.

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Winning horses

Name of horse
Fayrio Cream Dream Fayrio Creme Horse Farm Elite Loisir
Karamelle Blue Eye Farm Elite  Loisir
Lola du Grand Briou Blue Eye Farm Elite  Loisir
Malice Blue Eye Farm Elite  Loisir
Umina du Turel   Elite  Loisir
Aulhane des Dieux   Selection Loisir
Hidalgo Elevage Ien'A Selection Loisir
Jongola Blue Eye Farm Selection Loisir
Soraya des Dieux   Selection Loisir
Alaska Graf Spee   Qualified Loisir
Alcazar del Sol Virginie Garrigue Qualified Loisir
Horus Fun Ronald Braquet Qualified Loisir
Moonlight Melba Blue Eye Farm Qualified Loisir
Neron de la Jasse   Qualified Loisir
Shawa Elevage Equi'Rev Qualified Loisir
Turquesa du Turel   Qualified Loisir
Usayn Silver Fame Virginie Fayaud Qualified Loisir


Association Française du Cheval Crème, 669 Chemin de Saint Martial, 82000 Montauban.


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