The French national archives are a treasure trove containing a wealth of information on the world of the horse. The importance of these collections was first highlighted in the Guide des sources de l’histoire du cheval dans les archives publiques françaises [Guide to sources of horse history in the French Public Archives], which was published in 1993 and targeted mainly the collections curated by the French National Archives.

Within the framework of the French General Review of Public Policies, the joint instructions published in 2007 urged archivists and agents at national stud farms – the custodians of two centuries of memories – to join together in order to protect heritage and historical memories in peril. At least partially, all stud farms thus contributed their collections, in particular their older collections, to departmental archives. At present, stud farms collections curated by public archive services and dating from the origin of the institution to the start of the 21st century are available for consultation and measure over 1,200 metres long.

Archivists and agents at national stud farms – the custodians of two centuries of memories – joined together in order to protect heritage and historical records in peril.

Numerous aspects of the equestrian world are documented in the collections curated by the public archives, including: the creation and operation of stud farms, horse breeding, service horses, workhorses in the fields and in industry (particularly at the French National Labour Archives, where numerous business collections have been held since the 19thcentury),war horses (at the History Department of the French Ministry of Defence, or in some regional police headquarters document collections) and horse races. Private archives along with image and audio-visual collections round out an overview on such a rich and varied heritage.

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Pascal Even and Coraline Coutant-Daydé, "Une campagne nationale : le versement des archives des haras nationaux" [A national campaign: the contribution of national stud farm archives], In Situ no. 18, 2012

Gersende Piernas, "Le cheval de travail dans les fonds d’entreprises des Archives nationales du monde du travail" [The workhorse in the business collections of the French National Labour Archives], In Situ no.18, 2012