Guarding livestock

A horse's work is not limited to agricultural tasks or transporting goods and people. In many parts of the world, the horse thus became a herder. When mounted, it is used for guiding, handling and sorting livestock. Such is the case of the Camargue horse, the traditional mount of the gardian, its rider. In existence since 1512, the Brotherhood of the Gardians have St. George, the patron of horsemen, as their patron saint. Today, professional gardians are salaried employees. Most work on behalf of a manager, the owner of semi-free herds of horses and bulls called manades. Some gardians practise work riding for leisure and thus volunteer to help professionals. Further to the east, in Hungary, the Csikós organise their everyday lives around the horses they breed and keep in herds.

Contact with livestock requires a horse's special training so that it becomes a reliable guard companion.

Unlike learned riding, the horse is trained for utilitarian purposes. It must be strong, fast and attentive to its rider and help him in sometimes difficult and dangerous tasks. Isolating a bull, for instance, is not easy: the animal can sometimes charge the rider and horse. Therefore, contact with livestock requires a horse's special training so that it becomes a reliable guard companion. In Western riding, it is said that a horse that performs well with cattle and lacks fear has "cow sense".

The types of work riding are numerous, ranging from the cultural traditions across the world: Iberian (Doma Vaquera), American (cutting, working-cow) and Camargue. In France, these schools are recognised by the French Equestrian Federation.

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