Peserta: Ratna Atto
Le Carousel, the annual military festival, traditionally marked the end of a year of training for the young cavalry officers of Saumur. As usual, the July weekend was thick with visitors to the medieval town, keen not just to witness the passing out of the young cavalrymen but the traditional displays of cavalry riding, motorbike acrobatics and the parade of tanks, their great hulls still scarred form the war.
It was 1960. The Old Guard was teetering in the face of an onslaught of popular culture, of shifting attitudes and Johnny Hallyday, but in Saumur there was little appetite for change. The annual performance if twenty-two elite French horsemen, some military, some civilian, who comprised Le Cadre Noir, the highlight of Le Carrousel weekend, was always enough to guarantee that the tickets were sold out within days-to the local community, to those who were imbued with a sense of France’s heritage, and, on a less cerebral level, to those intrigued by posters all over the Loire region promising ‘Majesty, Mystery, Horses that Defy Gratify’.
Le Cadre Noir had been born almost 250 year earlier, after the decimation of the French cavalry in the Napoleonic Wars. In an attempt to rebuild what ha once been considered a crack band of horsemen, a school was created in Saumur, a town which had housed an equestrian academy since the 26th century. Here, a corps of instructors had been gathered form the finest riding schools at Versailles, the Tuileries and Saint Germain, to pass on the high traditions of academic riding to a new generation of offices, and had continued to do so ever since.
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Pengampu: Istiani Prajoko