Pompadour's beautiful racecourse
Pompadour - The 'Cité du Cheval'
Background - The 'city of horses' is a pretty chocolate-box town with a welcoming, gentle community and is named after Louis XV's favourite mistress, Madame de Pompadour. The splendid XV century fortified chateau, which he bought in 1745 to house his extravagant lover, dominates the centre of Pompadour, and overlooks the magnificent racecourse.
It was here in Pompadour in 1751 that Madame de Pompadour created the stud farm (Haras) with just 3 stallions and 10 mares. This is now internationally recognised as the main headquarters for the breeding of Anglo-Arabians (since 1872) and is responsible for the research into breeding and the registering of breeding details.
The racecourse was created in 1836 and was originally devoted to training, with the first races taking place in 1837. Steeplechasing began in 1919. In addition to steeplechase, Pompadour's annual race events also include flat and cross-country. This increasingly popular racecourse is rated as 1st class for steeplechasing, 2nd class A for the flat and is considered to be one of the most beautiful and most undulating in France. It is also one of the few courses in the southwest of France to see a rise in both public attendance and participants. There are also numerous show-jumping and dressage events held throughout the year.
Many horses stop to race at this picturesque Corrèzian town on their way to other events in Paris or Pau. The leading trainers of France such as Guillaume Macaire, Jaques Ortet, Jean-Pierre Totain, and even Arnaud Chaillé-Chaillé have taken part in the meetings at Pompadour. Furthermore, the best of French jockeys, for example, Christophe Pieux, Jacques Ricou, Fabrice Barrao and Benoit Gicquel ride regularly at Pompadour, which also sees the racing colours of the most prestigious stables such as those of Wildenstein, Baron Edouard de Rothschild, the brothers Werthheimer, the Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum and Robert Fougedoire.
The Pompadour Stud farm (Haras) is one of the most prestigious in the country. The 89-hectare-pasture national brood-mare farm Jumenterie La Rivière is believed to be the only one in France and is a spectacular sight in the spring. The site is world famous as the birthplace of the Anglo-Arabian breed. Since the 1950s, the primary driver of saddle horse breeding in France has been competitive show-jumping, the activity most commonly practised by over 400,000 registered members of the French Riding Federation (France has over 650,000 riders). There are guided tours of the Stud farm, brood-mare farm and chateau. There are four riding centres in and around Pompadour where you can go riding, and many bridleways through woodland and surrounding countryside. The entire Pompadour estate was listed as "natural beauty of general interest" by a ministerial decree in 1926.
(Events such as dressage and show-jumping are FREE for spectators.)
Racing tends to be held on Sunday afternoons. There are normally 4 flat races on the oval circuit, and 3 steeple chase or cross country events. Race dates 2018: 27 May; 8 July; 14, 22, 29 July; 4, 15, 19, 26, 27 August; 2, 9 September
The 'Sport' events (as they are known here) of dressage, showjumping and eventing, are of a very high level. The highest level is the Olympic level with international participation, and there is Professional 1 and 2 (Pro 1 & 2) at a slightly lower level.
Eventing, dressage, voltige (acrobatics on horseback) and showjumping events 2018:
Other racing and equestrian competitions/events:
In addition, there is a spectacular equestrian evening show held throughout July and August including voltige (acrobatics on horseback), dancers, live music and dinner.
At Le Roc any horse-lover will find themselves in paradise.
Copyright © 2005-2018 S Blackburn, Le Roc, France