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Horse shows (1901-1957)

Wed, 18/01/2012 - 16:59 -- admin
An event on the sporting and social calendar Horse shows held an importance place in the life of the Grand Palais whose Nave was originally designed with precisely these events in mind. Like the car shows, horse shows were held every year and were just as much a sporting event as a society highlight.

See the media:Horse show in April 1937
The Garde républicaine executes the Grand Carrousel at the horse show in April 1937 in the presence of the French President, Albert Lebrun, and King Gustav V of Sweden. © L’Illustration
Organised in 1866 by the Société hippique française, the first horse shows were held in the Palais de l'Industrie. When the latter was demolished to make way for the Grand Palais, the new edifice was conceived to host these events. The architecture of the Grand Palais, with its impressive arena and the Nave that maintained the maintain harmonious proportions of the building, owed much to this requirement.
In 1901, the brand new Grand Palais hosted its first horse show. Initially, combined driving competitions were organised with harnessed teams to encourage the breeding of French horses, before racing and jumping competitions were introduced. These more spectacular events became the highlight of the show.
Each year in spring, the crowds flocked to admire the coach and draft horses, the thoroughbreds, and the skills of the riders. The cavalry was not to be outdone. In 1935, military pomp was deployed in full regalia to celebrate the tricentenary of the dragoons. To mark the occasion a parade round the arena featured a stunning historical reconstitution, with the Cardinal's dragoons, the dragoons from the time of the French Revolution, and the Napoleonic age, right up to contemporary dragoons on motor cycle.
The highly popular event drew the bright young things of Paris, and the show was not just out there on the sand but also around the paddock where the height of fashion was also on display. The development of the automobile signalled the end of this competition in 1957, and the sanded track was replaced by concrete.

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