Napoleon on horse
Napoleon on horse (resin)
In his childhood on Corsica Napoleon never owned a horse and, unschooled in formal equestrian skills (he probably had only a little more than a year of formal training while in military school), he first learned a casual, practical style of riding on this rocky island where a mule or donkey was as practical as a horse. Used to using a primitive bridle without an iron bit, Napoleon held his reins loose, controlling the animal by shifts in his body weight. He sat slouched forward on his horse; his toes lower than his heels in the stirrups. Napoleon had a poor "seat," he slid forward and back and from side to side as he rode, wearing holes in his breeches. In spite of this, he was an indefatigable rider- slapdash and reckless. He rode for pleasure as well as necessity. He took many spills from horses, which were covered up (Napoleon was knocked unconscious and nearly killed when he fell from an unfamiliar horse, hitting a tree, the week prior to the Brumaire coup). The first named horse Napoleon is recorded as riding was Bijou, on which he entered Milan in triumph on 15 May 1796.
Napoleon, who had a preference for little Arabs over the more popular Thoroughbreds, reconstructed the national studs of France that had been closed during the Revolution as symbols of aristocracy. When Napoleon began his conquests he expropriated the studs from the conquered nations, establishing stallion depots and rebuilding France's horse breeding stock. Napoleon kept a stable of about 80 personal saddle horses, as well as matched teams of carriage horses (Louis XVI, by comparison, kept close to 1,800). Many of Napoleon's own horses were of similar appearance -Arabs with white or light gray coats- making identification of a specific horse today difficult. Baron Fain wrote: "The horses which the Emperor usually rode were Arabians; of small size, greyish-white coat, good-tempered, gentle gallopers, and easy amblers." Napoleon had had from ten to eighteen horses killed under him in battle during his career.
The Emperor's horses were thoroughly trained by Napoleon's riding master. Guns were fired close to their heads, swords unsheathed and bayonets crossed before them, drums, trumpets and other instruments played suddenly, flags waved, dogs and other animals driven between their legs, all to teach his mounts to be steady in any situation and accustom them to the unexpected. Las Cases, who accompanied Napoleon into exile on St. Helena, commented that, "The emperor was ill-served in saddle-horses but he had eight or ten of them which were acceptable to him: he only wanted to use these. His main officers would have been ashamed to ride them; they were little, skinny and without exterior, but sweet, gentle and reliable; nearly all were entire [not gelded] and not trimmed [without their tails docked -Napoleon opposed docking a horse's tail, a practice common in the British Army]." Constant, Napoleon's valet, wrote that, "The Emperor mounted a horse without grace... and I believe that he would not have always been very sturdy on the horse if we had not taken so much care to give him only horses perfectly trained." On the other hand, Ernst Otto Odeleben, more critical of Napoleon's lack of equestrian skills said: "Napoleon rode like a butcher...whilst galloping, his body rolled backwards and forwards and sideways, according to the speed of his horse."
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- Pewter figurines by theme :Napoleon
- Size :H: 21 cm L: 16cm
- Type de figurine :Figurine en etain
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