O cavalo e o património equestre europeu como recurso para uma Europa sustentável

The purpose of this European project is to question horse and horsemanship cultural heritage, as a resource for a sustainable Europe,by its contributionto economic growth, social cohesion, well-being, and environmental management. The objective is to enlighten this European cultural and natural heritage that is universal through the ages and civilizations but still often unknown, as a shared resourcefor everyone, by proposinga more participative interpretation and governance modelsbetter suited to the contemporary European context,through greater involvement of the private sector and civil society.In this context, horses and horsemanship will be examined through the prism of associated activities (leisure, tourism, sport, breeding, culture, agriculture, transportation, public services in town, etc.), equipment (harness, equipment, handicraft, architecture of studs), impact (on economic dynamism, rural  development, social cohesion, environmental sustainability, etc.) but also in terms of their image as symbols of European heritage. Pictorial and literary representations, and more recently those in films and animated feature films, reflect the symbolic richness which the horse has acquired since ancient times until nowadays, and its evolution throughout the annals of European history. In effect, behind the image largely spread of equine activities associated to social elite (aristocratic), horse has been an important agent of emancipation andintegration, especially for women, youth and minorities such as Roms and migrants. We will also focus on the potency of this equestrian heritage to improvethe innovation capacity and the integration of new knowledge, especially bycreativere-usesof the horse as an agent ofsustainable developmentinrural areas but also in peri-urban and urban areas(Vial and Gouguet, 2014; Vial, Le Velly and Wanneroy, 2015; Sigudardottir, 2015), aiming to become “horse capitals” in diverse regions of Europe (Julien, 2015; Clergeau, Pickel-Chevalier, Violier and Grefe, 2015). Horse heritage can participate to the cultural and touristic construction of Europe (Evans, 2015; Helgadottir, 2015). They also question the emergence of equineclustersand touristic clusters, based oninnovative participatory governance(Fabry Zeghni, 2012 ; Clergeau et Violier, 2013; Pickel-Chevalier and Violier, 2016), that can participate to the revitalization of a territory, including internal (local shareholders) and external (international and national stakeholders, tourists), as public and private actors. 

Project Details



Start date

January 2007


36 months

Responsible institution

University of Angers - France