The latvian experience at Nantes, France

Maija Elizabete Smirnova and Elizabete Krista Jurasa from Burtnieki school about training sessions in France (Nantes) and Portugal (Abrantes).


We took part in two training sessions of Erasmus + project about horses in our lives.

The first one was in France (Nantes).There we learned horse handling with a bridle, observed their horsebreeds andtogether with the French partner students on horses went out in their beautiful nature. It was good to visit some big horsebreeding farms in Nantesregion.

In Portugal we learned much about dressage as in Latvia we deal a lot with concour.

Taking part in horseriding competitions in horsebreeding capital Golega was a very special event for us because we could compare it with similaractivities in Latvia.

In conclussion we say that we liked the project events in both countries France and Portugal.

In addition the Erasmus+ project about horses in our lives gave us both opportunities and challenges to get acquainted with horsebreeding traditions ,taking care about horses and

sporting events in the both countries and to compare with the situation in Latvia.

We had to communicate in English with the French and Portuguese students and teachers and to discover France and Portugal asforeign countries, learn something about their lifestyle, food ,traditions. The Erasmus+ project helped us understand that variety and tolerance are real European values.

The Italian experience at Bouaye

Bouaye – September, 15-20 2014

Day 1
Our adventure at the Lycée Professionnel Agricole Prive of Bouaye begins at the airport of Nantes, where our French partners in the late afternoon have greeted us. Considering the time, our French friends have accompanied us to our hotel, a very pretty structure, and, after we settled, we made a short visit to the center of Nantes.

Day 2
The second day of the Bouaye took place very nicely, the teacher Clarisse i
ntroduced the speech onto ethology with a practical demonstration in a training camp in which he explained how to create a link between the man and the horse without the use of any of constriction instrument."You have to mentally get in touch with your horse, making him understand you as his point of reference and invite him with body gestures to follow you."After the demonstration, it's our turn to try the new approach, each with our own horse. "The feeling was the connection with the horse and also the satisfaction of being able to capture his attention."In the afternoon we traveled to a riding center Equithe'a, near the school and, dividing into two groups, we have attended, watching and helping, two activities with children and young people with disabilities.I (Federica) and Adriana followed five disabled children, including a young blind and visually impaired, in the horse's preparation for the lesson. The boys then led their horses from the ground in a field and, one at a time, they performed a path up with a final stretch at a trot.Francesca and Tatiana worked with 5 children, first with the ground work: cleaning, care and preparation of the horse with the various harnesses. Afterwards the kids have practiced gymnastics and relaxation exercises while standing still on the pony and then move on to the moving gymnastics at walk and trot."For both groups, the feeling was very positive, with a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. Although we were strangers we were greeted with enthusiasm by all and especially by the kids. An immediate feeling and harmony was created in the hour and a half where we worked together. "

Day 3
The morning of the third day was dedicated to culture and exploration of Nantes. We visited the most famous places in the city, including the Cathedral, the Castle, the most important squares and attractions goliardic features such as a life-size elephant made of metal, on which it iscan climb and, thanks to its mechanical construction, is equipped with movement.In the afternoon we ventured into the practice of ethology, under the supervision of teacher Clares, at Lycée Professionnel Agricole Privé. Each of us in its own paddock, tried to create a bond and a synergy with their own horse, so that the animal recognized in person, a figure they can trust, without the use of means of coercion.We also exchanged our horses in order to understand the importance of "listening" and observe their behavior in order to act accordingly."It was for us a new experience with a totally different approach. We remained most affected when we exchanged our horses, because we had mixed feelings. If maybe initially we were satisfied with the feedback obtained, after the change the emotion was frustrating because the horse was not what we would expect, and vice versa. "The dinner was consumed in the center of Nantes with a savory galette and a glass of cider, in Delfine company, young English teacher of Bouaye school.Tip of the day: eat a good galette in France is a must!

Day 4
n the fourth day, we have been introduced to Gerard Vasseur, renowned ethologist, resident in Picardie, northern France, arrived in Bouaye, for two days of training.The first part of the teaching took place in the classroom, with the students of the school and Vasseur has covered the topic "Prevention of risks in the approach on horseback": we have learned to work with the horse safely following its signals and its needs. "The contents lead to interesting results" - tell Francesca, Adriana and Tatiana - "the interactive explanation made it possible to replicate real world situations that we afford daily during our work with the horses."In the afternoon, thanks to Sebastien, well-known trainer, we learnt a new way to interpreter ethology in sports contexts at "Hars de Hus", a very popular equestrian complex in the area. Sebastien showed us a training class to prepare the horse races at a competitive level.The dimensions of the structure were nothing short of immense, with over 500 horses and 20 employees, two laboratories for the artificial reproduction, huge fields of work, beautiful stables with many paddocks and world champions horses. "We remained impressed by size, order and efficiency."

Day 5
We have reached the end of our stay in France and we spent the last day with the ethologist Vasseur, between practice and theory.We initially viewed the video where the ethologist held exercises on ground by conducting horse of various levels. We, very curious, asked several questions to better understand each movement trying to apply more knowledge as possible in the next hour. The first practical step consisted in approaching very slowly to four horses in a field and observing their movements, reach them and put the ethologyc halter. After that, we carried out, guided and instructed by Vasseur, some exercises for conducting the horse from the ground.We then finished the morning with a test to check the learning on the issue discussed yesterday: "The safety approach of the horse." In the afternoon we did a further test and we continued with other practical exercises, each with our own horse, within the paddock."This experience has been positive, we go home enriched, not only in terms of knowledge but also of emotions. We return with even more enthusiasm and motivation to do well and work with our students. We cannot wait to try to put into practice what we have learned."

Video of the italian adventure at the Lycée Professionnel Agricole Prive of Bouaye