A little history
In the 1950s and 1960s, when the automobile supplanted the use of horse-drawn carriages, some pioneers saw the horse as a way to travel differently, to get closer to nature.
In carriage, on horseback, a new discipline is born: Equestrian tourism.
To oversee this activity, in 1963, ANTE, the national association for equestrian tourism, was created. Training courses are set up, as well as the first activity supervisor diplomas.
In 1975, creation of the FITE, International Federation of Equestrian Tourism. To bring together national organizations linked to equestrian tourism.
New activity? New challenges !
Hikers organize themselves to measure their skills in orientation, the qualities of their mounts in the natural environment.
While the word Trec will not be formalized until 1987, long before that will take place the first Centaur. I can’t help but imagine the moment when this event was created. While the recommended distance on horseback for hiking is around 30km per day….
I can clearly see a group of hiking friends around a table at the local troquet, their horses parked in front of the door, a little lousy after a long day on horseback, in autumn, in the rain… To have an nth aperitif… Well , yes, at the time…. it sucks dry! wine is still served in school canteens! So imagine the wacky ideas that could emerge from adults!!
Let’s go back to our wet riders (The equipment is not yet that of today either) in the local troquet who boast of the merits of their horses and their ability to orient themselves in the worst conditions.
No, but seriously… Under what other circumstances can one imagine what will follow???
- “Are we making it a competition?
- Of course, the merry assembly accepts!
- So guys, how far? 30km? 50km?
- No, 100km! Because we’d be a hundred bulls! Half man, half horse!
- Ok, but then in winters, so it won’t be too easy!
- ‘laughing stooges’ Yes! And at night as much as you can!
- A moonless night! No, better, two nights!
- Yes ! awesome, and no rest in between!!
- And there should be snow! rain ! A really complicated route…”
This little story without any foundation and straight out of my imagination only testifies to my questioning: How did we get the idea to create such a thing?!?
Do we really need to hurt ourselves?? While we could be quiet, warm under the duvet!
And so, in 1971, the centaur was born. The most trying test, physically, psychologically, the longest, the most tiring…
And in line with these happy companions, this ordeal continues, year after year, finding its share of Centauriennnes and Centauriens. Courageous or crazy for a day or addicted followers systematically renewing the event.
Women, men alone in front of themselves, who cross the starting line and whose gleam of frontal lights recedes to the sound of horses trotting in the dark.
Counting the strides of their horses to estimate the distances covered, chaining, azimuth on azimuth. Going through various and varied feelings…
The little angst just before leaving;
The satisfaction of linking turns, crossings, off-piste and knowing precisely where you are on the map;
The moment when, that’s it, we start to get lost, to look for a path, a passage to struggle in the bush… Yes, yes, because we must not deceive ourselves… We are all going to get lost a little… or a little more!
The sunrise, magnificent, where we realize that we have been on horseback for 7 hours and that we are barely halfway through the course of the first night!
The joy associated with each small victory, when you meet the friendly controllers;
Doubts are too much, I couldn’t make it;
The euphoria of arrival…. Just before going to the veterinary check-up, taking care of your horse, eating, going to the chart room, realizing that you haven’t had time to take the coveted nap, and that in 1 hour, it’s time to start over!
All this, to hope to win the ultimate consecration, the Holy Grail of the rider…. Materialized by a belt buckle.