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Sophie Bienaimé

Daughter of the founder of the Chantilly Equine Museum, Sophie Bienaimé commits to her family's heritage working as the artistic director of the museum, symbol of the French Equestrian Art. Sophie is convinced that art and sport reveal themselves by inspiring one another. Admirer of Eric Navet as much as of historical objects, she wants to reflect this symbiosis in the museum, at the heart of one of the greatest French Castles, through exhibits and shows.

Hello KF,

I love Spanish and Portuguese horses, so I often go there to buy horses!

Sophie

Hello Charlotte,

We have 2 or 3 new shows every year: a Christmas Show dedicated to family and kids, we tell a story.

We have a show in Spring and Fall, which is more technical with musicians, and high skilled horses.

In Summer, we have another family show, mixing young and older horses.

We have 26 horses, 10 ponies, and 3 donkeys.


Sophie

Hello Tessy,

Thousands of constraints! When we are on a circle, the audience can see us everywhere, we can't have a background, we can't have some kind of lights,...If a horse doesn't feel well, if a young horse isn't ready yet,...There are a lot of constraints, but it's kind of good because we have to be creative.

We also have to change the show, we try to tell a new story. This year, the theme is 'nature', and all the team had to agree about it.

Sometimes, we don't have any ideas for 2 months, it's a part of the job!

Sophie

Hello Mona,

They need to have a lot of technical skills, they need to have a great position, and first of all, they have to love the scene.

You have to dare, accept your mistakes, everything can't be perfect!

All our riders didn't do shows before, but they all bring emotions to the audience.


Sophie

Hello Sophie,

I don't it very well ;-) It's very hard, when we buy a horse, we have 30minutes to buy him when we are in a foreign country: we look at him in his stall, then we ask to see him in liberty, and we ride him to see if we like him.
A very beautiful horse can be less beautiful when ridden. We ask the breeder how is the mental of the horse. We have criteria but we can always be disappointed. In our discipline, even if we are disappointed we can find something to highlight the horse.
We don't need a Grand Prix horse, every horse can have his role. We had to bring back 2 or 3 horses because they could have a dangerous behavior with the crowd, it can happen but it's rare.

Sophie

Hello Haley,

I started when I was 17 years old, now I am 51 ;-)
It was a family affaire, I immediately followed what my parents were doing. I was passioned by this stable, I wanted to save it, to develop it, and to improve my shows. We really have a great team! I have great artists with interesting riding skills!

Sophie

Hello Amy,

We have the chance to have 'demonstrations', where we have people looking at us while we work, but it's not a show.

First, we don't work young horses, we just show them the audience. We ask the crowd to help us to get the horse used to applauses, by explaining them that it's a young horse.

We do it again as long as it is needed, we take our time, by rewarding a lot. Horses need to trust themselves, and us, to know that we will never put them in danger. Finally, they will associate applause to reward.

Sophie

Hello Lily,

The keys are first of all to be in the most beautiful stables in the world, 18th century stables.
Chantilly is why it is working, it's a touristic venue. Then, it's the fact that there are real horses, people come to see the horses before the show, when we prepare them.

The venue with the castle, and the fact that there are real animals in a 'museum' attract people. It's a place where every rider should go at least once.

Sophie

Hello Lauren,

It takes between 2 and 3 years to prepare a horse for a show. A 4 year-old foal will be ready at 5-6 years old.

At the end of their career, we look for families with fields so that they can retire well.

Sophie